General Audio Collection Care, Storage, and Preservation

Brylawski, Sam, et al. Proceedings from the Symposium, Sound Savings: Preserving Audio Collections. Association of Research Libraries, Web. 24–26 July 2003. Presented papers and
future recommendations from symposium in Austin, Texas, July 24–26, 2003. Washington, D.C.: Association of Research Libraries, 2004.
(Some of the text may also be found online at
The symposium Sound Savings: Preserving Audio Collections occurred July 24–26, 2003 at the University of Texas at Austin School of Information and was co-sponsored by the National Recording Preservation Board, Recording Preservation Board, and the Library of Congress. The papers from the proceedings were collected on the Association of Research Libraries website. Papers/Presentations include:
  • Review of Audio Collection Preservation Trends and Challenges by Sam Brylawski (Library of Congress)
  • Pictorial Guide to Sound Recording Media by Sarah Stauderman (Smithsonian Archives)
  • Surveying Sound Recording Collections by Hannah Frost (Stanford University)
  • Risk Reduction Through Preventive Care, Handling, and Storage by Alan Lewis (National Archives and Records Administration)
  • The Save Our Sounds Project by Dr. Michael Taft (Library of Congress)
  • The Case for Audio Preservation by Dr. Karl Miller (UT Austin)
  • Contracting for Services by Alan Lewis (NARA) and Anji Cornette (Cutting Corporation Inc.)
  • The Library of Congress Digital Audio Preservation Prototyping Project by Carl Fleischhauer (Library of Congress)
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum Audio Reformatting Project by Jill Hawkins
  • Archiving the Arhoolie Foundation’s Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings by Tom Diamant (Arhoolie Foundation)
  • Copyright Law and Audio Preservation by Georgia Harper (UT System)
Conservation OnLine. “Audio Preservation.” PARS Recording and Photographic Media Committee of the American Library Association, 2008. Web.
The Conservation OnLine audio section is a compilation of articles and sites on various audio topics. The site is arranged by topic, then by author. It was created by the PARS Recording and Photographic Media Committee of the American Library Association and edited by Hannah Frost of Stanford University. This is a good resource to find classic audio information. The site is no longer maintained, so some links are broken.
Indiana University and Harvard University, Sound Directions. “FACET.” Bloomington, IN: Indiana University. Web.
“The Field Audio Collection Evaluation Tool (FACET) is a point-based, open-source software tool that ranks audio field collections based on preservation condition, including the level of deterioration they exhibit and the degree of risk they carry.”
Library of Congress. “Care, Handling, and Storage of Audio Visual Materials.” Washington, DC: Library of Congress (accessed 26 August 2014). Web.
“Care, Handling, and Storage of Audio Visual Materials” consists of six sections: Handling, Storage, Packaging/Containers, Cleaning, Bibliography, and Supply Sources. The site covers general tips for audio and specialized tips for discs, reel-to-reel magnetic tape, cassette-based audio and videotape, and cylinders. The cleaning section gives an in-depth look at the Library of Congress cleaning solution preference including the MSDS information for Tergitol. Other cleaning options (such as Disc Doctor) are not mentioned. Each section is basic in nature and easy to read.

Disaster Recovery

Brothers, Peter. “Hurricane & Flood Recovery Advice.” Lodi, NJ: Spec Bros., 2006. Web.
This document is a primer on how to handle wet magnetic media. The author begins by briefly explaining how water affects the condition of magnetic tape. He then moves on to list actions that archivists or librarians may perform during initial damage control and techniques that are better left to professionals.
Library of Congress. “Emergency Preparedness, Response & Recovery.” Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 2010. Web.
The emergency preparedness site at the Library of Congress has information on preparing for and recovering from a disaster. There is information on assessing the general value of your collection, risk management resources, and insurance. The recovery section includes three short videos (located on the flood, hurricane, and mudslide links) showing how to quickly clean CDs, audiocassettes, and videocassettes for post-disaster inspection. There are also a few scenarios for disaster drills. The drills are not audio-specific, but may offer ideas for hypothetical disaster scenarios and training opportunities for staff.
Library of Congress. “Preserving Your Family Treasures.” Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 2008. Web.
An overview of collections care and emergency preparedness, as well as advice on building scrapbooks and time capsules which will last.
Conservation Online. “Disaster Mitigation Planning Assistance.” East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University. Web.
The main highlight of this site is the sample plans link, which sends you to the disaster plan for the Baltimore Academic Library system and to the Conservation Online list of institutional disaster plans.

Magnetic Tape

Bigourdan, Jean-Louis, James M. Reilly, Karen Santoro, and Gene Salesin. “The Preservation of Magnetic Tape Collections: A Perspective.” Rochester Institute of Technology: Image Permanence Institute, Rochester, NY, (December 2006). Web.
This report includes information gathered from the field and focuses on the major issues related to preserving magnetic media. It presents research conducted at the Image Permanence Institute during the construction of the report. The main objective is to assess current preservation practices by reporting and discussing data based on laboratory testing of magnetic tapes. Conclusions drawn from the research are presented as well as a series of guidelines for preserving magnetic media based on the current situation. The research presented centers on investigating three indicators of tape decay involving the assessment of tape binder condition using three laboratory testing procedures: free acidity, acetone extraction, and friction tests.
Brothers, Peter. “Basic Inspection Techniques to Sample the Condition of Magnetic Tape.” Lodi, NJ: Spec Bros., 2006. Web.
This document is a 7-point basic physical inspection for magnetic tape and forms the basis of a report that Spec Bros - a magnetic tape decontamination and restoration facility - wrote for the American National Standards Institute Subcommittee on Magnetic Tape.
Brothers, Peter. Damage Mitigation and Recovery, Magnetic Media. Washington, DC: National Archives. Web.
Damage Mitigation and Recovery, Magnetic Media is written by Peter Brothers of Spec Bros for the National Archives. The advice is in list form and includes steps for initial disaster response but mostly post-disaster response. There are links to AES, ANSI, and ISO standards which are available for purchase.
Cuddihy, Edward F. “Storage, Preservation, and Recovery of Magnetic Recording Tape.” Pasadena, California: Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology, 1994. Web.
A study on the operational problems - including layer-to-layer adhesion, stick-slip, and shedding of sticky organic materials - that occur with polyester magnetic tape. Cuddihy discusses binder hydrolysis as the primary chemical aging mechanism of these tapes resulting from exposure to the ambient environment. In the conclusion, he specifies safe environmental conditions for tape use, long-term archival storage environments for chemical preservation, and procedures for recovery of tapes degraded from exposure to water or high humidity.
Sanner, Howard. “Tapes with Sticky Shed Syndrome.” Ampex Virtual Museum, 2009. Web.
Here you will find a listing of tape types that have been reported to exhibit sticky-shed syndrome. The listing compiled from information reported by members of the Ampex Mailing List, representing those members’ first-hand experience with their own reels of tape. It is not, however, the product of scientific testing or statistically valid sampling, and it should be taken only as suggestion of the need for further investigation when tape of a listed type is to be played.
Van Bogart, J. “Magnetic Tape Storage and Handling: A Guide for Libraries and Archives.” Washington, DC: National Media Laboratory and Council on Library and Information Resources, 1995. Web.
This report is a joint project of the Commission on Preservation and Access and the National Media Laboratory (NML), developed within the Commission’s Preservation Science Research initiative. It helps clarify long-term storage requirements for magnetic media. The information stems from the industry’s accumulated knowledge base, plus media stability studies and operations support activities conducted by the NML for the U. S. Government advanced data recording community. The report focuses on how to store and care for magnetic media properly to maximize their life expectancies. It includes technical explanations for the rationale behind recommended procedures, written specifically for librarians, historians, records managers, archivists, and others who do not have a significant background in recording technology. Additionally, the report is useful for decision-making and cost-benefit analyses for managers and administrators who have responsibility for the long-term preservation of information stored on magnetic media. The text is broken into five sections and an appendix. Sections include an introduction to magnetic media, common problems with magnetic media, preventing information loss, life expectancy, and techniques to prevent magnetic tape from degrading prematurely.
US Recording Media, LLC. “Tape Time Chart.” Kresgeville, PA: US Recording Media, 2010. Web.
This PDF file is a tape time chart for open reel tape speeds of 1–7/8 IPS through 30 IPS and tape lengths from 600′ through 9200′. T chart includes metric measurements as well.

CDs and DVDs

Byers, Fred R. “Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs: A Guide for Librarians and Archivists.” Washington, DC: CLIR and NIST, 2003. Web.
This guide is intended for librarians and archivists in government, academia, and industry. The document begins with a printable quick-reference guide for care and handling that includes general recommendations for long-term storage. It provides guidance on how to maximize the lifetime of optical discs, by minimizing chances of information loss caused by environmental influences or physical handling. Topics include prevention of premature degradation, prevention of information loss, CD and DVD structure, disc life expectancy, and conditions that affect optical discs. The author makes it clear that that his findings are not intended to imply a standard but rather a consensus of several reliable sources on the care of CDs and DVDs.

Originally compiled by Cassandra Gallegos.
Last updated: August 26, 2014, at 03:39 PM EDT

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