What is Archive Retrieval?
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Frequently Asked Questions

Many institutions such as hospitals, schools, colleges, and government agencies have libraries or archives of recorded magnetic media such as reel-to-reel tapes, cassettes, and other obsolete formats of video recordings from decades ago. These types of recording mediums tend to deteriorate over time.

A secondary problem is that as technology progresses, the hardware that produced this information becomes obsolete, and the material recorded becomes difficult, if not impossible, to reproduce in-house.

Audio/Video tape conditions

Even under optimal storage conditions, magnetic media has a shelf life measured in a relatively brief decade, or two at most.

Audio and video tapes consist of an acetate, polyester or mylar base coated with an oxide, sealed and coated with a lubricant to help minimize friction through the tape path. Typically, the lubricant either evaporates or undergoes a chemical change rendering it useless. This may cause an otherwise good tape to come to a complete halt in the machine due to friction when a playback is attempted.

Once the lubricant is gone, as the tape passes through the machine, oxide containing the recorded information begins to flake off. Valuable information gets lost and the tape heads become clogged.

Depending on the composition of the substrate and the binder
(glue that holds the the oxide to the base), the tape may actually develop clear spots where oxide no longer exists. This may cause the machine to shut down and recorded material to get lost.

If the substrate becomes brittle it may be too delicate to make the bends necessary to complete threading in the machine without disintegrating.

Hardware Conditions

For material that has been stored for many years, another consideration is availability of machinery to play back recorded material. This is especially important for material that may have been recorded on such obsolete formats as reel-to-reel audio and reel-to-real video in a variety of incompatible proprietary formats, all popular in the '60's and 70's.

Over the years, Audio Video Recovery Systems has nurtured many obsolete and unique format devices. We have developed conservation techniques to recover and transfer these endangered recordings to current viable formats.

Disclaimer: Due to the varying nature of tape conditions, we cannot guarantee 100% recovery. Our clients should be aware of this and should understand what they are buying is our best effort.



We Welcome all your questions.
E-Mail us or call us at 508-653-8449

222 North Main Street   Natick, Massachusetts 01760   Phone: 508-653-8449   Fax: 508-650-1131