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Re: [ARSCLIST] Effect of vibrations on audio tape
Several comments - firstly I would recommend that you get the collection out
of the basement no matter what. Basements are just terrible places for
archives in general and AV archives in particular. Most basements are below
grade - so that it there is any flooding in a building the water will seek
its lowest level and find the archive. This can be due to many different
factors - from a broken drain pipe to washrooms to sprinkler heads going
off. Of course there are issues relating to ground water and flooding - and
again if there is a local flood due to a water or sewer main break - the
basement will be the likely place that the water will go. Basements also
likely have humidity issues in general and high humidity is a serious
problem for a collection. So I think that the basement is a bad place even
if there was no light rail proposal.
Trying to answer your question - yes vibration can certainly be an issue and
it will likely depend on how bad the vibration is and the frequency of it
both in terms of the actual frequency and how often it happens. Vibration
can cause a pack to have problems over time and there could be several
different problems there. Also vibration can cause issues with shelving and
movable shelving systems - things tend to get out of alignment when
vibrated. So it will depend on how bad the vibration is and how often. Light
rail systems also have other things to consider - they have trains that have
large motors and large motors have magnetic fields - fortunately they will
likely be far away - but how far away you have not mentioned. Also there is
likely to be electric distribution equipment - transformers in particular
can be a very large source of magnetic energy - again proximity and amount
of exposure are the key things to examine but having a very large
transformer installed outside directly against the adjoining foundation
footing - when your tapes were on shelves anchored to the wall... well that
would almost certainly be a bad thing.
Having said that - we are located in Manhattan - the home of the subway and
big rumbling trucks and busses, and archives also. In general vibration
rarely comes up high on a list of issues that people have in the storage of
their collections. If you had lacquer disks... well my reply might be a bit
different, but mag tape is pretty hardy stuff, and since you ARE preserving
to files and have that totally backed up and since I am sure you have backed
up the tapes in a geographically disparate location and have a disaster plan
well in place - then you are likely to be ok.... you have done all the other
If you haven't (like most archives ) I would suggest working on the bigger
issues which will also help deal with the vibration one in terms of
preserving the collection.
But really - get it out of the basement. No kidding.
Really - no kidding - pretty please.....
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From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:ARSCLIST@xxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Mohn, Sylvia
Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2006 10:54 AM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Effect of vibrations on audio tape
Has anyone had the experience of having an audio collection, and studio
& equipment, next to a rail line (train, subway, etc)? What problems
did you have? What, if anything, were you able to do to minimize them?
There's a proposal for a light-rail line to come down the street in
front of our building. We have our audio tapes stored in a basement
vault area, and our digitization rooms are on a floor about 10 feet
below street level.
Minnesota Public Radio