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     Video Art / Media Art Preservation:  Studies and Suggestions
                     THE DANISH VIDEO ART DATA BANK

Storage recommendations / guidelines

Part of a passive preservation policy should also include the storage of the tapes.

You can find many guidelines for the optimal storage of magnetic tapes. Following the strategy above under “Multiple Tape Copies” you might distinguish between a) Archival Storage and b) Access Storage. In the first type you store the original masters and the preservation master. In the last type you might store the duplication copy and you store the access copies.

 a) Archival Storage

Archival storage should provide storage that preserve and safeguard the tapes for as long as possible. The storage room should be a room dedicated for storage and this means very strict demands – for example:

And of course the above mentioned recommendations: rewind the tape before storing, use strong, stable, clean and dustfree tape box, store the tape vertical, etc.

Not all the recommendations above are agreed upon by all archivists and some might want to add more, so please don’t consider the survey as “final”. You must do your own research and make your own decisions (also according to your needs and your financial possibilities! (take a look for example at the reports mentioned in Note * and **).

 b) Access Storage

The access storage provide storage for that allows immediate access to the tapes, and the demands are not as strict as to the archival storage. You should still be able to control the indoor climate to some degree, but the temperature could be between 15 and 23 degrees C (variation not more than 4 C) and relative humidity between 25 to 55 % (variation not more than 20 % RH). Anyway it is a good idea to follow most of the other recommendations for archival storage rooms.


 Storage possibilities

 Both in the ECPS-report 14  (*) and Magnetic Tape and Storage Handling: A guide for Libraries and Archives (**) referred to in VIDEO ART\e-monitor No. 10 you can find more details about storage conditions and recommendations

 Of course it is easy to draw up the ultimate storage conditions but it is often not possible especially for smaller archives to follow these. You have then mainly to relay on passive preservation and with the ultimate conditions in mind you then have to do the best possible.



(*) ECPA-report 14: Preservation Science Survey, 2000 – a joint venture between CLIR and EU prepared by Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Den Haag, the Netherlands and published by ECPA in co-operation with CLIR (the American Council on Library and Information Resources). ISBN 90-6984-316-1, EU 23,00. You can find it at

 (**) John W. C. Van Bogart: “Magnetic Tape Storage and Handling. A Guide for Libraries and Archives” published jointly by the American CLIR/Council on Library and Information Records and NML/National Media Laboratory in 1995. You can download the guide from the Internet: