Media Storage Conditions

Storage conditions vary between tapes which will occasionally be viewed, and those which are purely being preserved.

For optimal preservation the information stored on a tape should be transferred to another carrier within seven, or at the very most ten, years. To prevent the tapes from blocking and oxidation, they should be wound and rewound once a year. For optimal conservation and control, the ideal temperature for storage of tapes which are occasionally viewed is 18°C ( /- 1°C ) and humidity level 40%RH ( /- 5%). The ideal temperature for solely preserved tapes is approximately 10°C , with 40% relative humidity (RH). In both instances stability of conditions are most important. Tapes will wear when they are used, so where possible copies should be made and used for presentation purposes.

Additional considerations also include:

- Store videotape on metal shelving in cool, dry, stable conditions.
- Store tapes upright, like books (or upright with the case opening seam down – to prevent dust entering the case).
- The storage space should be as free of dust as possible, and situated away from sunlight. Containers should be kept clean and dust-free.
- Make sure there is no acidic plastic or paper inside videotape containers; it could accelerate decomposition.
- File valuable paper materials found inside the case separately from the tape, but note their existence and location in the relevant catalogue record.
- Record temperature and humidity levels regularly to make sure environmental conditions are not fluctuating over time.
- At the same time check your collection on a micro level-take care that the tape containers are free of debris and dust.
- Before putting a cassette on the shelf, disable the record tab to prevent accidental erasure in the future.

Please see the article, Control and Preservation of Videotapes, for an introduction to the handling, storage and conservation of analog and digital videotapes.

 Beheer en behoud van videobanden
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Electronic Arts Intermix
Independent Media Arts Preservation
Variable Media Network
Netherlands Media Art Institute