2011 Symposium: Mysteries of Magnetic Tape Revealed!

Sioux City, Iowa, October 20-21, 2011


Analog audio- and videotape formats dominated the recording of sound and moving images for the better part of the late 20th century, stretching back as far as the 1950s. Whether acquired through in-house creation or external donation, these machine-readable formats have become increasingly common denizens of archival holdings all over the world. And their growing numbers, the recent alarms regarding their uncertain physical viability and their dependence on largely obsolete technology serve only to further perplex the collections manager who is more comfortable with paper and born-digital records.

This symposium gathers archivists and practitioners to discuss the basics of magnetic audio and video media. Topics such as physical characteristics, preservation issues, format obsolescence, collections management, description, use and options for reformatting represent some of the content of this valuable exploration of the mysterious world of analog magnetic media.


About the speakers

George Blood of George Blood Audio and Video (formerly Safe Sound Archive) in Philadelphia is an expert in preserving and transferring magnetic recordings, both audio and video. He will discuss the technical aspects of magnetic media and their care, the digitization process, and working with vendors.

Elizabeth Clemens is the audiovisual archivist at Wayne State University in Detroit. She will share her experiences working with magnetic media from an archivist’s perspective, covering topics such as preservation, selection, description and access.




McCartney-Huxsol Farms

Preservation Technologies

Scene Savers

Sioux City Public Museum

University Products

Organizing Committee

David McCartney
University of Iowa
[email protected]

Paul Eisloeffel
Nebraska Historical Society
[email protected]

Lisa Carter
The Ohio State University
[email protected]

Michele Christian
Iowa State University
[email protected]

Grace Linden
Sioux City Public Museum
[email protected]