Preserving Memories: Care and Storage for Recorded Audio Media
… Words to live by when it comes to media storage: cool, dry and clean (read dust free) environment. Also, remember minimal light exposure is important.
The most common formats we see, cassette tapes (which had a bit of resurgence over the past couple of years, see this article from NBC) yes—the ones kids from the 80’s and early 90’s made their mix tapes on—and ¼” reel-to-reel tapes, do use magnetic recording technology. If you’ve got an old mix tape you found or maybe an informal interview done of a family member (we see a lot of those) keep those tapes away from strong magnetic fields, i.e. speakers, generators, etc.
We do from time to time see personally recorded vinyl records that customers bring in. All the standard best practices of media storage apply cool, dry, clean, etc. With records, and with the majority of other classic media, it is best to store these items in an upright position. For records, store these on their edge as opposed to lying flat; for tapes and reels also store these on their edge, not flat. For more technical information on storage of classic media, check out this page at Library of Congress Preservation website.
We hope you’ve found this series of posts helpful. We’re always happy to answer questions you may have, use any of the contact information on this page to get in touch.