National Archives of the Netherlands (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science)

Storage and handling of magnetic media

Magnetic storage media must be stored in a clean and physically stable environment. This means a low temperature and low humidity. The emulsion on the magnetic band is sensitive to dust, dirt, UV-light, extreme temperature fluctuations, and magnetic fields such as magnets, motors, scanners etc.  
The packaging should also comply with certain conditions. Magentic storage media should always be stored in a clear, transparent polypropylene(PP) or polyethylene (PE) case without inserts (unless the paper is of NEN2728 quality), or internal envelopes. Labels must be of archival quality and attached to the outside of the case. The objects can be stored together in an appropriate acid-free, PAT-compliant archival box. If there is space in the box then it can be filled using variable and removable inserts. Place a label on the outside that displays information about the content and the codes used on the cases.
Similar optimum preservation conditions exist for magnetic storage media such as diskettes and floppy disks. These are best preserved in a specially constructed envelope, also in a protective environment. It is best to avoid contemporary PVC boxes for storing AMPEX tapes, because plasticisers cause them to harden and crackle. These plasticisers also damage the tape. The repository should not utilise additional filtering measures to protect against chemical air pollution, but rather use a ‘molecular sieve’ or a PP/PE anti-corrosive zipclip container. Cotton gloves must be worn when handling unprotected tape, but the data elements of an unprotected tape must never be handled, not even when wearing gloves.