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How long will my VHS tapes last?

Posted by comartslibrarian on December 11, 2006

How long will these tapes last? This question came up recently at my library regarding a number of 3/4-inch and Betamax tapes we’re evaluating for digital conversion. Here are two interesting webpages on the topic of magnetic media lifespan:

http://www.clir.org/PUBS/reports/pub54/4life_expectancy.html

http://www.clir.org/PUBS/reports/pub54/estimation_of_LEs.html

Roughly 20-30 years seems to be the average lifespan for most “tapes,” though your mileage may vary. Low humidity is a critical factor in slowing their deterioration.

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