The National Archives of Australia has a problem. You may also have the same problem, although hopefully in a smaller scale.
According to an article by James Elton in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation web site at https://ab.co/31XGcCK, Australia’s memory institutions are racing to digitise their magnetic tape collections before the year 2025, when archivists around the world expect it will become almost impossible to find working tape playback machines.
PHOTO: Old recording equipment at the Australian National Archives. (ABC News)
The tapes include audio recordings, video, and reels of digitised information. Approximately 130,000 hours of audio and video held on magnetic tape by Australia’s National Archives alone and undoubtedly there are many more hours of tapes presently stored at other government agencies, various libraries, and educational institutions as well. If not converted to modern digital storage methods, these tapes will become unusable simply because suitable playback equipment will no longer be available within a few years.
Here are the issues facing the National Archives of Australia: