Quantcast Storing VHS tapes flat or vertical? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
08-24-2019, 11:49 AM
kothaufen kothaufen is offline
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I have read different oppinions on how to store vhs tapes correctly on different sites and forums some claim the need to stand upright others say as long as they are safe from dust and sund everything will be fine.

My specific question is do you need to store the tapes horizontally upwards like the one to the left or is it ok to store them lying on the side like the right example? (asking because I got lots of vhs and can store way more with the right example)
Sorry for low quality picture but my tablet camera is atrocious.


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  #2  
08-24-2019, 09:12 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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The flat/upright (horizontal/vertical) thing has always been mythical nonsense. I remember that was parroted by lots of lemmings in the 90s, but had no truth to it.

Amusingly, tapes have 6 surfaces, and this either/or dogma only addresses 4 of them.

It doesn't make any difference to the true problems: tape curling, oxide shedding, mold. Storage is important, the least heat/humidity possible (and no, that does not mean refrigerate it!). Proper storage prevents mold, staves off oxide shedding, but curling is unavoidable.

I've always stored mine both ways, and after decades, it makes no difference.

Because science.

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  #3  
08-24-2019, 10:36 PM
lingyi lingyi is offline
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There is a practical way...horizontal, on short end, with loaded reel on the bottom. Less likely to fall over!

Edit: Years ago, I learned the hard way. If possible, don't store them against the back of a cabinet. Ants made a nice trail and nested in a bunch of tapes! It was the perfect environment. Dark and warm. It was interesting to see the ants removing all the eggs when I loved the tapes.
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  #4  
08-24-2019, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
when I loved the tapes.
You did what now?

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  #5  
08-25-2019, 01:11 AM
lingyi lingyi is offline
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They were Beta tapes...my first videotape love!

"...moved the tapes."
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  #6  
08-25-2019, 12:29 PM
kothaufen kothaufen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
They were Beta tapes...my first videotape love!

"...moved the tapes."
You got some pretty low standards I only "love" me some alpha tapes

Thx everyone for the comments
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  #7  
08-25-2019, 09:47 PM
Tig_ Tig_ is offline
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Opinions on online forums are one thing, but "upright" is the only recommendation I've seen from more authoritative sources. Here are a couple publications that discuss this and other aspects of VHS storage and handling:

Digitizing Video for Long-Term Preservation (New York University Libraries)
Videotape Identificationand Assessment Guide (Texas Commission on the Arts)

Does it really matter? No idea, but if your tapes matter I'd defer to the advice of institutions like these, which handle more material (and material of a higher importance) than most of us.

Hope it helps!
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  #8  
09-03-2019, 11:12 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tig_ View Post
Opinions on online forums are one thing, but "upright" is the only recommendation I've seen from more authoritative sources.
"authoritative" is arguable, because most of these places are just parroting dogma with no legitimate science to confirm the silly practices.

Remember, magnetic media is spooled.
So you really only have 2 axisx for it:
- spool flat, tape completely vertical, meaning media may curl (and it will anyway, especially on outer layers, regardless of orientation)
- spool vertical, tape horizontal+vertical, meaning one end will sag

That last part, sag, is actually worse. But neither orientation yields better storage, just different problems.

Film is identical in this regard: spooled. Yet film is suggested to always store flat.
For example: https://www.nedcc.org/preservation10...ia-collections

So again, dogma, nonsense.

You have to realize that a lot of archivists have skills for paper, not really media. So again, parroting is done, and frequently.

Just FYI, my expertise in this field has been references many times in "best practices" manuals at facilities. I've been somewhat shocked at the cluelessness of archivists/librarians/etc over the years, but I'm always nice to them, educate them on proper methods. Or in this case, that it really doesn't matter, it's just preference.

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  #9  
09-04-2019, 04:55 PM
Tig_ Tig_ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
my expertise in this field has been references many times in "best practices" manuals at facilities.
lordsmurf, which manuals reference your expertise?
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  #10  
09-04-2019, 08:17 PM
josem84 josem84 is offline
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I've always stored mine vertically. But what's more important than whether you store them one way or the other is what you do after watching them. Never rewind your tapes before storing them. When you're done watching a movie, remove it from the machine, put it into its case and from there straight to the shelf.
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  #11  
09-05-2019, 07:46 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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One factor with tape is whether or not there is a uniform wrap on the reels. If the edges are not forming a uniform plane, storing horizontal could increase wrinkles on the edges. This was an issue with reel-to-reel, especially after a fast rewind or FFWD. Of course storing vertically can make for more efficient storage and eliminate the need to stack tapes on tapes.
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