Extracting data from DEC VAX tape recordings
elson at pico-systems.com
Sun Mar 19 13:01:16 CDT 2017
On 03/18/2017 06:28 PM, William Pearse via cctalk wrote:
> I'm sorry to bother you, but I was hoping you might be able to help me with a problem I'm having getting hold of some scientific data that's currently stored on DEC VAX magnetic tape.
> A colleague of mine carried out some ecological fieldwork ~30 years ago, and her results are stored on eight magnetic tapes (two of 7" diameter, one 8.5", and five 10.25"). The data would be incredibly useful to look at, as the study was looking at how restored mines changes over time (the study is somewhat described here; https://www.jstor.org/stable/20038221?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents). If we could get these original data, we could compare how the mine is now with how it was then, which would be phenomenally useful to conservation biologists trying to conserve and restore damaged ecosystems.
> Do any of you have any ideas as to how I might get the data off this tape? I live and work in Utah (USA), but I would be willing to travel a little ways if it meant getting the things read off into a computer!
I have a rather crude way of reading 9-track tapes in 1600
and 6250 BPI densities. I have worked out how to unpack VAX
BACKUP format tapes, if that is how they were written. I
have read some tapes that were about this old, but they have
been stored in excellent conditions, and they were
high-quality tapes. Some tapes that were of lesser quality
or stored in poor conditions may not be recoverable.
Some other people have a lot of experience with baking the
tapes at low temperature to improve the chances of good data
recovery, you you might see if they want to do it, first.
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