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Tape label

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Title: Tape label  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Magnetic tape data storage
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Tape label

Tape labels are identifiers given to volumes of magnetic tape.

There are two kinds of tape labels. The first is a label applied to the exterior of tape cartridge or reel. The second is data recorded on the tape itself.

Visual labels

Visual labels are human readable.

The labels have evolved to have barcodes that can be read by tape libraries. Reading the barcode label is often much faster than mounting the tape volume and reading the identification information written on the media. To read the bar code, the tape library need only position the volume in front of the bar code reader.

Magnetic labels

Originally, data tapes only had human readable labels on them (i.e. unlabeled tape). Somebody wishing to use a particular tape would ask the operator to mount that tape. The operator would look at the human readable label, mount it on a tape drive, and then tell the operating system which tape it was. That had some drawbacks. The operator might mount the wrong tape by mistake, or he might type in the wrong identification.

A solution was to record some tape identification information on the tape itself in a recognizable format.

A benefit was the operating system could quickly recognize a volume and assign it to the program that wanted to use it. The operating system would notice that a tape drive came online, so it would try to read the first block of information on the tape. If that was a volume label, then the operating system could determine what to do with it.

IBM tape labels

IBM tape labels with VOL/HDR/EOV/EOF records.[1]

ANSI tape labels

ANSI/ISO/ECMA tape labels are similar to IBM tape labels but use the ASCII character set.

RFID tags

Some tapes are using RFID tags.[2]

See also


External links

  • ECMA-13, File Structure and Labelling of Magnetic Tapes for Information Interchange, 4th ed, December 1985.

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