for the destruction techniques that are used at your
RELEASING (SCRATCHING) MAGNETIC
As librarian, one of your many tasks may be to
release (scratch) magnetic media; that is, make the
media available to the computer operator for reuse.
Before you release or scratch media, there are several
things you should know. First, never remove a save
label from a tape, disk, or diskette without the
permission of the user to whom the data on the media
belongs. Well, then you might ask, how does one go
about getting the users permission? There are several
ways this can be accomplished: by phone, by way of an
interoffice memo, or by contacting each individual in
person; but the fastest and easiest way is to distribute a
copy of the release report on a weekly basis. The users
can annotate the files they want released and return the
report to you.
At that time, you can scratch the
appropriate files and make the magnetic media
available for reuse.
But wait, is the file you are about to scratch the same
file that is listed on the release report? Good question.
Before you start removing save labels, be sure that all
information written on the save label agrees with what is
listed on the release report. There are times when the
computer operator is in a hurry to get things rolling and
may accidentally place the wrong wrap-around strap on
a tape, disk pack cover on the wrong disk, or attach the
wrong save label to a newly created file. By performing
this check, you could avoid hours of computer rerun
time. Once you have determined the file to be scratched
agrees with the information on the release report, you
can remove the save label.
If the file to be scratched contains classified data, be
sure the media is degaussed before its release unless it is
to be used again for the recording of classified data of
the same security level.
Next, examine the media thoroughly to be sure it is
healthy (in good physical condition). Be on the lookout
for the following problems:
MAGNETIC TAPE Look for contaminants on
inside and outside of flanges, tape unevenly rewound
(take note of the tape unit it was created on), cracked or
warped flanges, cracks around the center hub (if made
of plastic), uneven tape packing (look for ripples
between the layers of tape), and broken or deteriorated
MAGNETIC DISK Look for contaminants inside
and outside of the disk pack covers, cracked or broken
covers (top and bottom), and damaged or warped disk
platters. Be sure the locking mechanism is functioning
contaminants, primarily dust and oily marks on the
Next, you should look at the usage and certification
labels to see whether or not the tape or disk needs to be
cleaned or recertified; and if so, do it.
Finally, be sure to place (insert) a write ring in the
slot provided on the back side of each scratch tape.
Forward the magnetic media to the computer operations
area. Do not forget to follow up on the paperwork. That
is, update the library master file (or database) to reflect
latest status on the media.
In addition to performing library functions, you will
need to consider other areas of library management.
These include protection and storage of media,
maintaining a proper physical environment,
management of classified media and materials,
magnetic media administrative duties, tape retention,
and disaster/off-site backup. You will learn about these
management areas in this topic.
STORAGE OF MAGNETIC MEDIA
Data is one of your installations most valuable
assets, and, as the librarian, you are responsible and
accountable for its protection. You must protect it from
a number of things. The data that is recorded on
magnetic media must be protected from theft,
unauthorized access by individuals, destruction by fire,
flooding, contamination, accidental overwrite, and so
on. The key words here are protection and security, not
only of the media but also of the library spaces as well.
The library must be theftproof. It should be of
vault-type construction, with no windows and with
cypher locks (or their equivalent) on the doors.
Personnel access must be closely controlled. You must
follow proper procedures to ensure that material
entering or leaving the library is controlled. You should
be aware of the fact that security means more than the
loss of data through theft or sabotage. If the user cannot
depend on the data, as recorded on magnetic media and
retrieved from the library, then the entire library
becomes worthless. Regardless of the classification of