Tape Data Recovery Glossary

Dave updated on Sep 22, 2022 to Knowledge Center

It is not a mystery that storage devices such as hard disks, USB thumb drives, memory cards, and the like have taken the market by storm. Nevertheless, given that storage devices are susceptible to the same malfunctions as everything else in our environment, any one of us might need to recover data at some point.

The jargon that goes along with today's abundant technology in our contemporary society might be difficult to understand. This concise reference to the terminology used in data recovery may be of assistance to you in making sense of the information provided by a data recovery business or if you are new to the field of data recovery in general.


Access storage:

Data storage devices that use direct access may be either permanently installed or easily removed. These gadgets are often hard drives, either rotational or solid state. Any storage device designated as part of the system DASD during system setup is considered a fixed storage device.


The United States government uses the symmetric block cipher known as the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to safeguard sensitive data. AES is used to encrypt data all around the globe, both in software and hardware. It's a must-have for every government agency concerned with protecting electronic data, computers, and networks.

Analog recording:

A recording in which the voltage signals from a recording microphone or video camera are represented on tape by continuous magnetic signals. Many applications exist for analog recording, including storing and playing analog audio. Mechanical devices like the phonautograph and phonograph were the first to record sound in analog form.


Electronically transforming a continuously variable (analog) signal into a multilevel (digital) signal while maintaining the signal's key characteristics is known as analog-to-digital conversion (ADC).


The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the primary group in the United States that funds the creation of technical standards. American National Standards Institute (ANSI) collaborates with business groups and represents the United States in international standardization organizations like ISO and IEC (IEC).

Archival storage:

Archival storage in computing refers to storing data that is not currently being used but is retained in case it is required in the future or for record-keeping reasons. The same technology used for backups is typically also utilized for archival storage.


Binary number:

Base two in mathematics refers to integers constructed from a string of zeros and ones. The binary number system is used extensively in digital computing due to the ease with which ones and zeros may be conveniently represented by two different voltage levels on an electrical device.

Decimal Number Binary Equivalent:

The conversion from decimal to binary uses straightforward procedures to transform numbers with a base of 10 into numbers with a base of 2. For instance, if a number is written in decimal format as 1210, then the binary representation of the same number is 1102.


The acronym for a binary digit may either be a 0 or a 1, depending on the context. Every digital computer uses something called a bit as its fundamental unit of data storage. In most cases, it is included in a data byte or word; nevertheless, a single bit may be used to control or read logic ON/OFF operations. This is a rather uncommon occurrence. A single digit in a binary integer is referred to as a bit.



The amount of field intensity that must be applied to a magnetic substance before its magnetic state may be altered; is measured in Oersteds.

Cohesive force:

Cohesion is the attractive intermolecular force between two adjacent material sections, particularly a solid or liquid. This force is especially important in the case of solids and liquids. This force is responsible for keeping a piece of matter together in its entirety.

Curvature error:

When land leveling over a vast region, it is necessary to consider the Earth's spherical shape. As a result of the fact that the horizontal line is not level, the staff reading is greater than what was anticipated; this phenomenon is referred to as curvature correction.



A unit of measurement is used to indicate the relationship between two physical variables, often acoustic or electric power. Ten times the common logarithm of the power ratio is one decibel (0.1 bel).


A relative measure of sound pressure, one decibel, is equivalent to one-tenth of a bel. Specifically, it logarithmically represents the ratio of two values of a power or root-power quantity. The power ratio, or root-power ratio, of two signals with a one-decibel difference in intensity is 101/10.

Digital recording:

In digital recording, the continuous variations in sound pressure or video's chroma and luminance values are transformed into a series of discrete integers. That sequence of numbers is written down somewhere.


In digital-to-analog conversion, signals with just a few possible levels (digital) are transformed into analog signals with an unlimited number of possible levels (analog).


Dropout refers to the signal loss produced by a tape head clog, fault, dirt, or other characteristics that increase head-to-tape space. Missing magnetic material might cause dropouts. A video dropout usually appears as a white spot or streak. Playback dropouts indicate a tainted tape or recorder or a disintegrating tape binder.


Flange pack:

A package with a heat sink that is flange-mounted and extended further than the package body to facilitate mechanical connection to a packing interconnect structure or cold plate. The terminals may stick out of the box from any side or be affixed to it from any side.


If the publisher wants to encourage extensive data reuse, it may need to use various formats and structures supported by various platforms. Using the correct format makes data administration and repurposing much easier.


Helical scan recording:

The method of recording is where a slowly moving tape is helically wrapped around a quickly rotating disc with one or more miniature record heads implanted inside it. This process may take up to 180 degrees or more. The equatorial plane of the drum is slightly tilted relative to where the tape is positioned on the drum.


Longitudinal recording:

A method of establishing magnetic data storage by using horizontal magnetization of a hard disk drive compared to the vertical magnetization of the drive.


Magnetic particles:

The inspection process known as magnetic particle inspection involves passing a magnetic current through the ferromagnetic material being inspected to locate flaws on the material's surface. In addition, it may be used to identify flaws lying under the surface of certain materials. It can identify various flaws, including cracks, porosity, cold lap, and the absence of sidewall fusion in welds, amongst others.

Magnetic remanence:

The magnetization still presents in a ferromagnetic material after removing an external magnetic field is referred to as remanence, remanent magnetization, or residual magnetism. When a magnet is said to be "magnetized," it has remanence.


Mistracking is an occurrence that happens when the read head's route doesn't match the magnetic tape track. Both longitudinal and helical scanning techniques may mistrack. For playback, the reading head must catch a certain proportion of the tape. If the head is off track, recorded data won't play. Malfunction of audio or video equipment prevents it from properly reading or following the track of a recording.


Pack slip:

A packing slip is a document that lists all of the things included in a shipment. Shipping departments utilize the SKU numbers, weights, measurements, and unit counts on packing slips to calculate what merchandise must be sent to fulfill an order correctly.

Popped strand:

When seen at a small angle (often via a transparent or translucent window in the cassette), there are no tape strands that are standing taller than the rest of the tape. The term for these tape strands is "popped strands."

Print through:

Print-through is a typically unwanted phenomenon generated by the contact transfer of signal patterns from one layer of tape to another when it is wrapped concentrically on a reel and used to store analog information, particularly music.



In mathematics and digital signal processing, quantization refers to the transformation of data from a big set into a smaller set, often with a limited number of components. Quantization techniques are used often, and common examples include rounding and truncation.



Refresh is reloading the picture data from memory in a computer display. Refreshing a computer or TV screen is necessary since these devices cannot maintain a constant picture. Electron cannons continually redraw the image on the screen within the cathode ray tube (CRT).


System Restore is a useful tool that prevents the need to reinstall the operating system in the event of an installation failure or data damage. It restores the Windows environment to the state it was in just before the backup.


The act of keeping or the condition of retaining. A tape is emptied onto a take-up reel and restarted at a regulated tension and speed. When this technique is carried out, the stresses that are packed into the tape are redistributed, and as a result, the tape is retensioned. This is also referred to as rejuvenating the tape.



A program that allows for the automatic testing of DNNs on a predetermined set of target devices, edge nodes, and cloud resources to determine the ideal partitions that will enhance DNN performance. Commonly abbreviated as S/N.

Signal-to-noise ratio:

The signal-to-noise ratio is a metric used in science and engineering to compare the desired signal to background noise. SNR is the ratio of signal power to the noise power, commonly represented in decibels. A ratio greater than 1:1 suggests more signal than noise. A signal with an SNR value of 20 dB or higher is suggested for data networks, while 25 dB or more is recommended for voice networks.

Sticky shed:

Sticky-shed syndrome is a condition that is caused by the degradation of the binders in a magnetic tape. These binders either hold the ferric oxide magnetizable coating to its plastic carrier or retain the thinner back-coating outside the tape. Both of these functions are necessary for the tape to function properly. As a result of this degeneration, the tape can no longer be used.

Sticky tape:

Tape with a sticky, sticky, or gummy surface. The hydrolyzed tape has had enough of its magnetic coating dissolve to make it less magnetic than new tape. Sticky tape is a magnetic tape that has accumulated resinous or greasy deposits on its surface. It is used to prevent moisture from setting onto tape media.

When tapes' polymer binder comes in touch with water or moisture, it deteriorates. Magnetic particles get free, and the tape becomes sticky, increasing friction. In such instances, the tape may become stuck or magnetic particles holding data may leave the surface, resulting in data loss.


Stress refers to the pressure a tape can pertain, such as pounds per square inch or any other unit of force (psi). High interwinding stress in a tape pack results from tightly wrapped tape on a reel.


The substrate is the backing of the film, which is thicker than the one adjacent to the layer. This assists the layer, which is thin and magnetic. Nowadays, PET is the most used substrate for tape backings.


Tape baking:

A method involves heating a magnetic tape for a limited amount of time at a high temperature to solidify the adhesive that holds the tape together. It is suggested that you carry out this technique as a stopgap treatment for the sticky shed or sticky tape condition.

Tape noise:

Tape noise is the high-frequency noise seen on analog magnetic tape recordings. Tape noise is a feature of all magnetic tape; however, it may be mitigated by adjusting the composition of the tape to use smaller pigment sizes. The iron oxide pigments used in cheaper cassettes produce the highest levels of tape noise.

Tape pack:

If properly maintained in packs, data saved on tapes may be kept for decades. A tape pack is a structure produced by and consists entirely of tape coiled on a hub or spindle; a tape reel consists of flanges, a tape pack, and the hub, which may be made of metal, plastic, or glass.

Tape transport:

The term "tape transport" refers to the mechanism of a magnetic tape player or recorder that plays and records the tape and manages the tape's handling and movement. The head, the capstan, the pinch roller, the tape pins, and the tape guide are all components involved in transport. The process of moving a tape around is known as the transport mechanism.


Thermal is a layer that coats the tapes to prevent them from heating. The thermal expansion of the tape may cause the tape to become distorted if the tape medium is subjected to heat. Additionally, it can potentially alter the magnetic properties of the tape.

Track angle:

The degree to which a track in a helical scan recording deviates from perpendicular to the edge of the tape. This should be under the scan angle of the helical recorder, which is the tape's angle in relation to the equatorial plane of the revolving drum head. Mistracking will take place if the track angle and the scan angle do not match one another.


Transcription refers to the complete copy of one tape's data transferred to another tape of the same or a different format. Some librarians and archivists use the word "refreshing" to describe moving data from an older cassette to a newer tape using the same format. Reformatting and converting have been used to describe the process of copying data into a new format.

Trapezoidal error:

The trapezoidal error occurs when a shift in the orientation of a track has been captured, which may also lead to mistracking.


Tape backup is the technique of regularly transferring data from the main storage device to a tape cartridge. With the right tape backup software, tape backups may be done manually or automatically. So, if you want to learn more about Tape Data Recovery, this is the post for you. This post contains all the important terminologies there are to know about Tape Data Recovery. We have covered everything from data loss and noise to how to preserve data in these tapes.

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