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9.6.2 Tape Files

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To give the archive a name which will be recorded in it, use the ‘--label=volume-label’ (‘-V volume-label’) option. This will write a special block identifying volume-label as the name of the archive to the front of the archive which will be displayed when the archive is listed with ‘--list’. If you are creating a multi-volume archive with ‘--multi-volume’ (see section Using Multiple Tapes), then the volume label will have ‘Volume nnn’ appended to the name you give, where nnn is the number of the volume of the archive. If you use the ‘--label=volume-label’ option when reading an archive, it checks to make sure the label on the tape matches the one you gave. See section Including a Label in the Archive.

When tar writes an archive to tape, it creates a single tape file. If multiple archives are written to the same tape, one after the other, they each get written as separate tape files. When extracting, it is necessary to position the tape at the right place before running tar. To do this, use the mt command. For more information on the mt command and on the organization of tapes into a sequence of tape files, see The mt Utility.

People seem to often do:

--label="some-prefix `date +some-format`"

or such, for pushing a common date in all volumes or an archive set.

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