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Archives are usually written on removable media–tape cartridges, mag tapes, or floppy disks.
The amount of data a tape or disk holds depends not only on its size, but also on how it is formatted. A 2400 foot long reel of mag tape holds 40 megabytes of data when formated at 1600 bits per inch. The physically smaller EXABYTE tape cartridge holds 2.3 gigabytes.
Magnetic media are re-usable–once the archive on a tape is no longer needed, the archive can be erased and the tape or disk used over. Media quality does deteriorate with use, however. Most tapes or disks should be disgarded when they begin to produce data errors.
Magnetic media are written and erased using magnetic fields, and should be protected from such fields to avoid damage to stored data. Sticking a floppy disk to a filing cabinet using a magnet is probably not a good idea.
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