Need help with a data storage format


Rear Admiral
Hey all,

I work at a library, and I've been working with our library's archivist from time to time. One of the things that she recently found are these storage disks from a long, long time ago. Like, 1995-1996 long ago.

We know that the one on the left is a 3M TR-1 Minicartridge (mainly due to the label), but we don't know what the one on the right is. I included pictures of them for comparison. When I saw these, I thought of this website due to the whole EA archives thing that you guys did years ago. So, does anyone know what the other one is?

To make matters worse, we're pretty sure that we don't have anything that can read them, and the IT department on campus is pretty sure that they don't either. I've done some research, and we might be able to get a TR-1 reader used for around $40-150, but the quality of these used drives is obviously iffy, since most of the eBay sellers are selling them "as is" with only having checked to see if they turn on.

That being said, since we don't know what the other format (the one on the right) is, we can't really ballpark how much a drive for the other format. Can anyone help us out? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Edit: And no, I totally don't have video game release dates written on the same desk calendar as my work schedule. :p


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Rear Admiral
Oh sweet, good call on that one Andrewas. Now, will these kind of tape drives work with computers running Windows XP? Sorry if my question seems dumb, but I've never seen these kinds of minicarts before.


Vice Admiral
I'm not 100 percent sure, but that thing looks a lot like a Ditto tape from Iomega. The format was introduced in 1992, and like all ADR(Onstream) based formats abandoned around 1999.

Good luck on finding an operational drive for that one! The ADR-ish tape reader works like the inside of a VCR, and the drives broke down easily(between 1 and three years if they do a daily backup, if your data throughput is unstable causing the drive to spool back and forth all the time and stopping and restarting(The guys at quantum call this effect"shoe-ing"(or that is the way they pronounce it)), the devices break down within a year.


Finder of things, Doer of stuff
If the library is willing to fork out cash, there are professional services out there for retrieving data off of obsolete formats.

However, if you can figure this out and have access to old tape drives or can find the right ones, this may be the more cost effective route. Note that, not only do you need the data off the drive, you do need to know what kind of system and OS this is from to make the data useful.


Vice Admiral
-Ah, i see it has been identified-

Operating system will not matter much, but you need to be sure you use thesame backup software(or a higher version). In that era Arcserve is your best bet. ;)


Rear Admiral
Update for all who are interested:

Someone here at the university managed to pop on of these in...and all of the files are from some obsolete library cataloging/management software (I don't recall the name) that was used back in 1994-1996. So obsolete and ancient that the university doesn't even have any copies of this software left.

So obsolete, in fact, that only one college/university in the USA still uses it, and they're all the way in Wisconsin. We're going to see if they can help us out with it; if not, we're going to have to see about using some professional service.