magnetic tape

noun
a ribbon of material, usually with a plastic base, coated on one side (single tape) or both sides (double tape) with a substance containing iron oxide, to make it sensitive to impulses from an electromagnet: used to record sound, images, data, etc.
Also called electromagnetic tape, tape.


Origin:
1935–40

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
magnetic tape
 
n
Sometimes (informal) shortened to: mag tape a long narrow plastic or metal strip coated or impregnated with a ferromagnetic material such as iron oxide, used to record sound or video signals or to store information in computers

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
magnetic tape  
A plastic tape coated with iron oxide for use in magnetic recording.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

magnetic tape definition


A device for storing information, in which signals are recorded by lining up small bits of magnetic materials in the coating on the tape. Ordinary tape recorders use magnetic tape.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

magnetic tape definition

storage
(Or "magtape", "tape" - paper tape is now obsolete) A data storage medium consisting of a magnetisable oxide coating on a thin plastic strip, commonly used for backup and archiving.
Early industry-standard magnetic tape was half an inch wide and wound on removable reels 10.5 inches in diameter. Different lengths were available with 2400 feet and 4800 feet being common. DECtape was a variation on this "round tape".
In modern magnetic tape systems the reels are much smaller and are fixed inside a cartridge to protect the tape and for ease of handling ("square tape" - though it's really rectangular). Cartridge formats include QIC, DAT, and Exabyte.
Tape is read and written on a tape drive (or "deck") which winds the tape from one reel to the other causing it to move past a read/write head. Early tape had seven parallel tracks of data along the length of the tape allowing six bit characters plus parity written across the tape. A typical recording density was 556 characters per inch. The tape had reflective marks near its end which signaled beginning of tape (BOT) and end of tape (EOT) to the hardware.
Data is written to tape in blocks with inter-block gaps between them. Each block is typically written in a single operation with the tape running continuously during the write. The larger the block the larger the data buffer required in order to supply or receive the data written to or read from the tape. The smaller the block the more tape is wasted as inter-block gaps. Several logical records may be combined into one physical block to reduce wastage ("blocked records"). Finding a certain block on the tape generally involved reading sequentially from the beginning, in contrast to magnetic disks. Tape is not suitable for random access. The exception to this is that some systems allow tape marks to be written which can be detected while winding the tape forward or rewinding it at high speed. These are typically used to separate logical files on a tape.
Most tape drives now include some kind of data compression. There are several algorithms which provide similar results: LZ (most), IDRC (Exabyte), ALDC (IBM, QIC) and DLZ1 (DLT).
See also cut a tape, flap, Group Code Recording, spool, macrotape, microtape, Non Return to Zero Inverted, Phase Encoded.
(1997-04-05)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
The unit uses electronics to store information, rather than a magnetic tape of
  the sort used in a tape recorder.
Another effective method is using magnetic tape along the edges of the curtain
  to seal it against the wall.
Germans had perfected magnetic tape recording and they kept it under tight
  wraps.
All around me, latex-skinned icons of the nation's past get their cues from a
  magnetic tape loop and spring to life.
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