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'tattle tape'

Page history last edited by PBworks 18 years, 2 months ago

The 'tattle tape' is one of the two major inventions of the 1970s that managed to stop the "most common and the most distressing enemy of books - homo sapiens" (Hamlin, 217. The other was the Check point. Tattle tapes are thin magnetic strips that can be placed inside magazine, books, newspapers or can be placed across audio-video material. Unless desentized an alarm will sound when the materials are passed through a detection device normally placed at the exit. One problem with this system is that some material that are magnetically sensitive such as audio-cassette tapes are not able to be tattle taped.


The "Check Point" system is similar to the tattle tape system in that a magnetic strip in placed inside or across materials and will set off and alarm if passed through a detection device, but unlike the tattle tape system it is not desentized making it more useful for magnetically sensitive material, however it then needs to be handed around the detection device.


This technology marked a major decrease in book theft as it was far more difficult to remove materials from the library without library staff knowledge. These two systems quickly gained popularity because of both the decrease in theft and the fact that in most case guards no longer needed to be posted at exits.


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Arthur T. Hamlin, "The Technological Revolution" in Arthur T. Hamlin, The University Library in the United States: Its Origins and Development (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981) 211-225



Judy Nelson, ed. "A 30 Year Commitment to Libraries" Tattler, Winter 2001 Vol. 11, No. 1


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