A CDE Definition
A popular magnetic tape width that has been in use since the 1950s. The first half-inch tape format for computers was open reel, and various 7-track and 9-track tapes, wound onto reels, were threaded into the drive by a human operator. Much more convenient and holding more data, half-inch self-threading tape cartridges began to replace open reels in the mid-1980s (see Magstar, DLT and Redwood).
Although storage capacity was limited to little more than a couple hundred megabytes per reel, a few legacy information systems using open reel tapes survived into the 21st century. See magnetic tape, open reel and track.
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