This Ecma Standard specifies the physical and magnetic characteristics of a 3,81 mm wide magnetic tape cartridge to enable physical interchangeability of such cartridges between drives. It also specifies the quality of the recorded signals, the recording method and the recorded format – called Digital Data Storage 4 (DDS-4) – thereby allowing data interchange between drives by means of such magnetic tape cartridges.
Information interchange between systems also requires, at a minimum, agreement between the interchange parties upon the interchange code(s) and the specifications of the structure and labelling of the information on the interchanged cartridge.
Under information interchange circumstances in which a processing algorithm, e.g. for lossless data compression as specified in ECMA-151, is applied to the host data prior to recording on the tape and a complementary reprocessing algorithm is applied after the data is read from the tape, agreement upon these by the interchange parties is also required.