"Andes, Donald" <[log in to unmask]> wrote: ***The issue in my mind is scale because most in the archival
industry are seeing a box, or room full of tapes, and have not had the opportunity to see over 1 million assets in a single location, nor contemplated what to do with them.
***If we (the archival industry) can't get a digitization
schema to be cost effective, we simply won't get the funds to digitize.
***Worse, if someone outside the archival industry, gets "their" plans in motion, you can rest assure that it will not be done anywhere near correct.
***Unfortunately people don't change, and no matter how many positive reasons you give to migrate, those entrenched in analog will want to stay there.
***I believe there should be communal, parallel thinking in regards to mass digitization strategies, metadata collection and so forth. I am aware of library groups focusing specifically on metadata, but I have my own concern with their focus, and priorities in regards to collecting metadata on A/V assets.
I appreciate the perspective you bring and I agree with most of what you write.
The other day I was watching a program on the archaeological work at an early fort in the US. I noticed how many people were sifting through the layers of soil looking for fragments of pottery, arrowheads, and the like. I then thought of the estimates of analog audio in need of reformatting...by one estimate, 30Million hours. One can question if all that audio really should be reformatted, as the determination of what should survive can, even under the best of circumstances, be subjective. However, why is it that our society sees it appropriate to devote such substantive resources to archaeology while our recorded history crumbles on the shelf?
My concerns are not necessarily limited to those outside of the archival arena. I can only reflect on what I observe at my own institution. We recently advertized for an opening for someone to do reformatting. They wanted an individual conversant in Final Cut Pro, Protools and older analog audio formats. The job was advertized at minimum wage...19 hours a week...at 19 hours a week, the University would not have to pay benefits like medical, etc. Also, at our institution, it was proposed that a unique collection of orchestral performances be digitized by work study employees. Obviously, even within the profession at my institution, there is little respect given to the skills required to do the work or what it costs to pay them. Then, what were the priorities for this project? The relatively stable mylar based reel to reel tapes were the priority. Lacquer discs were not even discussed as needing reformatting.
As to the metadata concerns... I recenty read the document "Best Practice Guidelines for Digital Collections at the University of Maryland Libraries." For anyone sincerely concerned with these issues, I would recommend reading it. It is clearly a very well intentioned document, however, it seems to be have been written by those with no technical background. Their attempt to provide basic definitions is wrought with statements that I found so confusing, I was left with little sense of what they were trying to convey. It seems that we cannot even agree on definitions. And, with less than 4% of the total budgets of the ARL libraries devoted to preservation, I am left to wonder if our libraries place much significance to the preservation of our intellectual history. I am not encouraged much by what I read and observe.
While those of us who value this history work hard at changing attitudes and priorities, I wonder how we might be able to do a better job at convincing those empowered to make changes to realign priorities. Maybe our strategy needs to focus not on the inside, but on the outside. In short, I wonder, who really does place value on our recorded history.