The LoC has a much broader mandate of preserving the "cultural climate",
including commercial entertainment.
Fortunately, the National Archives (and my organization within NARA, the
Office of Presidential Libraries) has had its own preservation program for
two-inch, that has included a large volume of (DC-centric) news and public
information programming. Presidents since LBJ have been recording off-air
video of programming of interest to the Administration. We have also been
preserving large quantities of Presidential campaign advertising on
two-inch. Like most federal agencies, we face a difficult budget climate
today, which challenges our ability to continue large-scale preservation
Office of Presidential Libraries
National Archives and Records Administration
On Thu, Aug 1, 2013 at 9:03 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
> If the skill set to maintain quad video players is really almost died off,
> let's hope the LOC is prioritizing transfers and concentrating on
> news/actualities and documentaries/non-fiction before they work on the
> likes of "I Love Lucy." That does not seem to be the case as presented by
> the CBS News report.
> I don't see why the LOC is in the business of preserving commercial TV
> shows in the first place. The current owners of "I Love Lucy," for example,
> seem to view this product as profitable since they have it for sale in
> multi-DVD sets right now. Just about any "classic" TV dreck is shown in
> re-runs all over cable TV, again benefitting the copyright owners. So why
> are the taxpayers expending any money or effort to digitize this material?
> What's next, the race to save the decaying "Survivor" episodes?
> Commercial "entertainment" is NOT history. It may be dated cultural
> artifacts, but it is not as important as real historic video, movies and
> sounds. In 1000 years, it will matter if there is footage of the Kennedy
> assassination or the moon landing and its coverage by media outlets around
> the world, this will matter to historians and history (if humans have
> managed not to self-extinct by then). Episodes of "I Love Lucy" will not
> matter. In fact, they don't matter today except as junk-food entertainment
> for the nostalgic. I say the same, BTW, with regards to old radio content.
> It's much more important to preserve FDR fireside chats than to worry about
> episodes of "The Lone Ranger." One could make the same argument about
> recordings of historical live music performances (should be preserved by
> the LOC, but with copyright releases so they are available to those paying
> for their preservation) vs commercially successful "hit" products (should
> be preserved on the dime of the copyright owners, with their right to make
> money from them as long as the copyright lasts).
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Steve Greene" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Thursday, August 01, 2013 8:43 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] CBS News on LOC efforts to preserve video history
> JRF would certainly be able to recreate the coils and the ferrite mounting
>> of the heads. Quad video heads are mounted (four of them) on a rotating
>> headwheel assembly running on a floating air bearing. Renovating those
>> headwheels involves specialized jigs and precision machine tooling that
>> would be probably within JRF's capabilities, but non-trivial (and probably
>> non-economic) to re-create from scratch.
>> Steve Greene
>> Audiovisual Archivist
>> Office of Presidential Libraries
>> National Archives and Records Administration
>> (301) 837-1772
>> On Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 4:10 PM, Roderic G Stephens
>> <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>> "Subject: [ARSCLIST] CBS News on LOC efforts to pres
>>> Tom Fine wrote:
>>> "Subject: [ARSCLIST] CBS News on LOC efforts to preserve video history
>>> Question about one "fact" stated in the story, by an LOC employee --
>>> is really only one guy who works on the heads for Ampex 1" machines, and
>>> he's in his 80s?
>>> -- Tom Fine"
>>> My take on this is that perhaps the "one guy" should be working with
>>> someone that has the technical expertise to learn the ins and outs of the
>>> Ampex 2" quad VTR plus, isn't a company like JRF Magnetic Services able
>>> recondition VTR quad heads?
>>> Or, this site lists a number of companies that still do 2" quad work: