Since the quality of reel-to-reel playback is very machine and technician
dependent I have serious doubts about the playability at highest quality of
an analog magnetic tape in 100 years time.
By then, the technology will be stone-age. Nobody will be around to
understand it. No one will care. It's dead technology now. It started dying
in the 1980s with Ampex leaving the business. Studer is now essentially out
of the tape recorder business.
What will happen when people like Jay McKnight of Magnetic Reference Lab no
longer make test tapes?
Can we even buy good blank tape today? For how long? Quantegy and Emtec are
still in business--the latter is or was in a bankruptcy-type restructuring
as I understand it.
Few highest-quality recorders are available new today and those that are
are end-of-life products being kept in production for archival migration.
The Otari MTR-15 is a special order product but the MX5050 BIII is
apparently available from stock. Studer is currently NOT listing the A807
on their Web sites and did a "last call" for this machine two years ago.
I personally feel it is financially irresponsible and a waste of scarce
capital to fund transfers to reel tape today. The money spent doing this
could be better spent transferring to a permanent digital archive.
The use of CDs is the best stopgap we have before permanent digital
archives become pervasive, affordable, and robust for the average archive
user (i.e. not requiring a dedicated IT department). CD players because of
their huge penetration--more by far than reel tapes ever were, I
suspect--will be around for years to come.
These are my opinions only.
At 04:41 PM 6/25/2003 -0400, Watsky, Lance wrote:
>The question actually posted specifically asked about long term
>preservation. The problem is not whether or not CD's and DVD's will last
>for posterity, but if the players will still be around in the future.
>Although digital and optical media is wonderful for providing access, I
>believe that the Library of Congress still promotes utilizing
>reel-to-reels to serve as their preservation copies. Can someone please
>correct me, if I am wrong.