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ARSCLIST  July 2003

ARSCLIST July 2003

Subject:

Re: Preservation Philosophy and Management

From:

George Brock-Nannestad <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Tue, 22 Jul 2003 11:32:41 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (62 lines)

From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad

I acquired the paperback edition of Nicholson Baker's "Double Fold" because
of a professional review I had read. I think that the searchlight he puts on
the dichotomy of preserving merely content vs. preserving the artefact
containing the content must be most thought-provoking. The fundamental
problem is that it is _we_ who define content and thereby decide what answers
future researchers may choose from. I agree with Tony Greiner/Mary Grant and
with Andrew Brown: buy the book and reflect. And consider, that if original
newspapers were that fragile, then dealers would not stock up on them!

I have to disagree with outright refusal to accept (Walter Cybulski) that
there is a problem. Just the illustrations placed between pages 210 and 211
give more answers to certain questions than any microfilm yet made. Here we
see the colours of the 1898, 1901, 1905, 1907, and 1912 newspaper copies
and we see global layout - this cannot be provided by black-and-white
microforms. There are no stable colour microforms, only B/W. Modern scanning
and electronic storage is able to outperform microfilm, but at the cost of
extreme complexity. Microforms are readable by illumination and magnification
only, modern media are not. For that reason I am a firm believer in
microforms - within their limitations.

>  Baker is in microfilm denial and seems to think that one page that will
> not break when folded somehow magically represents millions of pages
> of newspapers and books that broke when handled (Walter Cybulski).

----- No, I believe he considers microfilm useful for relieving original,
frail volumes from overuse.


Getting back to Tony Greiner's comparison:

  To this list, it would be akin to copying a 78 onto a CD
> with a high loss rate, then throwing out the 78 because it is
> "brittle."


----- this is precisely what the Danish Broadcasting organization did. During
the 1970s, whenever a technician had time on his or her hands, they would
transfer 78rpm records to tape. This was because the tape medium was the
medium of choice. There was no standard, and I have identified 4 different
types of transfer - from lovely, open stereo (which would have formed good
submaster material) to mono starting wide-band, but with a quick turn-down
(within seconds of the sound starting) of the ELT low-pass knob at the
preamp. Now, in the late 1980s, tape became burdensome, and in order to make
the 78s available for programming, the _tapes_ were transferred to CD-R.
Simultaneously a programme of deaccessioning took place - an agreement was
reached, whereby the originals would always be available at the Danish Media
Archive. Fat luck: the Danish Media Archive only has a responsibility for
Danish material, and most foreign material was deaccessionised. That is how I
came to buy the only two extant copies in Denmark of certain 20th century
composers on 78 - and was able to make a gift in the form of a direct
transfer to CD-R to a classical program producer. He confirmed that those
recordings did not exist any more in the catalogue of the Danish
Broadcasting.


Kind regards,


George

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