I wonder whether there are or ought to be some specific qualifications for
an audio conservator or archival specialist that are either separate from
or a subset of those for an audio engineer.
In at least one of the grant proposals that I have reviewed, the applicant
wanted to contract the digital transfers to a local studio that specialized
in tape duplication. There was no evidence that this studio had any
experience working with old tape, or knowledge of the special requirements
for archival work. Based on this example and others I have heard about from
informal discussions, I don't think this was a unique case.
There was some discussion about this at the "Saving Sounds" Conference in
Austin last summer, but no resolution. It would be useful for ARSC, along
with some other interest groups, to begin to work on a set of formal
standards that could help define the craft/art/profession.
What do we call it? Audio Conservation Engineer? Sound Conservator? More
importantly, what are the skills required for the job? Clearly, it's more
than just knowing how to thread tape onto an Otari and dub to a CD recorder.
Does ARSC have a technical committee or other group working on this
question already? If not, how do we start one?