Another long-term problem is related to accessibility, accuracy and
completeness of the data required to find out what's on the darned thing.
I've dealt with the consequences too many time of folks who bring in 7"
reels of tape, assuming they're 7-1/2 ips 2 track stereo of a family member,
only to find it's 4 individual tracks, the speed constantly switched among
7.5, 3.75 and 1.87 ips, some portions of which may be family members, some
"hits of the day" with the mike in front of the radio speaker (I recently
encountered a whole moon landing tape done this way with other stuff
recorded over it in patches and at various speeds), and some live music.
The scrawl on the boxes was completely uninformative.
I recall an old science fiction brief story where they were able to get the
entire content of the Library of Congress onto the head of a pin and had to
put up a small moon-sized satellite to hold the catalog.
In short, as we look at past artifacts, it is becoming clearer that the
costs of prioritizing are being driven by the need to first find out what's
----- Original Message -----
From: "Karl Miller" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, May 10, 2004 9:39 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Analog Masters
> On Fri, 7 May 2004, Konrad Strauss wrote:
> > But do analog copies really make sense anymore? It is a dying format,
> > tape manufacturers are phasing out their analog tape lines, the same is
> > for tape machines. 2 questions come to mind: what guarantee do we have
> > present-day tape formulations are robust, and second, what are we to
> > these tapes on 40 years hence?
> It seems to me that analog is just not economically viable, or
> practical...however...some rambling thoughts...
> Having done some consulting for the State's Department of Information
> Resources...they had some digital files that were 30 years old. We had to
> send the tapes to the Smithsonian where they had a working tape drive.
> Then the State had to pay a group of programmers to reconstruct the
> software to read the files.
> I am reminded of the project, "Audio preservation: a planning study :
> final performance report," published in 1988 under the Associated Audio
> Archives. We still don't have the "universal" storage format recommended
> that study.
> For me, it doesn't matter if it is analog or digital, for most (and I am
> one of those whose favor CDRs) the choice is electromagnetic storage and
> that is likely to be problematic over time. At least with digital storage,
> refreshing and transferring need not be done in real time.
> I also wonder about the implications of the recently postulated notion of
> the theoretical limits of information storage and information theory and
> exponential growth of information.
> Karl (wondering how much of his work will still be around after he is
> gone-and at the age of 56, that is likely to be only 30 years or so)