I find "endgame" scenarios of limited utility in trying to seriously discuss archival issues. Clearly it is possible to envision any number of disaster scenarios that will destroy any and all media types, and as has been mentioned - if one of these endgame scenarios is to be played out - are we really going to be concerned about playing back shellac disks or biological data storage - or any other kind? It hearkens back to Dr. Strangelove - I believe the quote is something like "Mr. President - we can not have a mine shaft gap!" as the world is exploding in a nuclear holocaust.
As a practical matter - trying to protect a collection is a process that assesses risks and the costs of taking them. Is it possible to protect a collection from an EMF pulse? Perhaps depending on many variables - but is anyone seriously considering going to those extremes for mere archival records - sound, video or film? I have been working for some time as a consultant on a large archival project for several years and the subject has never even been brought up - and there were many opportunities. Over the years i have worked or been aware of many such projects - and this is really a non-topic. It is an endgame scenario - perhaps geographically disparate copies might work - but is this REALLY an issue??
I spoke to a computer security consultant the other day - and he said that the only really safe computer (safe from virus or tampering or other issues) is one turned off with no connections surrounded by concrete (very thick concrete) and buried in a VERY deep hole. Since that is not reality - then everything else is a compromise and needs to be evaluated for its risk / reward. It may be a position that is a little extreme - but I think the thought process is a correct one. Rather then try for ultimate solutions - i think it is far more productive to consider the ones that can be implemented and know the risks that you are willing to take due to cost and other factors.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Steven C. Barr [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2005 04:17 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Audio storage on external hard drives
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "steven austin" <[log in to unmask]>
> > I think I see the discussion swinging back to shellac discs. And I still
> > believe biological data storage devices (the minstrels and troubadours)
> > deserve a reappraisal.
> Well...shellac discs can survive nuclear attacks as long as they are about
> 5km from ground zero, and their containing buildings don't fall on them!
> However, the "biological storage devices" are unlikely to survive on a
> long-term basis (which raises the question of who is likely to use
> this archive?...)
> Besides, they can only preserve the basic framework of songs, not the
> details od individual performances! We can't very well say, "I know
> that Bix played cornet on Banner 12345, because I heard the recreation
> done by Joe Gabroni's Jazz Troubadors, and..."