The challenge in protecting our rich cultural heritage is not limited by
technology but rather by attitude. The people on this list are not well
served by their masters. Scarce resources allocated by both government and
business do not do justice to the needs of the archival community. In a
triage approach we must look at education, funding and process.
It would seem that the archiving community suffers from the classic 2 out
of 3 conundrum. For our storage media we desire (A) longevity
(reliability), (B) large amounts of space and it be (C) cost effective.
The systems by which we create files and associated metadata are necessary
but of secondary importance.
Cheap Hard disks: B C ** We create A using RAID tape backup copies
Gold CD R A C ** We sacrifice quality to use this media
option and have storage management issues
Gold DVD R A B ** These cost between $50 - $100 In large
systems cost and management prohibtive
Optical disks A B ** IBM has a 30 GByte version $$$
Magnetic Tape B C ** We create A using multiple copies (LTO
(Perfect Media) A B C ! ** Must be created at the system level
(requires coherent analysis and long term perspective) (There is something
to be said for the A B combination if they do last 100+ years)
It is worth noting that the cost of raw storage compared to the cost of the
digitising process is in most cases negligible. (it is the management of the
media that becomes expensive). Also the choice of sample rate and bit depth
has a rofound impact upon our choice of media.
Briefly, by designing a 3 tiered system we can begin to ameliorate some of
the challenges being faced. The difficulty is never the initial transfer
and storage, but the required subsequent ones. The constant migration
process has to embrace not just content, but technology and knowledge.
In a three stage system we have to embrace the following processes.
1. Adding current material
2. Migrating old digitised content
3. Analysing and assessing new storage techniques and systems
This is a continuous cyclical process never constant, everchanging. Many
people view processes having a beginning middle and end, not so archiving
which is in a way like the Mobius strip. Successful protection of our music
has, in the past, been accidental, it is reassuring that it is now
intentional, spurred on by the efforts of many.
Malcolm F. Davidson
----- Original Message -----
From: <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2006 8:51 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Storing digital media
> This thread is great. Thanks to all.
> Dave Nolan said,
> >>which allow numerous workstations (and listening stations) to log in and
> >>listen to/record/edit/process audio and video files simultaneously.
> >>are also (as I understand it) the only RAID-protected hard drive storage
> >>that will work with Pro Tools. For off-site backup, we are using
> This sounds like a great production and access system. The problem I see
with two hard drive based storage medias as the only archival carriers is
they are both hard drives!
> >>Our main objection to using CD-r as a primary archival medium at the
> >>Street Y was data integrity and longevity.
> If you don't know what you are doing, don't test the discs after they are
burned, etc., this is true. But, all the discs in our archive have already
outlasted one generation of enterprise servers and their error rates are
unchanged from the day they were created 8 years ago.
> Even data residing on hard drives needs periodic testing via check sum or
whatever. My understanding is that just because something resides in a RAID
doesn't mean it is immune to latent errors that can then be propogated
across all the drives. Unfortunately the rate of such occurrences is
impossible to quantify. That said, RAIDs mainly guard against catastrophic
> Thanks again,
> Kevin Irelan