[log in to unmask] wrote:
> While I agree with most of what Peter Copeland says below, I sadly must
> disagree with his assumption that "Future restoration processes should
> inevitably be better than present-day ones."
> I am on a number of technical commissions that are involved in writing
> preservation standards dealing with magnetic tape and, having passed my 50th
> birthday, I am the youngest active member on these commissions. To me, the
> greatest danger we face in the preservation of much of our recorded material
> is the rapid obsolescence of qualified technical personnel.
(One advantage of bottom-posting is that it is easy to remove debris
that accumulates along a thread. In this case and IMHO, Peter's post was
all that needed to be kept.)
There is no disagreement here. The methods will surely improve - or at
least not get worse - even as the media decay. The issue is choosing the
best time(s) to transcribe assuming that resources give the archivist a
A related instance is that of the Mapleson cylinders. These live
recordings from the wings of the Metropolitan Opera in 1900-1903 are
sometimes the only and often by far the best captures of singers of
legendary stature. However, each time such a cylinder is played it is
degraded. Some were transferred by Seltsam and issued on IRCC. When
captured systematically and issued by NY Public Library about three
decades later, the effect of the earlier playing was evident. The
Library, which now owns the known cylinders, had some dream of capturing
them again with modern technology for publication on CD. Failure to find
a publisher is at least one factor in the dream not yet approaching reality.
But is this the time for that transcription? Should one wait another
year or five or twenty so that the inevitable damage will be minimized
and the transfer will be more precise and more listenable? And if done
today, would improvements in five years mean that redoing the transfer
would be infeasible?
Like comedy, transfer may all be in the timing.
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