It seems to me that a "Mass Digitisation" panel/session would be a good
thing for our next conference. Perhaps someone could update us on things
like SAMMA, the PrestoSpace project, and things of that sort. I agree,
it really is the only way to go.
Andes, Donald wrote:
> Let me add a positive retort here, (before the waves of negative ones
> I agree with you 100% that most in the archival world are focusing on
> the wrong issues, or maybe have been lingering on the same problems for
> too long. The issue in my mind is scale because most in the archival
> industry are seeing a box, or room full of tapes, and have not had the
> opportunity to see over 1 million assets in a single location, nor
> contemplated what to do with them.
> As the Director of Archives for EMI, I look at all the assets under my
> control (over 1 million, just in North America), and think to myself:
> "How much sense does it make to preserve these assets in these formats,
> when the machines, engineer knowledge base, and media itself if
> Once you scale out and see the big picture, you start to see the REALLY
> big problem. If we (the archival industry) can't get a digitization
> schema to be cost effective, we simply won't get the funds to digitize.
> Worse, if someone outside the archival industry, gets "their" plans in
> motion, you can rest assure that it will not be done anywhere near
> As you know, the barriers to digital migration are also far more complex
> than the real time transfer that it involves (even if we're using SAMMA
> "robots".) Digital files take error checking, redundant copies, naming
> conventions, metadata collection, metadata hierarchy standards, etc.
> Figuring all this out UP FRONT, makes for a daunting task that I will
> venture to say, takes a completely different skill/mind set than analog.
> Unfortunately people don't change, and no matter how many positive
> reasons you give to migrate, those entrenched in analog will want to
> stay there.
> I believe there should be communal, parallel thinking in regards to mass
> digitization strategies, metadata collection and so forth. I am aware of
> library groups focusing specifically on metadata, but I have my own
> concern with their focus, and priorities in regards to collecting
> metadata on A/V assets.
> I'm available for dialog on this topic, and I would hope that others on
> the list may open minded enough as well.
> Don Andes
> Director of Archives
> EMI Music
> -----Original Message-----
> The point is that Analog is over, and the sooner we get to the really
> hard job of developing cost effective mass migration techniques to save
> the vast corpus the better. Now some of you may say my statements are
> self-serving - and I will fully and freely admit that I have worked very
> hard to develop these techniques and have worked to commercialize them -
> but I do not see any other way to save the content, and I have been
> successful in driving the price lower and lower using new technology.
> But - we are just one company - and we need help - yes we need
> competition because THE point is to save the content - and to do that -
> we need to be thinking differently. The problem is not how do we stop a
> single troublesome tape from squeaking - the problem is how do we
> migrate the millions of recordings fast enough and cost effective enough
> and good enough - for the future. I don't see much of that going on -
> and it deeply concerns me. We need more people thinking this way - I
> want to read about techniques that can be applied to thousands of tapes
> that will allow fast and cost effective transfer. This is something that
> we ALL need to work on - the collective brains and expertise on this
> list and others needs to focus - we can differ in our individual
> philosophies but please let us not get so distracted by esoteric un-
> scaleable treatments, that we forget the whole point. Which is - to save
> the stuff. I am sad to say that collectively - all of us (including me)-
> have not been doing a very good job - we need to do MUCH better. We need
> to work together - and smarter. The risk of loss is simply too great.
> Ok - I am done - and I am running,,,,
> Jim Lindner
> Email: [log in to unmask]
> Media Matters LLC.
> SAMMA Systems LLC.
> 450 West 31st Street 4th Floor
> New York, N.Y. 10001
> eFax (646) 349-4475
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> Media Matters LLC. is a technical consultancy specializing in archival
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> and access practices.
> On May 14, 2007, at 1:59 PM, Richard L. Hess wrote:
>> At 07:48 AM 2007-05-14, Tom Fine wrote:
>>> Hi Konrad:
>>> Some of what this guy says is simply not right about sticky-shed.
>>> I can't comment on his "cure". I'll stick with baking tapes, which is
>>> proven to work.
>>> I'm hoping Richard Hess posts a long missive on this one. With this
>>> topic well-addressed many other places, I wonder why so much
>>> mythology persists?
>> Hello, Tom, Konrad,
>> Peter Brothers has posted an excellent hypothesis as to why the
>> chemical technique may work. If we consider that the short (broken)
>> chains which is the lower molecular weight, sticky stuff ends up
>> partially adsorbing to the magnetic particles when water is driven
>> out, then this mystery chemical could also be a water "magnet" and can
>> pull the water out of the coating allowing sites for the short chains
>> to adsorb. This is consistent with the baking process.
>> We certainly have seen tapes suffering from binder hydrolysis -- what
>> I'm starting to call "Soft Binder Syndrome" (SBS). With non-
>> back-coated tapes there is a large population (not 100%, but close)
>> that do not respond to baking. These are the SBS without SSS tapes.
>> We used to call them "loss of lubricant" (LoL) until we found out
>> there was still ample lubricant in the tapes.
>> What we are seeing with the non-back-coated tapes that have SBS (and
>> squeal) is that they are in a rubbery phase at room temperature
>> because the breakdown of the polymers has caused the temperature at
>> which the surface turns from smooth to rubbery (called the GLASS
>> TRANSITION TEMPERATURE or Tg) has fallen to below room temperature.
>> What we do in these cases is play the tapes with the tape and the
>> player below the current Tg of the tape.
>> Measuring Tg is not easy -- you need to measure the Youngs Modulus of
>> the Coating (alone not on the basefilm) at various temperatures and
>> from that plot you can extract the Tg.
>> It all comes down to the tapes decaying and for all of the
>> polyester-polyurethane tapes it appears that moisture is the catalyst
>> for the breakdown -- hence as Peter says, it's all hydroysis.
>> Incubation/baking appears to cause enough movement in the tape pack to
>> break the layer-to-layer bonds that form under pressure (especially
>> near the hub) that causes pinning and pullouts. I have found that slow
>> (1.88 in/s) playback of the tape also helps in that regard.
>> I think our goal here is to use reliable, tested processes and
>> digitize the content. I spent a substantial amount of effort working
>> on tapes that squealed and did not respond to baking. My cold playing
>> technique (which I encourage all of you to try and respond back)
>> should, in theory, work with SSS tape as well as SBS (and I suggest
>> that SSS is a subset of SBS), but the massive amounts of debris
>> generated by the backcoat/magcoat combination overwhelms the
>> capability of cold playback (at least right now) and at pro play
>> speeds, pullout is exacerbated due to the bonding between backcoat and
>> I do not think we've yet seen a documented case of LoL so thankfully
>> that myth is being put to bed. We used to think the squealing Sony
>> PR-150 and 3M 175 was LoL, but we now see that it is SBS. By the way,
>> the Tg of one sample of 175 was about +8C or about 46F.
>> Keeping polyester polyurethane tapes dry (<40% RH) is a good way to
>> keep them feeling OK. I had a non-backcoated tape of this type that
>> had been peaking at 75% RH in storage "heal" after three months
>> storage at about 40% RH.
>> By the way, it is approximately a minute:day relationship between
>> thermal and moisture equilibrium--or at least that's a convenient way
>> to think of it. In other words if a tape takes 90 minutes to reach
>> thermal equilibrium throughout the pack, then it takes 90 days to
>> reach moisture equilibrium. This is based on work with 1- inch tapes
>> so 1/4-inch tapes might not be as bad, but it seems to match my
>> My AES paper cites the reference for that.
>> In general, I am less happy with a chemical approach than a
>> physical/state approach (within limits) to the SBS/SSS problem as
>> there is a great chance of unknown, long-term damage from any chemical
>> approach. With that said, I have tried approaches to SBS based on the
>> LoL hypothesis and they were abysmal failures.
>> Konrad: we did have a belated success in your neck of the woods with
>> playing a tape in a fridge. Paul or Mike have the details. I think it
>> needed 48 hours of cold soak before it played.
>> Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
>> Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/
>> contact.htm Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.
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Marcos Sueiro Bal
Audio/Moving Image Project Archivist
Columbia University Libraries