I have been working with archives under similar, timely constraints with
audio/ visual collections. Some with funding, some without. What is the
likelyhood of renewing digitization funding from the Australian Government
to continue after 2011? I can see on the AIATSIS that there is over 45,000
hours of recorded sound. Is it likely to state that nearly half of the audio
/visual collection is recorded sound-on magnetic tape? Also, what ratio of
material been transferred out of that figure?
My efforts have been focused on culturally significant audio collections and
would be interested in helping in these efforts.
On Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 10:55 AM, Casey, Michael T <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
> The archive in question, AIATSIS, is in the same boat as many hundreds of
> others around the world: holders of unique historical and cultural content
> carried on media formats that are actively degrading and already obsolete.
> Many archivists believe that we have a 15-20 year window in which to
> digitally preserve this content before it becomes either impossible or
> prohibitively expensive due to the combination of degradation and
> obsolescence. There is less time for some formats. Possibly more for other
> formats, such as certain types of magnetic tape, if playback machines and
> spare parts are stockpiled now.
> I am happy to see a call for action on behalf of AIATSIS, which I visited a
> year ago, but I am also mindful of the need to lobby on behalf of many other
> archives with a similar problem. It is our generation that must digitally
> preserve this irreplaceable content before it is too late. The time for
> action is upon us. Some of us are now trying to make strong cases for
> institutional or governmental support for this effort, realizing that it is
> beyond the resources of our archive or any one organization. You might be
> interested in a study that Indiana University produced this month that
> strongly states the need for massive and rapid digitization of its 450,000
> hours of content and analyzes some of the format-based degradation and
> obsolescence issues we all face. It may provide outside validation that you
> can use in your effort. The report is available from
> In the U.S., the National Recording Preservation Board is producing a study
> of audio preservation issues followed by a national plan of action. Both
> should be available within a year.
> Similarly, I would love to see justifications developed by others, as they
> may be useful within my own institution.
> Good luck!
> Mike Casey
> Associate Director for Recording Services
> Archives of Traditional Music
> Indiana University
> Co-Chair, ARSC Technical Committee
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
> [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Maria Fletcher
> Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2009 6:51 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] urgent help need to save indigenous cultural archive
> Dear listers,
> Apologies if I have double posted this message.
> I am currently hoping to establish a consortium of like minded people and
> who can help preserve over 100,000 hours of musical recordings of
> australian aboriginal music and oral song. Without Federal funding, the
> recordings, currently on magentic tape, will deteriorate, taking with them
> the only known extant record of ancient traditions and heritage.
> Anyone who feels able to contribute either in the way of lobbying,
> petitioning, or through volunteering their expertise, please indicate your
> interest by replying to to this message. I am then hoping to establish an
> online campaign to further the cause of preserving this essential cultural
> kind regards
> Maria Fletcher
E [log in to unmask]