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----- Original Message -----
From: "matt Sohn" <[log in to unmask]>
>     The question is really: How long will analog remain a viable medium
> (i.e. how much longer will we be able to obtain reliable tape stock? How
> long into the future will playback machines be 1. available and 2. a
> cost-effective alternative?
>     Also, how reliable is the tape stock we are using now? I have acetate
> tapes from the early 50s that play back better than the preservation
copies
> made in 1992 (which I am in the process of replacing).
>     We currently have a grant application pending for funds to purchase
more
> analog tape stock, and if it comes through I'll continue to make analog
> copies, because the boss wants me to, but I think it's overkill (and very
> expensive overkill at that)
>     We are currently archiving all of our digital audio to CDR (Mitsui
Gold
> on Gold unbranded), though I find the thought of hard disk redundancy
> appealing. The downside of this would be catastrophic data loss (don't put
> all yr eggs in one basket), but I see it as a cheap way to achieve
> redundancy.
There would appear to be three things here that address another vital
concept...that is, the "lifespan" of archival material. I don't know the
exact
details, but have seen numerous posts on 78-L that suggest magnetic tape
has a relatively short useful lifespan (I do have cassettes 20 years or more
old, that still seem to play well...as well as they ever did, anyway...but
that may be because they are seldom used?) and is less than "permanent."
As far as digital archiving, are there any studies on the projected
"lifespan"
of commercially-available CD-R discs? Are they subject to any form of
slow deterioration that might make it necessary to rearchive their contents?
One might ask the same question of hard-disc archiving, which is more
expensive than CD-R but is still relatively inexpensive compared in terms
of content (60GB are now <$150 Canadian).
In fact, given my personal experience...I have shellac 78's a century and
more old that appear undeteriorated...the originals may well have a longer
"lifespan" than anything used to archive their contents!
Steven C. Barr