The asnwer to this question is and has always been seeting up a "Consumer's
Reports" type organization.  When this issue came up years ago at the Audio
Engineeing Society I made this suggestion and contatcted CU to find out
about sharing resources, including legal ones.  At that time it turned out
to be totally impractical due to financial, legal and inter-organizational
cultural issues.

The same with National Bureau of Standards (now NIST), only more so. 
Similarly with Library of Congress.  And, I should think, NASA.  NASA and
NBS published reports ocomparing various products but deliberately did not
identify them by name.

As for U.S. Government funded research, why are we allowing them to use out
tax money for this research but not give us the results back?  Disclosure
could have prevented some of the preservation disasters we all now have to
live with.  This is a scandal going back at leat 40 years.

Steve Smolian

Original Message:
From: Aaron Luis Levinson [log in to unmask]
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 14:14:56 -0500
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] International Archive for Recording Devices


Thanks so much for your considered response. While
I must respectfully disagree with you as far as the amount
of time it would take, I understand the the other points you make
and it is disappointing that a consensus was elusive. However,
my list was more a compendium of suggestions from experts
in the field. It would be up to the user to determine which device
was "best" at the end of the day. It sounds to me as though the
internal politics and manufacturer's concerns could prevent this from
to pass on some official basis. Perhaps I will have to write a little
on the subject and see if a music technology press would be interested
in such an idea.

Aaron Luis Levinson

On Friday, March 7, 2003, at 12:00 PM, [log in to unmask] wrote:

> Aaron:
> This is a great idea that has been considered by a number of other
> groups I
> belong to.  Unfortunately, the idea never got past the discussion
> stage for
> the following three reasons: 1) The amount of research and work
> involved is
> tremendous.  It would likely require the concerted effort of a fairly
> large
> organization or a substantial number of people who were retired and
> had lots
> of "free" time on their hands;  2) Many experts disagree on which are
> the
> "best" machines and attempts to start the project got bogged down in
> setting
> up criteria to evaluate the equipment and 3) If the project were
> undertaken
> by an organization, there is the potential (in the United States, at
> least)
> for substantial legal liability.  It is surprising how many
> manufacturers
> can get bent out of shape if you imply their equipment is not among
> "the
> best" for a particular application, even if it was never designed for
> that
> application.
> Certainly, any expert can openly state which equipment they prefer and
> any
> organization can openly state which equipment they use (and why).  For
> an
> organization to start "ranking" and "officially" recommending one
> piece of
> equipment over another, however, can get complicated.
> It's a great idea and I'm sure there must be some way to pursue the
> project.
> I've just pointed out some of the pitfalls others have encountered and
> hope
> you find some way around them.
> Peter Brothers
> President
> (201) 440-6589
> Celebrating 20 Years of Restoration and Disaster Recovery Service
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Aaron Luis Levinson
>> Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2003 11:30 AM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] International Archive for Recording Devices
>> It is my suggestion that  a database be created which lists the "best"
>> machines available for archival purposes for every recording format be
>> it analog electronic, acoustical or digital. Then offer a contact for
>> buying and/or refurbishing and maintaing these devices. My ultimate
>> dream would result in a master Archive of the machines themselves that
>> would be maintained and serviced and be made available at a subsidized
>> cost to the many hundreds if not thousands of people who need these
>> machines on an on-going basis.
>> In order to serve our mission as preservationists we must not lose
>> sight of our task as finding not only the art that must be saved but
>> the science that must be saved if the art is to be heard at all.
>> Aaron Luis Levinson
>> On Thursday, March 6, 2003, at 03:15 AM, Bewley, Nigel wrote:
>>> Tascam 122MKIII gets my vote.
>>> Nigel Bewley
>>> British Library National Sound Archive
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Claudia Depkin [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
>>> Sent: 05 March 2003 19:43
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] seeking cassette deck recommendation
>>> Can anyone recommend a cassette deck that will be gentle with old and
>>> potentially valuable cassette tapes?
>>> Thanks.
>>> Claudia Depkin
>>> Project Manager, Wilson Processing Project for Performing Arts
>>> Collections
>>> The New York Public Library
>>> (212) 714-8507
>>> *********************************************************************
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