In a message dated 6/27/2003 9:51:31 AM Eastern Standard Time, [log in to unmask] writes:


Conjecture about preserving data for archaeologists or alien visitors
is
amusing but not very applicable. Any archival media should be
evaluated
every "few" years to detect any degradation and to allow a copy to be
made if any risk is detected. Transfer to media using updated
technology
should be anticipated every 20 years or so.


The question about "long term" preservation is of concern to me because of my own situation, which may be somewhat alien to this group. 

I have in my possession, and have access to, audio material which has not been accessed by anybody for fifty years. It is unlikely to see any maintenance in the foreseeable future.

Most, 40s-50s vintage wire recordings, film, instantaneous discs, and tape, is in good condition and probably will not deteriorate much in the next 50 years, however I would like to make copies to distribute in the hope that some interest can be generated, or at least to increase the chances that the content will be preserved.

Fifteen years ago I started making copies on "Professional" 1/4 inch tape (7-1/2'/s half track, one pass).  Some of this material is already unplayable without baking or other treatment.  I can relatively easily transfer this material to CD both as .WAV and as CD audio. 

The question is: is this the best that can be done under the circumstances?  Is it even worth doing?  If the original media, perishable as it is, will last longer than any current medium, the only reason to make transfers is for immediate distribution.

I know of no way to put this material into any sort of database where it will be maintained by IT professionals. Is anyone establishing an "audio cemetery" where digital archives will receive "perpetual care"?

Mike Csontos