In a message dated 3/29/04 9:01:22 PM, [log in to unmask] writes:

<< This is an active process. Even neglecting the possibility of human error
equipment failures, it requires a constant approval of operating funds to
assure continuity of the process.  There will be no discoveries of long lost
documents in a neglected warehouse or attic.

I'm sure the world will survive, but it seems to be a real change in the
concept of recorded history. >>

Yes, but . . . the beneficial trade-offs (from archival standpoint as
advocated by Library of Congress and proponents of an overarching digital storage
environment) are:
1)  the functionality of digital storage;
2) wide dissemination with searchability, wide access to indexes and contents
via electronic means (i.e. internet, CD-ROM, other future technologies);
3)  longer term stability of actual content vs. steady aging, fragility and
degradation of analog original source materials.

<< There will be no discoveries of long lost documents in a neglected
warehouse or attic. >>

Yes there will because a large portion of rare materials are currently in the
hands of private collectors, family legacies, and basements.

Two examples:
I'm currently working with an archive which has acquired  from a private
party a sizeable collection (700+ discs) of electrical broadcast transcriptions
ranging from the late 1930s to the early 1950s.  These were long preserved by a
private party involved in the original productions, until such time as an
institution expressed interest in long term preservation.

I frequently collaborate with a non-profit jazz foundation engaged in
preservation which frequently has rare materials offered, bequeathed or donated by
private individuals.  As a vintage jazz broadcaster, I've had people give me
discovered materials, tapes, acetate discs, cassettes, of genuinely rare material.