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----- Original Message -----
From: "Dave Radlauer" <[log in to unmask]>
> << This is an active process. Even neglecting the possibility of human
error
> and
> 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.
>
As far as the ease of searchability, I'll agree...in fact, that is the main
advantage of a fully-digitized system, IF the associated database is updated
at
the same time as the archive.

However, what must be done is to preserve the original source material as
well as
the digital versions...for two reasons:

1) Most analog source material (possibly excepting magnetic tape) was
created by,
and can be played back by, a simple mechanical process that is pretty well
obvious to anyone observing the medium. Thus, data in a <sound program>
v3.04b
may at some point in the future be inaccessible due to lack of availability
of
the program used to extract the data in useful form...data on an analog
recording
will probably either be accessible or such that anyone examining the
recording
could construct a working playback device.

2) Most analog sources (disc/cylinder) appear so far to have as close as any
man-made objects can get to eternal lifespan (assuming they do not meet with
abuse or inadvertant misfortune). On the other hand, there is a good chance
that CD's, and particularly CD-R's, do have a finite lifespan.

As well, there is often other information available from careful observation
of a sound recording as an artifact (something I have learned as a
discographer!)
Steven C. Barr