But it's so much fun to negotiate the extremes!

Certainly, the everyday concerns are what we have to satisfy. Our jobs
depend on that. Someone wants to access something stored away; it had
better be there.

Still, in our hearts (hopefully), the reason we conserve is tied to the
material we conserve. I like music. I like the people who create this
stuff. I conserve because I believe they have created that which we
identify as the soul of our culture(s), and preservation of their work
is essentially preventive maintenance on our very identity.

In those drifty spare moments, we ponder an inevitability: dealing with
the aftermath of nuclear holocaust. If we manage to avoid death
outright, what of will our culture survive with us? Will our children
remember Louis Armstrong, Debussy or Sublime? Henry Mancini, Buck Owens
or Little Willie John? They'll remember and pass on whatever survives
with us.

It amuses me to think of a distant day when the sum total of surviving
music culture consists of the meager inventory of the CD rack in the PX
deep inside NORAD's Cheyenne Mountain fortress.

It may not be the job most of us are paid for, but isn't it something we
should ponder?

I wonder if anyone here IS paid to consider this particular challenge?

Steven Austin

-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of [log in to unmask]
Sent: Friday, February 25, 2005 8:10 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Audio storage on external hard drives

I find "endgame" scenarios of limited utility in trying to seriously
discuss archival issues. Clearly it is possible to envision any number
of disaster scenarios that will destroy any and all media types, and as
has been mentioned - if one of these endgame scenarios is to be played
out - are we really going to be concerned about playing back shellac
disks or biological data storage - or any other kind? It hearkens back
to Dr. Strangelove - I believe the quote is something like "Mr.
President - we can not have a mine shaft gap!" as the world is exploding
in a nuclear holocaust.

As a practical matter - trying to protect a collection is a process that
assesses risks and the costs of taking them. Is it possible to protect a
collection from an EMF pulse? Perhaps depending on many variables - but
is anyone seriously considering going to those extremes for mere
archival records - sound, video or film? I have been working for some
time as a consultant on a large archival project for several years and
the subject has never even been brought up - and there were many
opportunities. Over the years i have worked or been aware of many such
projects - and this is really a non-topic. It is an endgame scenario -
perhaps geographically disparate copies might work - but is this REALLY
an issue??

I spoke to a computer security consultant the other day - and he said
that the only really safe computer (safe from virus or tampering or
other issues) is one turned off with no connections surrounded by
concrete (very thick concrete) and buried in a VERY deep hole. Since
that is not reality - then everything else is a compromise and needs to
be evaluated for its risk / reward. It may be a position that is a
little extreme - but I think the thought process is a correct one.
Rather then try for ultimate solutions - i think it is far more
productive to consider the ones that can be implemented and know the
risks that you are willing to take due to cost and other factors.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Steven C. Barr [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2005 04:17 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Audio storage on external hard drives
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "steven austin" <[log in to unmask]>
> > I think I see the discussion swinging back to shellac discs. And I
> > believe biological data storage devices (the minstrels and
> > deserve a reappraisal.
> Well...shellac discs can survive nuclear attacks as long as they are
> 5km from ground zero, and their containing buildings don't fall on
> However, the "biological storage devices" are unlikely to survive on a
> long-term basis (which raises the question of who is likely to use
> this archive?...)
> Besides, they can only preserve the basic framework of songs, not the
> details od individual performances! We can't very well say, "I know
> that Bix played cornet on Banner 12345, because I heard the recreation
> done by Joe Gabroni's Jazz Troubadors, and..."
> ...stevenc