Kathleen and others,

We've got quite a pile of MDs around here--and it's a pile that keeps 
growing for a variety of reasons as well.

I'm in agreement with what has been said prior--digitally transfer the 
files off the discs, save the files, store the discs.

Here's how we manage:

Using a Sony MDS-E10 (an E11 or E12 would be great too, we just couldn't 
afford them at the time) we transfer them digitally to a PC via the 
unit's TOSlink optical out.  The MDS-E10/11/12 is one of the only 
component units out there that will let you do a digital transfer of MD. 
  The hassle is that it's a real time transfer, coupled to the fact that 
I don't think Sony makes the unit anymore.  As I believe was mentioned 
recently on the list, the discontinued HHB field unit also allows 
digital out via USB and I believe the discontinued Marantz field MD unit 
allows for the same as well.

We store the files in our semi-"managed" way--i.e. using a variation on 
the timeless JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disk) approach (in our case two 
external Maxtor drives and an internal drive on a PC) and CD-R. Our CD-R 
approach involves burning data disks on two different gold disks (Mitsui 
and Taiyo Yuden) as well as our "use" copy on a silver Mitsui disk.

I realize that this is far from optimal, but it is the best we are able 
to do under our current circumstances.

On another note, thanks to the wonders that are the transcription 
software Express Scribe (free) and 
StartStop ($200), we no longer have to 
make cassette copies for transcription.  By all accounts Express Scribe 
is great. Its a free download and compatible footpedals are available 
for around $80.  Much less than a good quality cassette transcriber!

I save the MD discs too.  I keep them upright in a standard archival box 
in which they sort of fit.  I just scanned the catalogs for the major 
suppliers--Gaylord, Metal Edge, University, Light Impressions--until I 
found a box with a lid that got as close to fitting the bill as possible.

Andy Kolovos
Vermont Folklife Center
P.O. Box 442
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 388-4964
akolovos @