I could be brought into any conversations you wish. Although a member 
of the ARSC TC, many other commitments have kept me from attending 
ARSC this year. See my inline comments, below.

At 05:26 PM 5/12/2006, Rob Bamberger wrote:

>II.     Sound engineers and technicians: [1] perceived needs for
>standards or "best practices" to facilitate sharing of preserved

We already have standards for audio files that provide a lot of 
benefit. I am seeing an attempt to use 24/96 as a standard for 
everything. While I agree that 24/96 (or I actually prefer 24/88.2) 
should be the norm for musical recordings, I see the uncritical 
application of this standard to voice recordings as a waste of money. 
I do not subscribe to the argument that disks are cheap - their 
management is not. If the difference in archiving the oral history 
archive is between 300 TB and 1 PB, there is a huge cost difference 
there, long-term.

>how such standards/practices should be determined,

Both scientific testing and industry consensus

>and how
>often they should be subject to review

Probably every five years or so. Perhaps more frequently at the cusps 
of technology.

>and by whom;

Industry experts as well as scientists

A note: Standards are useful for the new technology that we are 
moving towards or into. I think the term "recommended practices" 
applies more to how to address the reproduction of older recordings. 
For example, suggesting appropriate stylus widths for grooved media 
reproduction would be very useful, but I suspect the best transfers 
come after analysis, not rote following of a particular standard.

A risk we have is authoring a recommended practice that is blindly 
followed. There are an extreme number of subtleties that must be 
addressed. I'm about to write an article for my Web Blog on tape 
restoration which I think I'll call "Let Sleeping Dogs Lie: Why you 
do NOT want to rewind problematic tapes except immediately prior to 
digitization and transfer."

Metadata interchange is still a challenge as the typical metadata is 
larger than the usually supported space in a B-WAV file. On a recent 
project I delivered TXT files with the metadata in a structured 
format that had the same base file name as the WAV and the MP3 access copies.

I would have preferred to use XML files, and this is an area where 
some standardization would be useful.

>and [2] the
>challenges and practicality, in the face of limited resources, of
>automating preservation activity.

There are stepping stones between manual, one-at-a-time preservation 
reformatting and full-bore robotic preservation reformatting.

Jim Lindner is certainly the person to ask about high-end automated 
preservation reformatting. Eric Jacobs is also studying this area.

I think multiple simultaneous ingests can be managed with audible 
monitoring for technical flaws. Since my studio is set up for 5.1 
surround monitoring, I do up to four simultaneous ingests. I also 
transfer reels in a way that I grab all tracks in one pass, and 
invert those that need inverting. I do NOT do that for high-quality 
music, but it is acceptable for oral histories and other projects.

For automation to work, there still needs to be a triage process.

The more I work in this, the more I think prep work is important.

>  The study will be one of the items on the agenda at the Friday evening
>Archives Update Session (8:00-9:30 P.M.) at the ARSC conference.
>However, I'd welcome your thoughts at anytime (well, almost anytime)
>over the course of the conference.  There have been a number of relevant
>and useful threads on the list, and there are certain to be more. It's
>all grist for the mill.

As I said, I would be pleased to join in this by telephone.

>Additionally, the Library plans to create a formal opportunity or two
>for specialists and members of the general public to weigh in on matters
>included in the study.

Please keep us informed and thanks for doing this work.

Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada       (905) 713 6733     1-877-TAPE-FIX
Detailed contact information:
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.