While I agree with most of what Peter Copeland says below, I sadly must
disagree with his assumption that "Future restoration processes should
inevitably be better than present-day ones."

I am on a number of technical commissions that are involved in writing
preservation standards dealing with magnetic tape and, having passed my 50th
birthday, I am the youngest active member on these commissions.  To me, the
greatest danger we face in the preservation of much of our recorded material
is the rapid obsolescence of qualified technical personnel.  Just consider
that we may soon be facing a new generation of technicians that have heard
most of their music on iPods.

I do encourage all my clients to retain their originals, but I feel that a
good capture/transfer from legacy (non-automated) formats is much more
likely to be accomplished today with competent and EXPERIENCED personnel
than in the future.  Whatever new technical "toys" are developed, you still
need to get the material off the old, curled, warped, shedding...tape BEFORE
you can feed it into any kind of signal processor.  Where is the new
generation that gives a #%*@ about doing the hard work required coming from?

Peter Brothers

Restoration and Disaster Recovery Service Since 1983

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Copeland, Peter
> Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2006 10:42 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Triage, heroic efforts, and economics
> Dear All,
>     As usual, I am coming to this listserv nearly three weeks late, but
> in my opinion there are three points which have not so far been
> mentioned, and which should be considered during this debate.
> (1) When preservation copying occurs, there may inevitably be losses
> and/or distortions of the original sound (however you define those
> terms)! In my opinion, it is vital to document the technical processes
> used, either by copying a calibration disc (or tape, or cassette, etc.
> etc. etc), or by incorporating a rigorous description of the copying
> process itself and any assumptions about the original medium.
> (2) Future restoration processes should inevitably be better than
> present-day ones. So, keep the originals, so future archivists may have
> another attempt!
> (3) Likewise, do a bibliographic record of the way the *original* was
> documented.
> Peter Copeland
> Former Conservation Manager,
> British Library Sound Archive.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Mike Richter
> Sent: 03 May 2006 15:41
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Triage, heroic efforts, and economics
> Robert Hodge wrote:
> > Hello,
> > My response will be twofold and very easy to document.
> > 1-Preserve what funding can be acquired for first.
> > 2- Then, preserve, using my own time and resources, what I consider to
> be important. I gain much satisfaction out of doing that .
> > At least sound recordings don't require the large financial outlay
> that motion picture films require.
> > Bob Hodge
> It is a pleasure to see reality sneaking into this discussion. <G>
> Preservation depends critically on funding. Those among us looking at
> non-renewing grants feel that in a way that we independent types do not.
> (I've been living on insurance for nearly twenty years now - not very
> well but without "gainful employment".)
> Given limited resources of time, money and environment (space,
> equipment), one must trade off preservation quality and quantity. The
> finished product has a similar tradeoff. Each balance between quality of
> preservation and quantity has its place; in my opinion, there is no
> fault to find with either high-rate, large bit-depth copies or low-rate,
> shallow catalogues. Each has its place.
> Over the last few years, I have produced a couple of dozen CD-ROMs for
> distribution (and a thousand more for my own purposes). Each has of the
> order of forty hours of audio in a volume of what I call an Audio
> Encyclopedia. Each provides an overview of a topic rather in the style
> of the old Book of Knowledge; each stands with respect to the source
> recordings much as the catalogue of an exhibition of paintings does to
> the exhibition itself.
> The most recent disc in the series offers the complete recordings of
> Titta Ruffo in both easy-listening and high-rate versions. The
> convenience of a single, cross-indexed disc more than compensates for
> limited sound quality for the purpose of this compendium. It is the
> purpose that drives the tradeoff which in turn dictates the resources to
> be applied.
> None of which should surprise anyone on this list.
> Mike
> --
> [log in to unmask]
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