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At 05:26 PM 2009-01-07, Marcos Sueiro Bal wrote:
>Happy New Year, everyone.

Happy New Year to you, too Marcos!


>Dave, your points are well taken. We are obviously on the same side of
>this issue (and many others). I was more worried about non-experts
>(including administrators) thinking that digital (even with
>high-quality drives) is cheaper than analogue.

Digital has the advantage of no more hits in quality to create 
multiple identical clones with no loss in quality after the original 
"hit" of the analogue to digital conversion. That, as they say in the 
ads for the credit card, is priceless, in my opinion. The downstream 
migrations and clone distribution under a LOCKSS-type philosophy can 
be verified to be bit-accurate. It is exciting.

>The analogue preservation world has plenty of horror stories

But, the good news is often severely degraded analog tapes can be 
recovered and nothing beats lack-of-density for robustness.

>and the
>one recounted by Richard surely will not be the last of the horror
>stories from the digital world, even with supposedly "perfect"
>systems.

Well, the horror story got worse. DriveSavers couldn't because 
apparently the drive had been disassembled earlier in the chain than 
having it delivered to CBL and the platters had fingermarks on them 
(which destroys the magnetic coating) and the heads had been put in backwards.

>There is no question that luck also plays a part.

In this case, also stupidity. NEVER EVER EVER open a hard drive 
unless you want to destroy whatever chance is left for retrieving the data.

Let's see...one copy, one failed and obviously unverified backup, 
technician who opens up the drive in his basement workshop before 
sending it off for restoration. Just stupid is all I can say. Oh, and 
my reward for this is taking on IT systems 
design/consulting/monitoring for the charity.

Cheers,

Richard


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