Why would I, as an archivist, waste my time on undocumented material as
opposed to documented?  If there is documentation with the item that is
relevant to our archive, then yes, I will.  But a random tape with nothing
written on the box, no notes or anything becomes a lower priority.  Some of
our accessioned tape may say one word on it.....I look it up and go to many
lengths to find anything to link it, and if it does I move on. afterall, I
am one person dealing with hundreds and thousands of hours of accessions
with very little documentation.

Unfortunately we do not have funding for mass analogue tape presently.  If I
had my way we would do it all regardless, but I have constraints with
management who seem to think content is more important than fragile media.


On Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 8:08 PM, George Brock-Nannestad <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
> Hello,
> Marie, you wrote a good situation report on acetate tape. But you also made
> this statement of a philosophical nature, and it goes right to the centre
> of
> the idea of archiving.
> > Thoughts - we are only human and as we get older can we possibly listen
> to
> > all that is offered?
> >
> ----- actually it is not us who are going to listen to the various
> transfers.
> That will be endless generations of seekers of information and enjoyment.
> They will want breadth in the collection, the ability of the collection to
> provide a relevant sound, irrespective of the context the end user is
> seeking
> it in. Honestly, I think that they will thank breadth more than quality.
> Although we are proud of our almost forensic skills in extracting the
> maximum
> of signal, and preserving it in a quality decided by the deficiencies
> rather
> than primary content of the recording, I think that far too much time is
> being spent on transfers. A factor 30 (30 minutes of work for one minute of
> recording) is not unknown in archive circles, and it is madness, if a
> useful
> transfer can be done at a factor 10. Three times as much can be preserved!
> I
> fully realize that in order to be able to prepare a continuous tape for
> transfer a lot of cleaning and replacing of splices has to take place. But
> why would you want to re-splice two pieces of tape if they are a minute
> long
> each? Why not keep track of the bits and transfer the smaller pieces, to be
> joined at any later stage and to any desired quality in the digital domain?
> Ah, then you need leader tape at both ends. Yes, but these particular
> splices
> will only have to withstand one play! I think that economy of time may be
> made. But azimuth still has to be corrected at the time of transfer.
> The linear listening means that finding a poorly indexed recording will
> require very much time when searching for relevant material. I doubt that
> future seekers will have the patience. The time spent on transfer could
> probably be better spent at indexing. Listening 1:1 and writing down
> keywords
> and other identifiers against a timecode is still only a factor 1! But
> probably that is not good use of technically trained transfer specialists,
> but there should be lots of summer jobs for budding oral historians.
> I really think that we let the ideal stand in the way of the doable. I was
> almost lynched when I stated something like this at the IASA Conference in
> Vienna 1999, but I think that we need to rethink the idea of archiving for
> the future. We will get no support from politicians who want society to
> have
> a short memory, and an edited one at that. Try asking historians instead. I
> am quite convinced that they would rather have authenticated copies in less
> than mint-appearing quality than no copies at all, due to deselection
> because
> of capacity problems.
> Just my 2 cents worth (but at a factor 30 it is 60 cents!).
> Kind regards,
> George