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Although the majority of materials I deal with in my archive are analogue or
standard 44.1/16 digital, I'm beginning to see some compressed audio come
through the doors.  My archive recently receive 300 data CDs, each
containing 2-4 hours worth of MP3 files of a radio talk show.  I have some
basic questions, and all answers are welcome.

In treating them as an archival resource (facilitating preservation and
access), do I:

1) Consider them in somewhat the same way that I'd treat electronic records,
i.e. that they are digitally born (since no other copy exists) "documents"
that require a combination of software and hardware to play back and will
periodically need refreshing or even migration to other formats to continue
to represent their content? (This is really the devil's advocate question,
realizing especially that migration would probably force a recompression).

2) Treat them as I would an analogue sound resource, and render them, silly
as it may sound, to 96/24 for preservation purposes, and render from this
file to the various derivatives.

3) Transfer them to gold CD and just keep an eye on what's happening with
mp3, while monitoring their playability occasionally?

This may be a kind of storm in a teacup quandary, but I'd be interested in
your thoughts, and if you're dealing archivally with these kinds resources
at present.  I'd also be interested to hear if anyone has plans for
archiving streamed content, and I realize all these questions assumes there
is no better copy to be had.


Craig Breaden
Media Assets Archivist
Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Main Library
The University of Georgia
Athens, GA  30602-1641
706-542-5782 (phone)
706-542-4144 (fax)

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