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Re: [ARSCLIST] Hard disk drives and DAT

on 3/26/07 4:48 PM US/Central, Tom Fine at tflists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

> I hope Richard and/or Parker and/or Spec Bros. jump in here.

When the work is funded by a preservation grant, it's most appropriate to
adopt the institution's methodology which made the preservation grant. I
have lost business by refusing to adopt compromised standards, but it's not
worth it. Liability is a big issue in this type of work. Some grantees
aren't even aware that some published standards do exist.

When the work is not funded by a grant, or is funded by a source which has
no published methodology, then I will try to make the most recent,
applicable, published standard apply to the situation.

In all events, single hard drives, whether bare or standalone, are not
permitted for preservation purposes - not on any standard I've come across.
Nor are audio CDs permitted for preservation purposes.

In 1993 the [US] National Archives and Records Administration published its
Sound Recordings Procedures Manual. About that time on CompuServe there was
a professional audio forum with leading audio engineers from around the
world. One of the more heated discussions concerned archival re-recording,
and what practices were most appropriate - in each engineer's opinion. It
became almost a Mac vs. PC type of discussion.

Then a strange thing happened. As some of the engineers actually began
getting archival re-recording work, they discovered that some clients
already knew exactly how they wanted the transfer work to be done. Those
institutions had hired expert consultants who had researched published
standards, or they had attended professional conferences where this
information was readily available. The clients knew more than the engineers.

Fast forward to 2007. The National Archives manual is hopelessly out of
date, and some of the professional organizations which would logically
provide standards are not very forthcoming in this regard. But the
information is available from some funding sources, and sometimes the
standards are described flexibly, within a range.

This is too long already, but I'll end with this: LTO-3 storage is not
expensive, since just under 400GB can be transferred in about 4 hours to
media which costs about 75USD. Not everyone charges for the transfer time.

Likewise, a 2TB Raid 5 array can be purchased for less than 2,500USD. That's
something like 26 weeks of high resolution audio at 40 hours a week (24/96

To conclude, look for standards published by institutions making
preservation grants, and re-check current prices for media storage specified
by those standards.

Parker Dinkins
MasterDigital Corporation
Audio Restoration + CD Mastering

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