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Re: [ARSCLIST] Digital Audio Preservation Question

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Richard L. Hess" <arclists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> At 09:01 AM 2008-04-08, Don Cox wrote:
> >On 07/04/08, Tom Fine wrote:
> > > Hi Brandon:
> > > Can you cite a reasonable scenario where there will be an ability to
> > > read bits and bytes in the future but the whole idea of CODECs was
> > > forgotten?
> >The idea may not be forgotten, but specific codecs and file format
> >decoders can be almost impossible to obtain.
> >There are already many image formats that are as good as lost.
> That's fascinating, Don! I didn't know that. I thought PhotoShop 
> could still read PhotoCD files -- which are about as dead as I can 
> think of in the image area. As long as I've been looking at images 
> (since circa 1990), GIF JPEG TIFF and now PNG have made up the vast 
> majority of what I've seen.
> Almost all camera RAW image formats are currently readable, but not 
> all are open hence the www.openraw.org initiative.
> What formats were you thinking of that are unreadable today?
The problem is effectively as follows...!

We can safely assume that digital entities (that is, series of ones
and zeroes...!) will be readable AS SUCH for the forseeable future
(unless some even smaller data-storage format is created...such as
quantum-related storage...?!).

However, many specific data formats exist which necessitate the
use of an algorithm to convert the stored ones and zeroes into
useful information (as I understand it, for example, the digital
data on a CD is NOT the actual sound digitally defined...but
the sound processed by an algorithm with the results stored...!

Fine...but IF that algorithm is ever lost...or, for that matter,
IF devices employing that algorithm are no longer commercially
available except as "used equipment"...the stored digital data
no longer has any effective usefulness...!

Digital text files, using ASCII standards, will contain useful
data essentially forever. My Windows Notepad files will ALWAYS
be readable...! The same is NOT true of sound or image files!

Comment ca va?!

Steven C. Barr

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