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[AV Media Matters] Difference of opinion

The question of which media is archivally approved came up on the 78-L
and I thought it was important to get a report from Jim Lindner who was
at the JTS and the comments from those on this list.

>Michael May <mmay519@yahoo.com>  wrote:
>> Why my interest in open reel?  Aside from actual 78s,
>> it (open reel) seems to be the only true archival
>> format. The current digital formats have problems
>> (minidisc with its data reduction, DAT tapes
>> apparently are not archival (is this true?  I've had
>> too many people tell me this!), and CDR is too
>> difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to use),
>> which is why I'm considering analog tape.

alan.bunting@cara.almac.co.uk wrote:
>Oh dear!  What a lot of misinformation someone has been
>The only true statement is that DAT is not a suitable archive
>medium.  Apart from other considerations, any system that uses
>micron thin tape which is dragged out of its case into a whirring
>mass of belts, pulleys and drums and is then dragged back into
>the case after playing has to be suspect! <snip>

>If we are more concerned with archiving audio I should point out
>that CD-R is currently the only medium to have the 100% approval
>of The British Sound Archive.  <snip>  Alan Bunting

I wasn't going to post this info until I spoke to someone else
who was there.  But since the topic has come up, here goes.
Last week I got a big shock when the quarterly Information
Bulletin (#33, May 2000) of the International Association of
Sound and Audiuovisual Archives (IASA) arrived.  In it my friend
Alan Ward, Manager of the Archive Services of the British
Library National Sound Archive reported on the Joint Technical
Symposium (JTS) that was held in Paris in January.  I really
should have gone.  Unless his notes are wrong, his report seems
to say the exact opposite of what everybody believes and knows
to be true.

Citing papers 1.5 to 1.9 he reports "In tests, R-DAT stands up
rather better than CD-R in the long term.  For this reason among
others, many European broadcast archives use it in preference
to CD-R.

"The main drawback of R-DAT is seen not so much as its fragility
and reliance on an unstable metal-particle emulsion (the usual
UK worries), but on its exclusively professioanal status.  There
is no consumer market and hence no product development.
Manufacturers may soon abandon it. This does not of course apply
to CD-R.

"Clearly CD-R is a delicate medium and even the best of them can
be badly affected by poor storage conditions.  Monitoring
condition and recording integrity is essential, and appears to
be widely practised in many countries already.

"Of the CD-R makes and types tested by several people, a
consensus generally rated Kodak as the best."

I am absolutely dumbfounded.  Alan mentions that Jim Lindner was
there, and I think that I will cross-post this to the AV Media
Matters list that he moderates to see whether Alan's report
matches his recollection and see what the other esteemed members
of that list also have to say.  For the 78-ellers not on the
other list, I'll give a synopsis later on.

Mike Biel  m.biel@morehead-st.edu

Moderators Comment:
I was indeed there, and there were many others as well! I unfortunately do
not have time at the moment to comment much, other then to say that the
results on research on CD-R's were not that big a surprise (at least to
me)... there have been many issues with CD-R media and longevity from day 1,
and of course there are major questions about bit depth and sampling rate as
well with CD-R. I am no fan of DAT either. I think that the big news really
was that some research is finally being done in the field, real research
that appears to be more useful then the marketing department literature from
the vendors. Ultimately real research will help the field AND the marketers
by providing support for more  internal research by the vendors as well as
for better product. IMHO the field has to be willing to pay more for better
product - vendors now compete in a commodity marketplace and it is going to
be hard to get them to listen to our desire for better products unless we
are willing to buy them at a premium. JTS was a good conference - I strongly
recommend getting the proceedings which I believe are coming out on CD and


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