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Re: [AV Media Matters] Long-term presentation: digital

In a message dated 9/28/00 3:10:13 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
guenter@uclink4.berkeley.edu writes:

>Stone slabs seem to
>rate fairly poorly from that perspective. Compare the possibilities
>of access to a stone slab with the possibilities of access to a
>networked digital resource, and I think you'll be very hard pressed
>to make the stone slab argument again. Over the course of the long
>lifespan of the stone slab, how many select few people will be able
>to see it as compared to the potentially unlimited number of people
>who'll have access to the digital resource in its admittedly shorter

I am a collector and preserver of 78-RPM records.  These ARE essentially
stone slabs!  They are clay bound together with shellac, similar to the
material that preserves dinosaur DNA.  The earliest records are very well
preserved, in normal ambient conditions, for 100 years unless physically
damaged. They contain samples of the culture of the end or the nineteenth
century, so the above concept is not totally off-the-wall.

Another medium with very long life is magnetic recording.  The
changes in the earth's magnetic field are recorded in the ocean bed
on a time scale of millions of years.  I have seen no degradation of
wire recordings made 50 years ago.  There are 100 year old
Telegraphone recordings that are still playable.  The proper
stainless steel in reasonable storage conditions should last
thousands of years. Bit density may be lower than that of the finest
particle coatings, but in the 1940s wire allowed six hours of
continuous recording time on a reasonably sized spool.

If someone is really interested in archives that will preserve
current data on the scale of the clay tablets, perhaps applications
of these materials could be looked into.  I just don't have much
faith in organic chemistry's ability to create really stable

There is a precident for this.  From:


"The Voyager message is carried by a phonograph record-a 12-inch
gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to
portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. The contents of
the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl
Sagan of Cornell University. Dr. Sagan and his associates assembled
115 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by
surf, wind and thunder, birds, whales, and other animals."

Mike Csontos

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