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Re: [AV Media Matters] Let's just get rid of tape and opticalmediaentirely

I think it has been clear for the past five or so years that migration of
analog recordings to a digital format is inevitable.

There is much more to be copied than there will be money for.  The
underlying issue is money.

Money, on the scale required, comes from foundations and private donors, the
latter often following the lead of the former.

The NEH still frowns upon the transfer of sound from analog to digital
formats, though that frown is somewhat less severe than formally.  NEH and
the other granting agencies are not scientific testing organizations.  They
take their lead from the standards and practices adopted by the
organizations of professionals within each field.

The Audio Engineering Society still has not changed its official stance
concerning audio transfer.  It's recomended practice remains analog to
analog, unless this has been altered recently.

This would probably change if dispassionate test results supporting this
change came from a reliable source.

Of the two recently published studiies, that from Denmark seems to ignore
the series of hardened surface CDs.  That from France is unclear on this
matter and seems to suffer from French to English translation problems in
its most widely disseminated form.  Both appeared in the UNESCO Joint
Technical Committee proceedings for the 2000 sessions.  You'll have to find
the citation elsewhere.  My copies are xeroxes

The Library of Congress has been foolling around with this issue for over
fifteen years now.  Nothing has been forthcoming from that source, though
they have announced at least one study and have begun and, I think, aborted
others as well.  I don't know what the problem is there, but it seems
reasonable to assume this is a source to which we should all look, so far to
no avail.

Absent that, the Kodak tests which Joe Wrobel has published- and left out
there for a few years now to be disputed by other tests- gives the clearest
and widest ranging results arrived at by careful testing.  Yes, this is
published by a manufacturer and is therefore suspect on those grounds, but
no one from any other quarter has stepped forward to repudiate it.

That is not to say it is accurate, only that the same tests have not been
run by others to confirm or challenge Kodak's results.

So the standard remains unchanged, the granting agencies won't alter their
positions without support from the engineering community, the money
generated by those following the lead of the foundations shies from digital
preservation for audio, projects are delayed until this is resolved, and we
are in the fix we now find ourselves.

Each year, the eye of the needle narrows.  Fewer analog recordings will make
it through.

If the Library of Congress had followed through with its testing program,
this issue would have been resolved years ago.  Where is this program now?

Steven Smolian

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