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[AV Media Matters] Let's just get rid of tape and optical media entirely

Jim Lindner's mail was excellent.
I have no doubt that the concepts presented represent the future. It has in
built security and defined migration and update paths. Argumentative issues
like compression and supports do indeed become relatively unimportant in the
whole system.
Just how far away are we from practical systems like these? In house it is
practical now, although perhaps not economic. Hiring in a share of storage
capacity brings economy scale, and easier technical management. For
extra-muros storage the fast telecom circuits via satellite, fibre or other
networks have to be counted in: permanent circuits are going down in price
fast, but occasional highband circuits remain expensive. Therefore proper
attention needs to be given to different levels of access: a lower quality
'viewing' copy via the web - in real time streaming or faster/slower file
transfer is often adequate - it depends on the use and the business.
Regarding data formats, it is entirely practical given the well advanced
standardisation processes for AV files, to guarantee to have the software
decoders available over tens of years or to plan in migration paths to other
formats as required. Lossless if you insist.

Whatever happens, these systems are still storing the data as data on
magnetic and optical media, with all the attendant problems. The insight Jim
Lindner gave is that someone else has been there before and come out with
the answers. A single reliable physical support just does not and never can
exist. So you approach the problem as a systems problem - given the
limitations how do you make it work. Hence disaster planning and all the
rest. In the future the data is going to be moving from HD to datatape to
DVDRW to RAM to what?... but you don't have to care or know anymore.

The future for archivists is to think holistically: too often the long
discussions have centered on specific elements (data formats - compression -
the grail of archive formats) and the long term strategy has been missed.
Not seeing the forest for the trees.

Tony Gardner
These vies are my own, not necessarily my employers.

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