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[AV Media Matters] The FILE is the thing ! Was - Digitizing Audio and Video

I wanted to make a brief comment on this thread. I believe that it is 
extremely important to seperate issues of physical media types and the 
embodyment of the content. They can in fact be two different things. In 
the past in AV they have been inextricably tied - i.e. the content on 
the VHS cassette. But - the world has changed and there is no longer 
necessarily a direct relationship between the physical asset and what is 
recorded on it. This is a paradigm shift for many AV Archivists - but 
the reality is that this change had started MANY years ago - in my 
former career in Computer Animation we created many AV works as files - 
and in most cases they were finally recorded on videotape - but they 
first existed as files. 

So, when one discussed storing AV Content on Hard Drives - I do not 
believe that anyone is suggesting storing them on one specific hard 
drive through the end of time. This is exactly what one does NOT want to 
do. The idea here is to save the content as data - and migrate that data 
in a lossless fashion over time on MANY different devices. So the idea 
is not to record the data on a single ATA drive and leave it there 
forever with the hope of playback - rather the idea is to actively 
manage the content - and this is also a very significant paradigm shift 
of thinking. In the past we "managed" AV content by putting in on a 
shelf where hopefully we could find it again. This is at best passive 
management. Active management implies checking the content through a 
quality control process on a frequent basis, backing up the content not 
only on one device or media type but on many - and having a management 
process to manage the data.

While this may be new in the AV area - it is not new and has been 
practices for many years in the Data Processing world. There are many 
books on the subject, there is established techniques and practices, 
there are degrees taught in this subject as well as professional 
accreditation in place. There are many smart people who work daily in 
this field. 

Fight it if you will - but I frankly do not see things going in any 
other direction. Every second of every day more and more AV content is 
born digital and becomes a file very early in the production process. 
Virtually every video production these days is edited using non-linear 
editing systems - as FILES not as tapes. Video and Audio materials ARE 
files now. I believe our job clearly is to preserve these materials and 
provide access. That implies an active management process that uses a 
variety of storage devices and media types and systems, and this in my 
opinion is clearly the direction that we are moving in.

So I strongly recommend not thinking about Hard Drive storage as a 
concept where you are substituting a Hard Drive for a tape. That is not 
the concept. 

Jim Lindner

markp@waveworks.net wrote:
> At 10:33 PM 5/21/03 -0400, you wrote:
> >I see making a backup of hard disk material onto another medium as 
> >absolutely essential!  I would never trust a hard disk array as the
> sole
> >
> >method of storing archival material.  Drives fail all the time (whether
> >from "head crashes" or something else) and require regular monitoring
> to
> >
> >keep the data on the system intact.
> >
> >I can't quite envision hard disks as the primary storage medium for 
> >long-term preservation.  Great for immediate access and manipulation,
> but 
> >much too volatile to be considered "permanant" (much more so than
> >tape).
> >
> >Maybe I misunderstand the suggestion, but I have heard various
> archivists 
> >talking about this idea and it makes me nervous!
> >
> >-- Eric Wenocur
> >Lab Tech Systems
> >
> Yeah,   Things change too quickly in the computer world.  I have a
> computer 
> that is not that old. It uses IDE drives.  It wouldn't understand ATA 
> drives.  5 years from now ATA will be legacy. Cripes, remember 3 1/4" 
> floppies?
> Mark P
> rockvile md us na terra soslys orionarm....... 

James Lindner

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