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Re: [ARSCLIST] Preservation media WAS: Cataloguing still :-)
From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
Richard Hess wrote:
> At 10:13 AM 9/2/2006, Mike Csontos Mwcpc6@xxxxxxx wrote:
> >To me, the long term archiving by digitization of books is just as
> >questionable as it is for images and audio.
> What would you propose as the alternative?
> I think you'll agree that regular cloning of analog tapes will degrade
> I would like to suggest that the effective life of an analog tape is,
> with luck, on average 50 years, although it seems the _design_ life
> (of at least some brands) might have been less.
> Digital is the best shot we have to capture recordings before they
> deteriorate (further) and then be able to rejuvenate them over time
> to keep them safe.
> I don't see shellac, vinyl, nor analog tape being a viable method of
> maintaining the high quality of original recordings made from c. 1954
> until the present.
----- I would like to put the term "maintaining the high quality" into
I have scans of photographic prints dated ca. 1920, from 5"x7" glass plate
negatives at least. I think the original negs do not exist any longer. A
reasonable scanner will deliver 600-1200 lines per inch - mine are 3600 lines
per inch. I can see the individual grains in the emulsion, and I think that
they are images of the original grains in the negatives. This is sufficient
for all purposes - one would think. However, everybody concerned with
magnifying and printing knows that there is a remarkable difference between
prints obtained from a light source in the form of an illuminated frosted
glass and from a condenser. This is due to the way the individual grains are
illuminated and the fact that they are actually carried in a three-
dimensional matrix, and it influences the contrast and definition of the
Now, future scans may be able to make a three-dimensional mapping of the
grains in an emulsion, and I foresee that future data processing may be able
to provide much better possibilities for making use of this three-dimensional
information, that is, the information content of a future (almost reachable
today) scan is higher than a present day scan.
So, the term "maintaining the high quality" is entirely dependent on the
resolution of the data capture. To the extent that it is possible to extract
more information from the original analog medium than is actually extracted
today, we are actually _not_ "maintaining the high quality" of the original.
The infinite life will at all times be only for the data captured today, with
today's resolution. This is one reason why it may be sensible to fight for
preservation of the originals for as long as possible - deep freeze storage
will slow down all chemical processes of deterioration, but it is costly. And
this is really what it all comes to: cost. The sad thing is that we cannot
use costly procedures for everything, so we have to make a choice. Choice
means selection, and that means that there are things that the future will
never be able to access, neither the original nor the resolution is
available. However, such is life, and we must maintain that even a poor
representation (viewed with Future's eyes) is better than no material at all.
And we must remember that there were times where there was no photography, no
sound recording, and no video recording. Writing, drawing, and painting (more
expensive) was the way to transmit information to future generations, apart
form oral tradition. Mass transmission was by printing.
So, go out, be happy and work for open source file formats, so that they will
be supported in the future.