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[AV Media Matters] digital archiving

Stop me. I think I'm warming up to digital.

NPR is considering building a full-fidelity digital storage system for its
new programming and its archived programming. I am trying to educate the
engineers about the principles of archival storage. In my discussions with
them, the definition of "archival" seems to come down to "how much time
before migration." And "archival" has been as short as fifteen years for the
tape stock that we used.

Another issue raised is the amount of time and labor needed to migrate the
sound from one format to the next. Yes, whatever digital format we choose
will probably have a short lifespan when compared to reel-to-reel tape. But
migrating from one digital storage system to another promises to be MUCH
faster and cheaper than migrating thousands of reel-to-reel tapes in real
time, AND with no loss of fidelity. Sound stored digitally can be quickly
backed up, with copies stored in different locations. We are already
producing most of our programming digitally. As long as we buy into the idea
that migration will occur (must occur without fail) in a much shorter time
frame than in our current reel-to-reel world, shouldn't we be seriously
considering digital archiving?
-Rob Robinson

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