OT: Archiving data/video/movies/photos/oral history

From: William Donzelli <aw288_at_osfn.org>
Date: Fri Jun 2 20:28:05 2000

> Some archivists suggest that it may not be possible to read CD-ROMs
> 30 years from now, because they may have been replaced by something
> else by then, just as the 7-track tape that was common 30 years ago
> is all but impossible to read now. Right now, most or all DVD-ROM
> drives can read CD-ROMs, but will that necessarily be the case for the
> next generation of optical drives?
I think the CD-Audio (and thus CD-ROM, pretty much) standard will never
go away completely, simply because it is so entrenched. Ten years from
now, when technology leaves the 600 some odd megabyte CD in the dust,
there will be a small, but almost religious, group keeping them alive.
These people will be the audio types that will want to be able to hear
many of the pieces of music being recorded today. Remember, many of
artists that will be viewed as gods in ten years are nobodies today, but
recording on CDs. There will be plenty of people that will want to get
early recordings, and will keep the technology alive.

There is evidence of this already. There are lots of people today that are
keeping "record players" alive simply because many of the things they want
to hear are only available on vinyl. The same is true with Edison
cylinders, 78s, 16' transcription disks , 2 inch Quad video, slow 16 mm
film, and scores of other dead media. Yes, CD-ROMS are far more complex
than these, but they are well documented, and there will be spares for a
very long time. And, as Eric states, it would be very possible for someone
with enough resources (academic, for example) to produce a reader. I would
venture to say that a well educated skilled tinker could make one. Older
precision tools are getting quite easy to obtain these days, and it was
those very tools that made the first players.

As for 7 track tapes, well, speak up, Tim.

William Donzelli
Received on Fri Jun 02 2000 - 20:28:05 BST

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