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

From: Clint Wolff <vaxman_at_uswest.net>
Date: Sat Jun 3 20:09:19 2000

I agree with most of what you are saying with one key point:

How many KIDS today are collecting LPs? And how many of their
children will collect them? I believe the number of people
interested in old stuff (78 RPMs, LPs, CDs, etc...) will
decrease exponentially to one, and when he dies, thats IT!

CDs are already on the way out. They have been replaced by MP3
players which store the same number of minutes of music on a
much smaller flash memory chip. DataPlay.com has announced a
US Quarter (.75 inch?) diameter rewritable disc player and media
(hope they fail, they didn't offer me a job!).

In 100 years, CDs and players will be antiques, like Edison's
aluminum foil recording system. They will be on display in museums,
but probably not in working condition. CDs have a limited lifetime,
(10 years IIRC), before they degrade to the point of being unreadable.
CDs that are being used degrade much faster due to scratches. The
information stored on the discs won't be interesting enough in ten
years to copy to alternate media except for a 'small, almost religious,
group'. When they die off, the information is trapped in a unusable
format until your grad students build a reader.


On Fri, 2 Jun 2000, William Donzelli wrote:

> > 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 30 years from now, because they may have been replaced by something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
> aw288_at_osfn.org
Received on Sat Jun 03 2000 - 20:09:19 BST

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