Let's develop an open-source media archive standard

From: Jules Richardson <julesrichardsonuk_at_yahoo.co.uk>
Date: Wed Aug 11 15:43:59 2004

On Wed, 2004-08-11 at 18:41, Vintage Computer Festival wrote:
> On Wed, 11 Aug 2004, Jules Richardson wrote:
> > With you on the longevity side of things. Hmm, off the wall suggestion,
> > but it's only the storage format for the raw data that's an issue,
> > right? So does it make sense to define both binary and ASCII
> > representation as valid storage formats, and the format in use within a
> > particular archive is recorded as a parameter within the human-readable
> > config section?
> I still don't like it. As Roger M. pointed out, what will the binary data
> look like after it's been paraded through several different platforms?

Well going back to the image example, it's like trying to ftp a TIFF
image to a remote server in ASCII mode. It's going to mess up, but
anyone with any smarts either knows not to transfer in that way because
it's going to mess up, or they inspect the data and realise that it
can't be transferred as ASCII. If people didn't learn by being told
something, common sense, or from their mistakes, then we probably all
wouldn't still be here :-)

Same goes for any line termination issues; archivists would not be daft
enough to transfer data from one medium to the next and then destroy the
original (or if they did destroy the original, they'd be damned sure
that the copy matched the original *exactly* first). Whilst the average
person does make silly mistakes and then typically learns from them, I'd
expect anyone preserving or dealing with historical data to have a few
more smarts about them in the first place!

And if someone *does* want to transfer the data between systems and
there's *really* no way of turning off features that will mangle binary
data - well, that's exactly why we design the spec with lots of
flexibility in mind, and they can always convert the data to a different
format should they wish.

All a question of providing lots of choices whilst keeping within a
strict specification so that people can choose what suits them
personally I suppose, whilst knowing that the data should still be
usable in the future...


Received on Wed Aug 11 2004 - 15:43:59 BST

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