Fwd: Re: ELL: Tr : arsclist how to archive your language and other matters

Brian Levy xernaut at YAHOO.COM
Fri Oct 20 07:53:11 UTC 2000

>A couple of comments on the various media.
>Firstly, I'm surprised that anyone is recommending reel-to-reel. There is 
>a big problem with older archival materials in this format that the tape 
>becomes brittle over time; it's probably less of a problem with tapes made 
>now than it is with reels over 50 years old but it's still a major 
>drawback and a reason why many institutions (such as the National Film and 
>Sound Archive in Australia) are converting reels to other media
>Anything magnetic (like conventional audio tapes) will get demagnetised 
>over time and is not a good 'permanent' medium.
>Re digital deterioration: The most common cause of CD deterioration is the 
>CD getting scratches. Computer hard drives  build up errors because of the 
>constant read-write that's going on during processing. This doesn't happen 
>when a CD-ROM is played because it's read-only; the only equivalent of the 
>'write' that happens to a hard drive is if the grooves get dirty or 
>scratched. There's also physical deterioration of the metal, but I think 
>after the scare of corroding CDs in Germany in the early 90s the 
>manufacturers have fixed that problem, at least for the time being.
>Another point to consider is retrieving items off the tape/cd/reel. It's 
>easy to tag the beginning of a segment on a CD (it's just a new track) and 
>so it's very easy to retrieve individual stories, whereas for tapes and 
>reels it's necessary to cue the tape and have a detailed audition sheet 
>and so on.
>I'd go with DAT and minidiscs, with a paper copy (acid-free paper) of 
>transcriptions as another backup. It's easy to transfer these between 
>other media (eg DAT to magnetic audio cassette).
>If all else fails, there's charcoal ink and papyrus buried in sand in a 
>warm and dry climate, but it makes information retrieval a bit hard...
>Best wishes for your project!
>Claire Bowern
>>Christian PERROTEAU wrote:
>>>De : Brian Levy <xernaut at yahoo.com>
>>>À : ARSCLIST at galileo.cc.rochester.edu
>>>Objet : arsclist how to archive your language and other matters
>>>Date : Lun 16 oct 2000 1:45
>>>>Hello all,
>>>>I would like to introduce myself.  My name is Brian Levy, and I work 
>>>>with the Caddo Indian Tribe of Oklahoma as a Cultural Preservation 
>>>>Activist (for wont of a better title to describe my job).  Basically I 
>>>>am helping the tribe create a permanent archive of songs, dances, oral 
>>>>history in English, and, quite importantly, since the tribe is down to 
>>>>only about twenty fluent speakers of the language now, we are recording 
>>>>to DAT all manner of Caddo language, including stories, monologues, 
>>>>prayers, conversation, etc.  We are creating a master archive of Caddo 
>>>>audio materials, recording older analog recordings on reel to reel and 
>>>>analog cassette, to CD directly, and copying all DAT tapes made since 
>>>>we began using DAT two years ago, also to CD.  We make on blue dye copy 
>>>>on Mitsui media (home audio type, not CDR computer type, using a Harmon 
>>>>Kardon CDR2 machine, we also make one gold dye Kodak CD home audio copy 
>>>>for a second copy of our archive housed at a archive in Oklahoma.  A 
>>>>third copy is also made on the same Mitsui blue dye (silver) CD's.  We 
>>>>may soon switch to just using computer CDR's instead of the home audio 
>>>>type, since Tascam makes a machine for under 100 dollars which is high 
>>>>quality and recommended.  I consult with others doing similar work to 
>>>>this, and I am on this and other lists.  I am trying to determine the 
>>>>archivability of this strategy.  We have 110 CD's so far, and no stop 
>>>>in sight, as we have tons of analog recordings to migrate, and are 
>>>>constantly making new DAT recording.
>>>>We have a huge quantity of old Beta, VHS, Hi8, Super8, and now we use 
>>>>Sony TCR-320 Digital 8 cams for all videoing of elders and dances. We 
>>>>are waiting to know what is best for permanent archivability for 
>>>>these.  I am guessing DVD-Rom burners, as opposed to DVD-Ram or 
>>>>such.  But listening to some of your pros on these list servers, I am 
>>>>wondering.  We do not have the budget to buy equipment costing 50k now, 
>>>>we are very limited on budget, though we might could get a grant to use 
>>>>better equipment.
>>>>I am just wondering what any of your folks also concerned with 
>>>>permanent archivability of precious materials, both audio and video, 
>>>>would have to say on our situation.  I would appreciate some advice.
>>>>Some have suggested computer hard drive storage.  Some have said (such 
>>>>as the Getty Museum in LA, and the Library of Congress, that no current 
>>>>digital medium is considered archival.  Only old reel to reel tapes 
>>>>quarter inch, are considered time safe.  Since who knows, they argue, 
>>>>if any CD players will even be available in 500 years, whereas due to 
>>>>the wide use of reel to reel all during twentieth century by broadcast 
>>>>media etc, it will still be playable.  Plus when audio tapes 
>>>>deteriorate on analog reel to reel they gradually degrade in quality at 
>>>>playback, whereas, once digital degrades too far, the machines can no 
>>>>longer decipher the one's and zero's and play the CD back at all.
>>>>I know this is a long posting, but I wanted to introduce myself and the 
>>>>work we are doing at the Caddo tribe, and hopefully get some guidance 
>>>>from some more technically savvy folk...
>>>>       Brian Levy
>>>>Brian Levy
>>>>Cultural Activist
>>>>Kiwat Hasinay Foundation:
>>>>Preserving Caddo Heritage
>>>>211 W. Colorado Ave.
>>>>Anadarko, OK  73005  USA
>>>>(1) 405-247-5840
>Department of Linguistics
>Harvard University
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Brian Levy
Cultural Activist
Kiwat Hasinay Foundation:
Preserving Caddo Heritage
211 W. Colorado Ave.
Anadarko, OK  73005  USA
(1) 405-247-5840
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