Preservation of Correspondence - And Media

Warren Wolfe wizard at
Wed Feb 7 12:48:54 CST 2007

On Wed, 2007-02-07 at 09:59 -0500, William Donzelli wrote:

> Sorry, but you are extremely wrong here. There is a huge amount of
> music that is only available on LP, 45, 78, or other even old formats.

    Quite true, unfortunately.

> CDs are falling into the same situation. Whatever the next audio media
> turns out to be, there will be vast amounts of material that will not
> make the jump, and some of this will be significant cultural material.
> People will demand to be able to play this, so the CD format will
> continue to be supported for years to come.

    Maybe...  I'm not sure we can look at it as another jump like that
from LPs to CDs.  The major difference is that the jump to CDs was TWO
jumps at once: a change in medium, and a change to digital storage
versus analogue.  That last is HIGHLY significant.  Previously, there
was no consumer "conversion" possible -- one could not, for example,
load one's wax cylinder onto an LP - essentially nobody owned LP
production equipment.

    But, we are in the digital world, now.  Moving one's music
collection from CD to "the next big thing" will more closely resemble
the currently on-going discussion about making backups than the immense
gulf that exists between LP and CD.  I carry most of my music collection
around on a tiny computer with earplugs and a 40 Gigabyte hard disk.  I
got it there with just a computer with a CD drive, a USB cable, and
software.  I predict all moves after CD will be of this nature.

    We WILL lose much of the music of our past, because it will not make
the jump over the "Digital Divide" in the first place.  I have digitized
a few LPs, and may have the only digital copy of several albums.  But,
once music makes the leap to CD, it is firmly in the digital world.
Mass production CDs have a MUCH longer lifespan than user-recorded ones,
and they should all (maybe not all COPIES, but all ISSUES) make it to
the future just fine, WHATEVER medium we use then.

    Digitizing old analogue recordings SHOULD be as important to music
buffs as archiving programs is to us.  THAT is where the "carnage" will
take place.  Old analogue tape vaults will be the abattoirs, and it is
nearly certain that much music will, sadly, never make it back out of
them.  It would be wonderful if they would at least digitize everything
they have, so that, should they be ABLE to work out the licensing at a
later date, they have something to release.  Failing that, historians of
the future will have access to the music, even if it never is a
commercial entity.  I can't imagine that creating a digital master of
the original tapes would be that expensive, and the storage would be
significantly cheaper.  Leave the re-mixing, and fixing, etc. for some
later time, but MOVE the information onto digital media as quickly as


            Warren E. Wolfe
            wizard at

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