Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Establishing Selection Criteria of Analog and Digital Audio Contents for Transfer

International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives, Task Force on Selection for Digital Transfer. Task Force to Establish Selection Criteria of Analogue and Digital Audio Contents for Transfer to Data Formats for Preservation Purposes. October 2003. Aarhus, Denmark: International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives, 2004.

In this document by the international association, otherwise known as IASA, seeks to address the issues of selection in the digitization of sound materials in libraries and archives around the world. It gives some selection criteria by which archives may prioritize their activities. The first priority should be the preservation of original materials, over that of materials with multiple copies. Physical carriers that are degrading, or are likely to degrade soon (such as lacquer discs) should receive next priority. The ranking IASA gives is: cylinders, coarse grooved discs (78 rpm records), microgroove discs (vinyl LPs), magnetic tape and then optical media. Within these, it should be noted that acetate tape and polyester tape suffering from binder hydrolysis probably should be treated before LPs that in the right storage conditions are of less immediate danger.

Another issue is the availability of playback equipment to play and transfer sound material on obsolete carriers. There is only so much time that is left before tape manufacturers stop manufacturing open-reel analog audio tape. This document also gives criteria that are specific to certain types of institutions that might have sound materials: broadcast archives, national sound archives, and research archives—each of which have their own priorities and challenges.


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