Videotape Preservation Survey

Sara Holmes (sjholmes@att.net)
Mon, 26 Nov 2001 08:31:15 -0800 (PST)

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Those who seek to preserve videotape are familiar with the dilemmas created
by the diversity of multiple formats of a short-lived medium that must be
resolved on a limited budget. Currently, videotape formats are tailored to
the needs and whims of the broadcast market, producing tapes that are
poorly designed for archival purposes.

Therefore, the international archival and library community needs to
demonstrate the size of the archival market to the manufacturers of
videotape and video equipment. Only then will engineers seek to develop
media better suited to preservation reformatting of videotape so that
archives and libraries can fulfill their missions to preserve the records
they house. This is not an attempt to establish the elusive universal
preservation format, but simply an attempt to show manufacturers the need
for a digital tape with better physical qualities, such as a thicker tape
base, so that economically priced digital tapes can reasonably be expected
to last at least 20-30 years with a minimum of susceptibility to chemical
or mechanical deterioration during that time. Current digital formats
popular in the consumer market do not meet these standards.

Please take a few minutes to fill out the following survey, available
online, to estimate the preservation needs and approximate budget for
videotape reformatting for your institution. This survey is for any
institution, public or private, anywhere in the world, containing any
amount of videotape. Even if you have not begun a reformatting program
presently, it is important to represent all institutions that hope to
preserve video collections in the future. The survey can found at
http://home.att.net/~sjholmes/

Please be sure to include copyrighted videotapes held by your institution,
such as instructional collections, that may be copied for preservation
purposes under copyright law.

There is no commitment to purchase any equipment or media to be implied by
participating in the survey, nor will contact names be distributed to
salesmen. All data received will be compiled in order to demonstrate the
market size of institutions archiving tape.

The survey is being conducted by Jim Wheeler (Jimwheeler@aol.com),
currently president of Tape Archival and Restoration Services in Belmont,
California and formerly a tape engineer with Ampex, and by Sara J. Holmes
(sjholmes@worldnet.att.net), a graduate student in conservation at the
Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of
Texas at Austin. Please feel free to address any questions regarding the
survey to either person.

The videotape survey can be found at: http://home.att.net/~sjholmes/
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Those who seek to preserve videotape are familiar with the dilemmas created by the diversity of multiple formats of a short-lived medium that must be resolved on a limited budget. Currently, videotape formats are tailored to the needs and whims of the broadcast market, producing tapes that are poorly designed for archival purposes.

Therefore, the international archival and library community needs to demonstrate the size of the archival market to the manufacturers of videotape and video equipment. Only then will engineers seek to develop media better suited to preservation reformatting of videotape so that archives and libraries can fulfill their missions to preserve the records they house. This is not an attempt to establish the elusive universal preservation format, but simply an attempt to show manufacturers the need for a digital tape with better physical qualities, such as a thicker tape base, so that economically priced digital tapes can reasonably be expected to last at least 20-30 years with a minimum of susceptibility to chemical or mechanical deterioration during that time. Current digital formats popular in the consumer market do not meet these standards.

Please take a few minutes to fill out the following survey, available online, to estimate the preservation needs and approximate budget for videotape reformatting for your institution. This survey is for any institution, public or private, anywhere in the world, containing any amount of videotape. Even if you have not begun a reformatting program presently, it is important to represent all institutions that hope to preserve video collections in the future. The survey can found at http://home.att.net/~sjholmes/

Please be sure to include copyrighted videotapes held by your institution, such as instructional collections, that may be copied for preservation purposes under copyright law.

There is no commitment to purchase any equipment or media to be implied by participating in the survey, nor will contact names be distributed to salesmen. All data received will be compiled in order to demonstrate the market size of institutions archiving tape.

The survey is being conducted by Jim Wheeler (Jimwheeler@aol.com), currently president of Tape Archival and Restoration Services in Belmont, California and formerly a tape engineer with Ampex, and by Sara J. Holmes (sjholmes@worldnet.att.net), a graduate student in conservation at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Texas at Austin. Please feel free to address any questions regarding the survey to either person.

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