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R.G. Ryan

[this is good]

Not sure if you know this, but I spent most of my life in the recording industry, where, to our utter horror, we found that most of our archival material (i.e. mylar based recording tape) was slowly turning to paste. Then it was suggested that archiving be done on CD's, as, at the time, they were considered indestructable. Right. The same disc that won't play if you leave a thumbprint on its surface is suitable for archiving!!!!

There is now, as in other fields, a huge debate raging over how we are to archive recording projects that, whether done at a cost of a million plus, or in someone's home, need to be integrally stored.

Thanks for this post. It was fascinating.


thanks so much for the reply. i'm trying to get up to speed to finish my practicum process report, and blogging about the topic helped. besides, it means a lot to me too. my dad's utility room is full of 33, 45, and 78 lps, in addition to 35mm and 120 negatives and slides. he's got reel to reel tape too, so i know i'll sadly have to face a mixed bag of either good or sludgy music and dissolved image material by myself (or with mj) one day. but for now, dad and my mom are 82 and going strong, as i hope his collection is too.

as for archival issues, a lot of people were initially shocked and enraged by what baker wrote about, and he even says he is over his paper mania. but he did open my eyes to the issues of what and how to save paper, music, and film. perhaps someone will figure it out before more movies and soundtracks dissolve.

thanks! it was interesting to hear you have worked in the recording industry. perhaps you will help figure out all this stuff for the rest of us. ;)


great post. i worked briefly in college as a lowly work-study for the Warner Bros archive at my university--about 8 years ago mind you--and spent a good amount of time climbing the stacks in the environmentally controlled warehouse to swap out old, sometimes moldy boxes with new acid-free counterparts. i self-learned and then trained others on some amazing 30k plus Kodak equipment (that was going to be the answer to everything) to scan film stills and original scripts for restoration and for electronic storage, but the battle was never-ending. sometimes we'd find boxes with faded yellow sheets inside that resembled crumbled crackers and nothing could be done.

time is definitely the enemy of archiving for even the wealthiest of enterprises like a Warner Bros. imagine all the hundreds of years of other hometown papers, photos, etc. that are crumbling, melting, and fading around the country.

thanks for such an in-depth look at this particular case and for bringing back memories of The Herald Post. certainly hope that UTEP or some other entity will look into addressing those archives.

by the way, do you know very much about ElPaso Media Group ownership? i didn't realize they had any connection to the Times, but i know they publish Newspaper Tree and thought they were a move in the right direction for media diversity and local ownership, but now i wonder whose backs are being patted behind the scenes.


hi! thanks for the reply. actually, i don't think el paso media group is connected with the times, but another corporation. in fact, i'll link to the corporate sites for both gannett and media newsgroup. that is wonderful that you had the chance help save archival material at Warners. i just got the DVD for My Fair Lady and it shows how badly the film had deteriorated, including the soundtrack! and that film 40 years old. what about all those that are older, and even newer? 

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