Oral History Project Report 2006-09-20

Oral History Project Report, 2006-09-20
 Irv Joel, Leader

As you probably know, we have so far recorded some 117 Oral  Histories, as listed here ( htttp://
) . These are video + sound recordings on some 150 original Hi8 digital  video cassette tapes, now stored at John Chester's office in High  Bridge, New Jersey.

Our major concern at this time is the lack of backup copies and an appropriate storage place.John Chester  is now making one backup copy of each tape onto mini-DV video cassettes:

 Number of Oral History interview video cassettes:  150
 Backup copies made to date:  76
 Remaining tapes needing backup:  74
 Blank DV cassettes on hand:  30 -- need to buy more.

So about half of the master tapes have been copied so far, and we expect all to be done by 2007-06. We are still looking for an appropriate storage place for the backup set.

There are lots of other AES tapes which were not created by the Oral History Project.  For example, John also has 135 other Hi8 cassettes which are various convention events, "When Vinyl Ruled" presentations, etc.  He does not have a detailed inventory of these tapes yet.  And there are AES tapes elsewhere, including probably in the boxes put into storage by AES HQ, which we plan to inventory Real Soon Now. John won't have time in the near future to back up any of these additional tapes -- perhaps they should just be inventoried and put into archival storage.

 The originals should be in secure climate-controlled storage. A  related question is where to store the working copies.

 We also believe that it would be useful to also make DVD copies of the  original interviews: Sony sells a stand-alone DVD recorder which  could be used to create a DVD copy at the same time as the backup  tape copy. The backup tape copy is a digital clone of the original  tape, so the backup can be used as a working copy with no quality loss.

 The DVD copy will be via analog video. DVD uses a different codec at  about 1/3 the bit rate of DV tape, so even a digital copy to DVD will not be as good as the original tape. If possible, editing should be done from the DV tape copy, not from the DVD. However, if we use archival grade DVD's, the life expectancy is much longer than DV tape, and the DVD's life expectancy will not be greatly compromised by storage in a normal office environment.

 Cost of DVD copying:
    Sony DVD recorder 220 $.
    DVD blanks (archival grade, with storage envelopes) currently about 2.00 $ each.
    If we purchase the recorder and 100 disks on this year's budget:  420 $.

 And of course additional volunteer time to handle and organize the additional copies will slightly slow down the backup process.

Altho we have been trying to get these interviews edited for release to the public, we have had difficulty finding volunteer editors, and only two have been edited so far.

 Jay asked Richard Hess about a storage place. He recommends  professional storage such as "Hollywood Vaults", (works fine with Internet Explorer;  seems to hang with Firefox). 85 $/mo to store 300 mini DV tapes. We are following up this and other possibilities.

A Hi8 cassette is larger than a mini-DV cassette, but the 150 Oral History cassettes will fit into the 85 $ per month vault (1 cubic foot). If we add the other 135 original cassettes, then we need the 100 $ per month vault (2 cubic feet).

AES - Audio Engineering Society