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IASA-TC 03 The Safeguarding of the Audio Heritage: Ethics, Principles and Preservation Strategy, Version 3, December 2005

Primary and secondary information

The documents are carriers of two types of information:

primary information consisting of audio content, and
secondary or supporting information that may be of different forms.

Both types of information are part of audio heritage. The relative importance of each part will vary depending on content, media type and user needs, both at present and in the future. Secondary information, however, it is crucial to the authenticity of the primary information from the time when the audio content is transferred from the original to the copy for the purpose of its preservation.

In many cases, the media become collectibles with its own cultural value, for example, phonograph records and mass production. In addition, secondary information, for example, handwritten notes, etc., can be an integral part of a sound document (the original carrier and associated material). The task of the archive to assess the extent necessary to save the document for later use and apply appropriate preservation strategy.

The instability and vulnerability of carriers

For traditional paper documents long-term storage of original media (with some exceptions) generally feasible. Audio carriers (except metal matrices for mass production of media) will have a shorter lifespan than traditional text materials of good quality.

In addition, the carriers are more vulnerable than traditional text documents, and more susceptible to damage caused by careless handling, poor storage conditions and poorly maintained or faulty equipment. Due to the high density digital information storage media are generally more vulnerable to information loss due to the damage than analog. If the media is damaged due to poor storage or improper handling, information may be lost. This applies to both digital and analogue material.

the Level of risk to the carrier depends on the degree of vulnerability, the quality of the playback equipment and care, the professional skills of the operator and the storage conditions. The risk level varies from "very high" for long-playing records, frequently played traditional mechanical systems, to "relatively low" for reproducible and rarely on a well-oiled equipment analog tapes of a width of a quarter of an inch on a polyester base.

Obsolescence of formats

Analog format

Analog formats gradually fell out of use as a system, as do the media and ambisonics are no longer produced in such quantities as before, and, in addition, the manufacturers refuse service support of the equipment.

Digital format

None of the digital recording systems designed specifically for audio signals, and uncertainty in the market, not to mention the archives. Except for audio CD, audio DVD and mini disc (MiniDisc), all the specific digital audio outdated relatively quickly, leaving a lot of carriers in fairly good condition, but without the techniques necessary to play the sound. In recent years there has been an obvious shift from the special audio formats, such as R-DAT and CD-R (audio) to the formats for storing the content data, i.e., file formats in computer systems. Though in principle, file formats, operating systems and computer storage systems are also threatened by the obsolescence, in this professional environment, the problem is solved easier than using digital audio formats that depend on the consumer market.

R-DAT and CD-R (audio) were the first digital recording systems that have had great success on the audio market and was used as digital formats for archival purposes. None of these systems, however, has not proven its stability for use as an archival standard. R-DAT as a format is now obsolete and the collection in this format may become unavailable in the future due to the lack of playback equipment and spare parts. The CD-R format everything is still widely used, although at present the use of recordings on CD and DVD have to be regarded as potentially dangerous from the point of view of preservation of sound (cf IASA-TC 04, 6.6). Technical Committee, therefore, strongly recommended that in the system of computer storage real file formats and rely on related measures check the integrity of the data (cf. paragraphs 10, 12 and 13, and IASA-TC 04, 6.1).

Interesting fact:

Linguistics (linguistics, linguistics — the science that studies languages. It's the study of natural human language in General and about all languages of the world as individual representatives. In a broad sense is a part of semiotics as a science of signs.