9 track tapes and block sizes

Chuck Guzis cclist at sydex.com
Sat Oct 3 10:33:50 CDT 2020

On 10/3/20 3:20 AM, Al Kossow via cctalk wrote:
> On 10/2/20 7:38 PM, Chuck Guzis via cctalk wrote:
>> In fact, is there any standard for floppy disk metadata container files?
> Digtial archivists seem to be using
> LoC BagIt, which essentially is a zip file of a directory
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BagIt
> I'd have to check with our digital archivist to see what metadata files
> are included in CHM's archival bags.
> Invention of your own container will be doomed to failure due to lack
> of adoption.

The Bag-it scheme is interesting in that it can be used to hold data and
metadata in an XML-style container, be the object a floppy disk or a
spear point, but where are the standards for digital media for *what*
must be preserved?

It seems to me that professional digital archivists concern themselves
with preserving content, but have few resources to determine context.
The number of tapes that I've handled that bear only a tape number at
best is alarming.  Various government warehouses still have acres of the
stuff.  Labels dry up and fall off and aren't replaced (that goes for
floppy media also).  Nobody is left to interpret what the bits mean,
much less the context in which they were created.   In that sense, my
hat's off to the "living history" transcribers who preserve context, but
not necessarily content.

A personal concern as I'm forming stronger relationships with the
medical community in my dotage is that vast amounts of information will
inevitably be lost in any case.

In particular, consider a government project where several hundred
millions of 1970s dollars were spent by the government, yet almost
nothing other than a few papers survives.  Those involved with intimate
knowledge are inexorably dying off as the community ages out.  The
lessons of "what did we learn form all of this?" will be gone forever.

Sometimes it seems that we spend as many resources in forgetting as we
spend trying to remember.


More information about the cctalk mailing list