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DigiCULT
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feel that all tapes recorded before around
1965 belong to the endangered group, and
we have decided to digitise all of them as
soon as possible. More recent tapes would
seem to have at least ten years of lifetime
left. Fortunately, our engineering depart-
ment always insisted on using expensive,
high-quality BASF and AGFA tapes, so we
do not have the problems with decaying
tapes from the 1970s that are so common
in American archives.The number of tapes
dating physically from 1965 or earlier is
only about 7000, so the task is limited, but
on the other hand many tapes suffer from
a number of problems: bad splices, unusual
speeds such as 76 cm etc., in addition to
the generally declining quality of the tapes.
This will inevitably slow the process down.
T
his still leaves us with more than
200,000 tapes to digitise, dating from
1966 to 2000. Of course we would like to
start with the tapes most likely to be used
in broadcasts. Most of our `greatest hits',
such as war documentaries, have already
been moved into the archival collection
and will be digitised in that group. How-
ever, it is clear that we will also need other
important programmes such as interviews
with important statesmen and great mo-
ments in sport. As an experiment, we have
already digitised all news commentaries
from 1993. If there seems to be a demand
for material from `ten years ago', we will
continue with the years 1994, 1995 and so
on. But how do we continue from there?
T
his is a question which we intend to
put to all our producers as soon as
the digital archive has been up and run-
ning long enough for them to begin to
have some idea of the system's possibilities.
Here again we should be prepared for
changes in demand. If digital radio starts
growing as predicted, we are likely to see
the creation of new, specialised radio chan-
nels such as a sports channel which could
feature repeat broadcasts of past Olympic
games, or a religious channel.We already
have enough material for such channels.
been transferred onto CDR, but there are
still about 10,000 analogue tapes, each
containing one piece of music.We shall
soon start digitising this collection with
Quadriga as well.
T
he radio archive also has a huge col-
lection of so-called working tapes, the
earliest dating from 1950.This collection
consists of about 250,000 analogue tapes
and about 50,000 digital carriers.We
recently acquired a NOA capturing station
(NOA Audio Solutions,
http://www.noa.at/), which will be used
to digitise this collection.
RADIO ARCHIVE DIGITISATION
PLAN IN BRIEF
The first stage:
- Digitise 15,343 tapes in archival
collection with Quadriga or NOA
(4700 already digitised).
- Digitise 10,000 tapes in music
collection with Quadriga.
- Digitise 6468 collection tapes from
1950-64 with NOA.
- Other materials digitised on demand.
T
he oldest tapes are clearly approach-
ing the end of their life-cycle, and if
they are to be preserved, they have to be
digitised soon.We still need to study the
condition of the tapes more closely, but we
- 10,000 musical performances owned
by YLE (Radio Symphony Orchestra
etc., 1950-2000).
- Detailed documentation.
3. The working collection
Unselected material with minimal
documentation
- 1950-1954:
218
- 1955-1959:
2666
- 1960-1964:
3802
- 1965-1970:
15,329
- 1971-2002:
c. 200,000
4. Digital carriers: DAT, CDR etc.
S
ince 1961 the radio archive has select-
ed valuable programmes and inserts for
a special archival collection.The tapes have
been copied onto new archival-quality
stock and documented in detail.This col-
lection today consists of about 12,000 ana-
logue and a number of digital tapes, with a
total of 40,000 programmes or inserts, dat-
ing from 1935 to 2000.When we installed
our first capturing station, Quadriga
(http://www.quadriga.com/home.htm), a
year and a half ago, we decided to start
with this archival collection, and to date
we have digitised 4700 tapes in numerical
order.We expect to finish the task by 2005.
T
he archive also has a large collection
of music productions, many of them
featuring the Finnish Radio Symphony
Orchestra. Many of them have already
250,000
200,000
150,000
100,000
50,000
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Tracks acquired
Tracks digitised