Transcribe cassettes soon!

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PadmaVonSamba
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Transcribe cassettes soon!

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:43 pm

Many Dharma centers have cassette recordings of teachings by various Rinpoches, spanning some three decades or more.
If your dharma center or group has some, you should really think about transcribing them soon,
as these are precious teachings which are easily lost to decay or destroyed by fire, etc.,
not to mention the fact that finding a cassette player may be nearly impossible a few years from now!

Many were probably not recorded with the best microphones or in acoustically ideal places,
and the likelihood that new students to the dharma will ever listen to hours of poor sound quality with translations is slim,
whereas being able to read them either printed, or online, is much greater.
This is perhaps a very good project for dharma students in their "retirement years" (pointing at myself here)
who might have a little extra time in the evenings for a quiet, "meritorious" activity.

This also goes for videotape recordings.
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Tlalok
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Re: Transcribe cassettes soon!

Post by Tlalok » Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:52 am

Cassettes and VHS's are terrible storage mediums. They are particularly vulnerable to magnetic interference, and due to the nature of the media are actually damaged every time they are played. If you've got any from the 80's / early 90's, you should be thinking about archival interventions ASAP. CDs also have their problems too, and are probably only going to last 30-40 years in most cases (although apparently in ideal archival circumstances 200 years is possible).

I don't like digital records that much either at this point. Are we going to have the ability to read PDFs in 30 years? Access requirements can get really sticky as well for legacy file formats when you also have to preserve the supporting software / hardware, which is a huge pain in the ass.

Generally, high quality paper is always best and can last millennia unless its absolute garbage. I doubt that many Western Dharma centers have more than a few metres of records (but it would be awesome if they did!).

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Grigoris
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Re: Transcribe cassettes soon!

Post by Grigoris » Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:29 am

Tlalok wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:52 am
Cassettes and VHS's are terrible storage mediums. They are particularly vulnerable to magnetic interference, and due to the nature of the media are actually damaged every time they are played.
Dude, I have cassettes from the early Seventies that still work. Contrary to Millenial beliefs cassettes are actually a much more stable medium of audio data storage than cd and dvd and are incredibly more difficult to erase than digital data.

Cassettes are not particularly vulnerable to magnetic interference, magnetic interference is how you play cassettes! :smile:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
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Tlalok
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Re: Transcribe cassettes soon!

Post by Tlalok » Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:33 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:29 am
Tlalok wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:52 am
Cassettes and VHS's are terrible storage mediums. They are particularly vulnerable to magnetic interference, and due to the nature of the media are actually damaged every time they are played.
Dude, I have cassettes from the early Seventies that still work. Contrary to Millenial beliefs cassettes are actually a much more stable medium of audio data storage than cd and dvd and are incredibly more difficult to erase than digital data.

Cassettes are not particularly vulnerable to magnetic interference, magnetic interference is how you play cassettes! :smile:
50 years is a solid lifespan for high-quality cassettes in good conditions, and they may last for a century or so. But I've also personally seen cassettes that are significantly degraded, there is a ton of moving parts that can get damaged, including degradation of the magnetic pigments. The fact is, their aging is way more unpredictable than paper records. However, you're absolutely right that I would choose magnetic media over CDs and DVDs which are even more unpredictable. What worries me particularly is the preservation of the playback mechanism for them all. I know that 5 1/4 floppy disk drives are quite expensive nowadays (yes they still make them because they're still used for records storage in a few hospitals and banks for some reason).

I worry about getting spare parts for cassette players in the 2040s. The same applies for digital records, but on steroids. Even in my personal records I've got some weird files that I can't access anymore because the hardware / software needed to view them isn't available any more.

If I was building a dharma archive with the intention of it lasting even a modest 100 years (pretty short in archival terms) I would avoid any original digital records and use them only for distribution of physical copies. I'd use magnetic media if necessary, but would aim on getting the information transcribed into paper as soon as I could.

Source: https://www.clir.org/wp-content/uploads ... /pub54.pdf

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Lingpupa
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Re: Transcribe cassettes soon!

Post by Lingpupa » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:01 am

Tlalok wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:33 pm

I know that 5 1/4 floppy disk drives are quite expensive nowadays (yes they still make them because they're still used for records storage in a few hospitals and banks for some reason).
Good posting. I only chime in because, believe it or not, the "Students Supermarket" in the town where I live, which sells gift items, pens, stationery, string, toys, labels, folders and all sorts of jumbled stuff has a couple of boxes of 5 1/4 floppies on the shelf. The turnover/shelfspace ratio must be appalling!
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Stupa in the Snow blog at http://chagchen.org/

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