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From the 'Eternal Carrier' to the 'Eternal File'. The Change of the Audiovisual Preservation Paradigm started 25 years ago

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Albrecht Häfner
Presentation type: 
spoken paper
5 October Sunday
Start time: 
CFB Auditorium

25 years ago, in spring 1989, discussions started on the change of paradigm in sound archiving from carrier to content preservation. Slogans at the time were From the ‘eternal’ carrier to the ‘eternal’ file or Preserve the content, not the carrier (which was not really meant in this radical form). After some skepticism from traditional archivists this concept swiftly gained ground in Europe, specifically through a pilot project of the German Radio stations of the ARD. By 1995 this new concept was generally adopted, and again the ARD was pioneering in what was called at the time the ‘lineares Funkhaus’ (meaning that data-reduction would only be applied for going on air, not for recording, programme production and archiving). This ultimately led to IASA-TC 03, to provide a standard for linear archiving for archivists, against the notorious pressures from IT people and computer centres who did not understand ‘why storage space (expensive at the time ) should be wasted for something nobody hears’.
Dietrich and Albrecht, who actively promoted this change, will talk about this eventful time, how the new concept developed and what actors were involved.