[LINK] As Go Document Formats, So Goes Video
sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Fri Jan 4 11:38:28 EST 2008
Alastair Rankine wrote on 3/1/08 10:08 PM:
You sir, are a Fool or a Knave, possibly both.
I don't know you or your work and have never met you.
You have added nothing positive to the discussion, so why be sarcastic?
You launched a twisted, personal attack without provocation against
someone you don't know.
That doesn't seem either rational or productive to me.
The thread is dead and cold - around 2 weeks ago.
Starting your own new thread would've been a reasonable reaction to my
post, at this point in time.
The last election shows definitively that the "play the man not the
ball" approach *fails*.
Your decision to adopt this style leaves me baffled.
The quote you've taken out of context was about archiving Government
I was specifically addressing normal text documents as used in those files.
>From at least the mid-80's, there have been many standards efforts to
separate *content* from *representation* or layout.
XML and related standards are the current incarnation in this area.
I've never seen video or graphic/visual arts in the permanent files of
the departments I've worked for.
I'm not sure why you would make such a big play for this.
As for ASCII and international character sets - there is UTF-8.
It's a standard, it's widely used and satisfies my criteria for 'simple
It represents ASCII unchanged - so no format change for the bulk of our
English language Government files.
For those very special cases where the Content is also the
Representation, care and thought needs to be exercised in selecting the
format and medium for archive, as well as what is taken to archive.
Beta won over VHS around 20 years ago, but as the best technical format
of the time was often used when quality was important. It now proves to
be a very poor archival format choice.
If the magnetic media has survived (mag media of the 80's had a major
binder fault) can the format still be read?
See: Magnetic Tape Storage and Handling - guidelines for Libraries and
I was making a case laying down archival material, of whatever
content-type, in a *future-proof* way.
Large chunks of my working life have been dedicated to recovering
important information from deceased formats.
It's not pretty and sometimes impossible. Rekeying printed copies is
often the only alternative.
You could contribute to the discussion by enumerating the classes of
non-text documents that might be archived and pointing the list to
resources and standards for them.
As for not understanding the problem, I worked in IP Australia for a time.
I stumbled over a weakness in their archival storage system and
researched options for them.
My best advice was to make copies of all formal documents on
archival-quality micro-fiche (250 year life expectancy).
Hold at least two copies at each office, one in a sealed controlled
It is future-proof exactly because it is Lowest Common Denominator.
Both images and text can be stored, and text can be recovered
automatically by scanning/OCR.
BTW: Your post, minus sarcasm could've been:
> You've neglected important classes of documents: video, visual & audio
arts and graphic design.
> Nor has handling international character sets been mentioned.
> How do you propose to handle these and those images & documents where
the appearance & typography
> are as important as the Content, such as ??????? [some really
> steve jenkin wrote:
>> I've never understood why archival documents aren't stored in "Lowest
>> Common Denominator" form.
>> I.e. ASCII lines until XML+Dublin Core (or whatever equiv) is generally
>> Presentation/layout would almost always be purely ornamental.
>> This whole area is obviously driven by Bureaucratic Politics and agendas
>> than technical or professional issues.
> I quite agree, if they can't use our character set in all its 7-bit
> glory, all those foreigners can just bloody well learn English anyway.
> And yes, there is absolutely nothing of value in typography, graphic
> design, or the visual arts in general. It is all ornamental and can be
> easily discarded with no loss.
> Your proposal quite nicely solves the problem raised in the linked
> article. Instead of archiving all that video footage, just save the
> screenplays as ASCII and throw the footage away.
> I don't know why bureaucratic politics and agendas keep getting in the
> way of such simple solutions, either.
Steve Jenkin, Info Tech, Systems and Design Specialist.
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 48, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA
sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin
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