The Incredible Story Of Marion Stokes, Who Single-Handedly Taped 35 Years Of TV News
From 1977 to 2012, she recorded 140,000 VHS tapes worth of history. Now the Internet Archive has a plan to make them public and searchable.
Early broadcast news isn’t easy to find, Lynch says, because while networks often did a good job of archiving the footage they used to make the show, they were less meticulous about saving the show itself--a pattern he attributes to “a sense of modesty on their part.”
[...] The value of home-recorded newscasts isn’t immediately obvious, but when the collection becomes public, there will likely be many unanticipated ways to use it. ... What happens is that when you make a rich collection available, there are the things you thought of, the reasons why you thought it was valuable, and those may be very much right--but what happens is that it turns out it has a life beyond that.”
No doubt there will be issues, but they've apparently already done tests on some sample VHS tapes. Formats aren't so much eager to die as technology innovators are eager to kill them.
(I believe VHS became available to consumers in 1976.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VHS
I don't think that Bill's original claim that the value of content generally drops sharply over time is fallacious.
I'd argue that the counterexamples posed are outliers. Their value-over-time graphs almost certainly do drop on the left side of the graph as Bill suggests, and then at some point toward the right of the graph, they hockey-stick.
These late high value spikes seem to come from an unintended uses, and the high value on the right is being perceived by a different party than the lower value toward the left -- i.e., historians/society versus the content originators.
I'm not arguing that we should just toss everything, but even if we keep it all -- then what? Discoverability is a real challenge.
Going forward, I think that merely preserving this data is going to only slightly better than throwing it away. We are awash in data now, and we'll drown in it soon. Open metadata standards (and possibly just as important, some kind of common semantic standards) will be necessary to make these huge volumes of temporal media instantly sortable and searchable. Having the needle doesn't matter if we can't find it in the haystack.
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