In our inimitable fashion here at ATC (www.audiotranscriptioncenter.com) we’re constantly reading through all those emails we’re receiving from different listservs about any number of things. The latest one that caught our eyes was about how rapidly technology is changing, and it got us thinking on many levels. WWOCD? What Would Our Clients Do? The article in the latest issue of ComputerWorld.com is written by Lamont Wood, “Fending off the digital dark ages: The archival storage issue.” So this is where transcription of those audio/video collections is key to the longevity of your archives.
When was the last time you tried to play a 33 rpm record? When did you find an old floppy disk with information that you couldn’t access? How about that interview of Aunt Lucy and Uncle Joe in the shoebox that was recorded in 1972 on any sort of media that is now outdated? Point being, anything you record today will be outdated in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years. Do you have a plan? Does your customer have a plan? We don’t have a plan either, but hey, we got you thinking about it.
As far as I know no company is currently transcribing on sheepskin, but most everyone who receives their transcripts is storing them digitally. These digital transcripts are now searchable documents, and then they are usually printed and stored for archival purposes as needed.
The question again is, how often is digital media changing?
Plainly, your audio archives will someday be obsolete, and you’ll have to look at ways to convert these collections to a new functional usable format. (How many of you are already doing this every 5, 10, 15 years or so?) These transcripts of the media content provide the essence of what researchers need!
What will you do to make sure this scenario doesn’t happen to you or your client? Or will you be retired by that point, and leave the “legacy” to someone else?