From: Kenneth Whistler (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Jan 23 2008 - 18:37:10 CST
> > ... about the Soviet "Buran" program:
> > A significant part of the technical information about the flight is
> > inaccessble to today's researchers as it is recorded on the magnetic
> > tapes for BESM-6, of which none are still working ...
> There's no more any tape reader working that can be adapted to work with
> today's computer interfaces? It looks incredible.
> If those are tapes, may be a professional tape reader (used for audio, or
> for reading some video) could be used, by rewinding the band on another
> compatible roll. It just looks like a few hours of work from a competent
> electronician, even if this is used temporarily on a single installation,
> just to process the bands. And this is what some companies are doing
> worldwide for reading crashed harddisks or tapes, suing various instruments,
> and some custom PLA programmed to emulate the past reader's decoder and
> connect it to some modern data bus interface.
This is just one more example of the now very widespread
problem of digital data archaeology required to access
surviving, important data stores that may happen to be
5 or 6 generations of media back, stored in no longer used
or forgotten digital formats, and with all kinds of other
potential problems of interpretation.
For another illustrative, space sciences-related example,
take a look at the long, fascinating discussion of the
effort to recover and correct the more than 30 year record of
navigational data from the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 spacecraft:
That isn't text data, of course, but the same kinds of issues
increasingly apply to textual corpuses stored in obsolete
media and in what will eventually become obsolete
character encodings, as well.
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