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Optical Media: Their Implications for Archives & Museums

TitleOptical Media: Their Implications for Archives & Museums
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication1987
AuthorsBearman, D.
Secondary TitleArchives and Museum Informatics Technical Reports
Pages74 pp
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedPittsburgh
TypeTechnical Report
ISSN Number1042-1459
Keywordsaccess, archives, CD-ROMs, compact disc, computerization, computers, databases, digitization, image database, implications, informatics, interactive publications, museums, newsletter, optical media, preservation, scanning, technical report, technolog, videodisc

From the Executive Summary:

"Optical videodisc, introduced in 1978, and compact disc (CD), introduced in 1982, are now sufficiently stable commercial products to permit responsible planning for archives and museum applications. Optical Digital Disk (ODD), introduced commercially within the past two years, cannot yet be considered a practical option for use by most archives and museums, but its nature should be understood by those considering videodisc or compact disc applications, because it may be prudent to wait until Optical Digital Disk technologies mature before embarking on certain kinds of projects.

Investigations of optical technology need to proceed both from a realistic assessment of the capabilities of the underlying technologies and a critical analysis of the requirements of the archival or museum organization. The framework for a needs assessment is provided by the strengths and weaknesses of these technologies and particularly by a clear distinction between the capabilities of analog and digital data representation, between still and motion images, between interactive media and databases, and between archival storage and publication/dissemination. These distinctions and other information designed to assist archive or museum administrators in making a decision about whether and how to use optical media are presented in the first two chapters.

Planning and executing a project which employs an optical technology is a major undertaking requiring an appreciation of the steps and skills involved, the potential pitfalls, and the costs and benefits. The third chapter of the report reviews the experiences of cultural and educational publishers and other archives and museums, while the fourth identifies the stages involved in a project and defines the requirements of each stage.

The final chapter identifies methods for maintaining an on-going awareness of the technology and the needs of the archival or museum organization. A technology forecast focuses on competing technologies and on the development of optical standards and suggests how administrators can use such information to make timely decisions. The report contains a listing of archival and museum optical media projects, a guide to vendor sources, a glossary and a bibliography."


reprinted 1989.

Citation Key10386
Access DateDecember 1, 2008