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Basic archiving advice


jjeffh
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I am not an audiophile. I use the home version of Wave Pad for the rare times I need to edit some audio files. My current issue is that, as a hospice volunteer, I've recently recorded 85 hours of a patient's life story which he wishes to leave as a legacy for his infant grandson. His grandson is unlikely to be able to listen to or appreciate this material for perhaps 20 years and probably more. We're also concerned about the rapid pace of changing technology and the equipment used to access it.

We are seeking advice on how to best preserve these recordings so that, even if it skips a generation or two, someday someone could come across them and benefit. I have been present for all 85 hours and this material will be a truly remarkable inheritance for whoever finds it and takes the time to mine it.

We've used a Tascam DR-40 recorder and made .wav files, mostly in mono using the built-in mics, although we did a few hours in stereo using two lapel mics. I'm looking for good advice expressed in simple terms.

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3 hours ago, jjeffh said:

I am not an audiophile. I use the home version of Wave Pad for the rare times I need to edit some audio files. My current issue is that, as a hospice volunteer, I've recently recorded 85 hours of a patient's life story which he wishes to leave as a legacy for his infant grandson. His grandson is unlikely to be able to listen to or appreciate this material for perhaps 20 years and probably more. We're also concerned about the rapid pace of changing technology and the equipment used to access it.

We are seeking advice on how to best preserve these recordings so that, even if it skips a generation or two, someday someone could come across them and benefit. I have been present for all 85 hours and this material will be a truly remarkable inheritance for whoever finds it and takes the time to mine it.

We've used a Tascam DR-40 recorder and made .wav files, mostly in mono using the built-in mics, although we did a few hours in stereo using two lapel mics. I'm looking for good advice expressed in simple terms.

Hi @jjeffh, what you are doing is beautiful. You mentioned that you've come up with .wav files from the Tascam DR-40, which is a good device for recording.

WAV audio format has been around and has been one of the industry standards in audio production/post-production for films, TV, radio, etc, and it seems that will be the case in the foreseeable future.

As for your needs, if you'd like to make some edits to the recorded content, and/or break it down to shorter files/chapters, WavePad should help you do that. You may check it out through this link https://www.nch.com.au/wavepad/index.html

For archiving, it would be best to keep an original copy of those 85-hours worth of material into a secure drive, or perhaps a cloud storage service so that it will always be accessible.

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Thanks for your reply, EIB. You confirm what I saw in my online search, that WAV seems to be a reasonably solid format for longevity. But I also saw some specs associated with it such as 96khz (I think that’s the number) and 24bit. I don’t understand how to check my recordings or what the significance of those properties is.

Also, both myself and the patient’s sister have all the recordings on our personal hard drives and backed up to our respective cloud resources. After he has died I plan to put them on a USB flash drive, too. The reason I am looking for insight into archives is that I worry about technological changes to software and hardware in the future that would make the recordings difficult to access for ordinary family members. Any thoughts about that situation? Am I over thinking this?

I suppose the most practical method would be to encourage the family as a group to make an explicitly established habit of checking the recordings at least once a year and manually transferring them to whatever suitable media becomes available in the future.

Regarding Wave Pad, I have used it and find it quite useful, even with my very awkward lack of skill. His two sisters have a plan to review and edit the recordings, and to excerpt some specific parts to transcribe for the grandson. I hope they might let me be part of that project and I can assist with the editing. But my main concern right now is preserving the original recordings in tact for as long into the future as possible.

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So I guess there really is nothing more to maintaining them than using an industry standard format and ensure that they reside in multiple devices. I appreciate the input from both of you and I will use my common sense to help ensure the family has access to this treasure for a long time.

Thanks.

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