Zede Journal

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Review of early storage media degradation factors, preservation techniques and trends in Ethiopia

Bisrat Derebssa Dufera


Since the invention of the Gramophone by Thomas Edison in 1877 society has used different storage media to record and store sound as important aspect of human life. Continued preservation of these data for the generation to come has been regarded as important goal of archivist and libraries. However, since analog storage media are not permanent, these storage media are under risk of degradation and damage. As a result, several preservation techniques and guidelines have been prepared and applied to prolong the shelve life of these analog storage media. These preservation techniques slow down the rate of degradation; they do not stop or reverse it. As a result, the long-term solution is the digitization of these recordings and copying them into the newest format whenever there is a format change. A review of degradation factors affecting storage media, preservation techniques, digital preservation guidelines and current preservation techniques employed in Ethiopia are presented in this paper. From the review, it has been observed that even though there are some institutions in Ethiopia that have understood the problem of degradation and have taken actions to decrease its effect, some institutions have not taken proper analog and digital preservation actions. As a result, the statuses of their archives are not known and significant portions of their archives are expected to be degraded.

Keywords: Early sound recordings, wax cylinder, graphophone disc, magnetic tape, Ethiopian broadcasting corporation, Institute of Ethiopian Studies

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