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Sandy Lyman Hintz, a former member of The Palomar, passed along his recent correspondence with Terry Aitken, senior curator of the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. They talk about the importance of digitizing cassette tapes. Sandy has asked the Museum to make sure that a large donation of Glenn Miller cassette tapes are being digitized and stored properly.

I am posting this recent exchange to update Palomar visitors about the steps the Museum is taking.


Dear Mr. Aitken,

I am not sure that you may have caught the segment on CBS Sunday Morning this
past Sunday (1 March 2009), but it emphasized the need to convert media recorded
in earlier days to the current media format or risk loosing the ability to play
or transfer it in the future. They suggested doing that process every ten years
for both audio and video recordings.

Regarding audio, reel to reel and cassette magnetic recording has become a
thing of the past. At the moment, it is even difficult to find new cassette
players as they are no longer being manufactured. Also, older tape backing is
aging to the point that the magnetic qualities flake off as the tape is played,
destroying the recording from ever being played again.

I hope that you are in the process of transferring that suitcase full of Major
Glenn Miller USAAF orchestra cassettes, donated to the Museum during the reunion
of Miller's Air Force Band in the late 1980s, to the latest digital format
of today. To not do that is like tossing those cassettes into a trash bin and
eliminating any future generation from exploring that part of our USAF history.
As my DI used to tell his troops when I was a part of the U.S. armed forces,
"A word to the wise is sufficient".

Best regards to all,

Sandy from Indianapolis
(Lyman (Sandy) William Hintz


Mr. Hintz

Although I did not see the TV program you mentioned in your email, the National
Museum of the USAF staff is well aware of the long-term preservation issues
inherent in magnetic tapes, as well as other forms of audio and video
recordings. These issues have been acknowledged and understood by archivists
for decades and have been the subject of several conferences that NMUSAF staff
have attended over the years. As a result, the museum’s professional staff is
routinely reformating older recordings to digital media in order to preserve the
original information. This not only preserves the information in a more stable
format but also decreases our dependence on obsolete magnetic recording
equipment, which is expensive to maintain and/or replace. Of course, as digital
technology continues to evolve, we will continue to reformat the information
into newer technology as it develops in order to ensure long term hardware and
software compatibility.

Rest assured that the Glenn Miller audio tapes, along with other recordings in
the NMUSAF’s vast holdings, are actively being converted to a digital format
in order to assure their long-term preservation.

Sincerely,

Terry Aitken
Senior Curator
National Museum of the United States Air Force
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio


Glenn Miller Display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio

American Band of The Supreme Allied Command
Captain Glenn Miller in England - Summer 1944



George Spink
Moderator - The Palomar
Los Angeles, California
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