Not long ago Digital Audio Tapes (DATs) were a popular medium for professional digital recording. The Smithsonian Institution Archives holds almost 2,000 DATs in its accessions but until recently lacked equipment to retrieve the rich collections of music, interviews, and programs from across the Institution.Very few archives have conducted in-house transfers of DATs. The Smithsonian Institution Archives launched a successful pilot in 2010 to transfer the audio from the DATs to its secure servers and LTO tapes. These DATs contain priceless material from Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra concerts to Native American radio programs to events at the Freer-Sackler Galleries of Art. This project is making these recordings accessible for the long term, as DAT machines are hard to acquire.The audio is being saved in the WAV/BWF preservation formats. Best practice procedures include checksums, quality assurance reviews, and regular backups. This paper discusses how the pilot operated and the challenges SIA encountered.
Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, "Swinging in the Archives: In-House File Transfer of DATs" in Proc. IS&T Archiving 2011, 2011, pp 153 - 157, https://doi.org/10.2352/issn.2168-3204.2011.8.1.art00035