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CBC Digital Archives


Air tape/Air check : Air tapes or air checks are master copies of broadcast originals that go straight into storage - no one handles these unless a "production" copy is lost, they're at their due date or the next new medium comes along.

Analog storage : Most people are content to equate analog with "old"; but for those who care to remember, analog technology requires the transmission and recording of a direct continuous signal; that, coupled with aging, makes it a weak candidate for long-term storage. See digital storage

Archives : Collective name for the vaults, lockers, cupboards, shelves and storerooms in which all the holdings are stored; also the name for the department that runs the archives and, sometimes, for the contents themselves

Baking : The "technical" term for warming old audio and video tapes in makeshift light-bulb-in-a-box ovens; such improvised gentle "easy bake" heating re-bonds loosening shreds of magnetic oxide to the tape so Archives Staff get one last clean play through a machine, to record it in digital form

Canning/Re-canning : SCanning/Re-canning - Storing reels of developed film in round metal cans (old technology) or ventilated plastic cases (new technology) for storage and safekeeping

Digital storage : The way of the world today; for the record, digital technology represents signals in the form of digital bits; since there is no change in the signal once it is captured to disk or tape, copies of originals can be preserved in perfect condition. See analog storage

Dub : To make a duplicate copy of one tape to another; after the tape is made, the copy is called a "dub"

Edit tape/Edit pack : A tape of all the edited story footage that made that actually made broadcast, minus announcer footage and show graphics

Magnetic oxide : Tapes carry magnetic oxide particles to record sound; tape makers get the oxide on the tape by "gluing" it within some kind of coloured binder

Preservation : This work includes capturing archival materials as they're created, accurately cataloguing and filing new and old holdings for easy retrieval and use, and storing the holdings in the best possible conditions for safety and longevity

RADIOLA : Acronym for Radio Archives Digital Interactive On-Line Audio; refers to the online, CD jukebox system that radio archives uses to copy, catalogue and manage its holdings

Restoration : Repair work applied to original, one-of-a-kind archives materials that have been neglected, damaged or are just growing old; goal is to restore and renew, or at least make something playable so it can be copied to a new format

Shoot tape : This usually refers to the raw footage that was shot while making a program; it's often long and most of it you'll never see - which sometimes makes it valuable for licensing to other broadcasters or filmmakers down the road

Shot list : An itemized record of what's on a tape, what's in a program and exactly where on that reel you can find it

Show tape : A copy of a program that went to broadcast, the version that most CBC viewers would see in their homes

Squealer : Nickname for the toughest tapes to copy for posterity. The problem is with the glue that bonds the magnetic oxide to the backing tape: as this stuff ages, the tape gets sticky; play the tape and it clogs up the machine's heads and spools, causing the tape to "squeal"

Vault : In archives as in banks, vaults are serious storage areas for the most valuable and/or most delicate holdings: these rooms may have independent climate-control, enhanced fire protection, customized mobile shelving, restricted access, etc.

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