I am really impressed by the pains John Tuttle took to add player
mechanism information to his already-fine web site. Apparently there
have been some big advances in OCR software. Will voice-to-type or
type-to-voice software catch up?
John's announcement, plus recent deaths of people in the mechanical
music field, got me to thinking about what happens when the owners of
web sites like John's disappear from the scene? Unlike books, which
exist for centuries after their creators are gone, a web site may
vanish, along with its nonsense (think of most blogs) or its priceless
content (think of the MMD Archives), as soon as its owner stops paying
for bandwidth. There are so many unique and valuable web sites out
there today, not just in our field of interest but in every conceivable
field -- with data that can't be found anywhere else -- that
preservation really ought to matter.
The Library of Congress embarked several years ago on a project to
archive selected web sites deemed (under their doubtless specialized
criteria) to be worth preservation. I don't know what web sites were
selected or what ones have been archived (or even how). Nor do I know
where that project stands today. I'm sure however that mechanical
music sites were under the radar and are not included.
Google does a kind of archiving, but who is going to archive Google?
There's a lot to worry about in this world. Wegman's supermarkets in
Rochester have apparently stopped carrying mango ice cream.
Matthew Caulfield (Irondequoit, N.Y.)