WASHINGTON – New digital recordings of events in US history and early radio shows are at risk of being lost much faster than older ones on tape and many are already gone, according to a study on sound released Wednesday.
Even recent history — such as recordings from 9/11 or the 2008 election — is at risk because digital sound files can be corrupted, and widely used CD-R discs only last three to five years before files start to fade, said study co-author Sam Brylawski.
"I think we're assuming that if it's on the Web it's going to be there forever," he said. "That's one of the biggest challenges."
The first comprehensive study of the preservation of sound recordings in the US being released by the Library of Congress also found many historical recordings already have been lost or can't be accessed by the public. That includes most of radio's first decade from 1925 to 1935.