The Srila Gour Govinda Swami Archives Program: SGGS Archives has a program to help devotees with their collections. If you have original audio, video recordings or photographs we offer a program to conserve/preserve and digitize them for you and return back to you so long as we can make a copy of the item for the archival collection. If you wish to donate the originals we will still send you a digitized copy in the media format/s of your choice. We offer this program free of charge and in most cases can cover shipping but always welcome donations for this important service.
Audio Tapes and Videos: Many devotees have recorded the lectures of His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja using analogue audio and video tapes. These recordings seem to be as early as 1985 through to 1996. The optimal playing ability and sound quality of this magnetic media is about ten years, with proper storage and care this can be extended to twenty years or more. Other factors will influence this life span including climate, tape quality, conditions in which the tapes are kept, pollutants, handling and other environmental factors.
Temperature and humidity: These two factors probably contribute the most to tape quality loss. If the tapes are kept in a climate of high humidity and temperate then these tapes will degrade more quickly. The higher the humidity the faster the damage will occur. Rapid fluctuations in both temperature and humidity will also increase deterioration.
Other factors: Pollutants and environmental factors like smoke/incense, magnetic fields from speakers, food and drink, sunlight, water, mold and other biological factors, incorrect handling and storage etc. all of these will degrade the tape and its playback ability.
Problems with Old Magnetic Media: Before a tape is played for recording it is carefully checked for hidden problems and cleaned thoroughly. Unfortunately, magnetic media problems cannot be discerned easily, usually by playing a minute or two the problem will show itself. The worst problem is when the silicone lubricate has degraded. There will be a white residue and a squealing sound from the tape deck. Quiet often the entire oxide falls off the backing and their is permanent damage to the recording. This can be remedied with careful relubrication but should be done by experienced personnel. Another problem we see alot is hydrolysis. This is when the tape binder absorbs water from the air (high humidity) and becomes sticky. When these sticky tapes are played they leave the oxide (sound recording) behind on the tape heads and the damage is permanent. To fix this problem the excess water must be removed by using a tape "baker" this brings the tape to its optimal recording (temporarily) so it can be recorded without damage. This baking should be done by experienced personnel. Also seen are broken tapes which usually can be easily fixed. Tapes that are dirty or dusty are cleaned and where necessary the outer shells replaced. Sometimes it is also required to splice broken tape together. Other problems are related to the sound quality. As a tape ages, the quality of the sound deteriorates slowly usually it becomes more faded and low quality. Sound or video distortions happen through excessive tape pack stresses, poor wind quality and the general aging process. The backing of a tape chemically outlasts the binder which causes the distortions, drop outs, mistracking, etc. Proper storage practices are key to preventing these problems, most important is controlled temperature and humidity.