An Open Letter to TUBDFTL Patrons # 9

As I sit here, I find it difficult to fathom that over eight months have already passed since the last "Open Letter." Perhaps it's the hectic pace that's accelerated time. Perhaps it's just senility taking root. Nevertheless, it's time, once again, to dredge up the past and contemplate the morrow.

To date, the Library boasts over 4700 Patrons (Patron ID 4763 was just assigned) and each day sees a handful of new applicants. I'm beginning to wonder if interest will ever taper off. As the Library begins its fifth year on the web, I would have thought we'd have reached the saturation point some time ago. All indications, however, suggest that demands for Library Services may be expected to continue increasing for the foreseeable future. The challenge, of course, will be to keep up with the increasing demands whilst improving the quality of Library Services.

Toward that end, most of the analog dubbing decks have been gradually replaced with those that have automatic BIAS calibration. In short, the deck first records a signal to the beginning of the tape then reads the signal recorded and calibrates the BIAS accordingly. Though it's a bit of a fiddle and takes an extra thirty seconds or so for each tape, the resultant marriage of the hardware and the media yields an optimal recording regardless of brand or type of tape. Such decks are usually, but not always, fool proof. Experience has shown that used tapes, particularly Type I, may confuse the logic of the automatic BIAS, resulting in an inappropriate BIAS setting. As a consequence, the recording is invariably less than optimal and may well be downright dreadful. Though choice of tapes sent in for dubbing is entirely up to the Patron, for best results, I'd suggest virgin Type II or Type IV tapes.

Though the CD-R Lending Library is still a work in progress, most of the wrinkles appear to have been ironed out and, once a reasonable User Interface has been designed and implemented, beta testing will resume in earnest. My best guess is that the first batch of invitations to participate in the testing will be E-mailed in mid May. If all goes well, more invitations will be extended each month thereafter. Initially, candidates for participation will be drawn from the roles of the old test system. Once previous participants are back on board, those privileged Patrons (BLP, SLP, GLP, & etc.) that have demonstrated the ability to consistently adhere to Library Procedures will be invited to join in. With just a bit of luck, we'll be in a position to "go live" by the turn of the year.

The "Uncatalogued Material and New Arrivals" page is gradually being whittled down and your Librarian can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. Most of the audio and about a third of the video material from the Glynn Lee estate has also been assimilated. Though it is my intent to accession, catalogue, and list material from the current tour as it arrives, I've decided a change of pace is in order and will be working up the uncatalogued material from the beginning of the list (earliest first) for a while. If you have any material from the sixties that isn't listed, I'd very much like to hear from you. Of particular interest is an unedited (continuous) recording of the Second Gaslight Tape (October 1962). All of the Library's recordings are heavily edited (fade-out and fade-in between songs). Otherwise, until the backlog is cleared, please, only propose a swap if you are the taper or are in a position to provide an unedited dub directly from the Master recording and so state in your proposal.

Particularly observant Patrons will note that their Patron ID just got longer. Here's the scoop. When I first set up the Library's Patron database there were about a 150 Patrons. Though I anticipated some growth, I thought that it unlikely that there would ever be more than 500 or so that would be interested in availing themselves of the Library's services. To be on the safe side I doubled that, and set up the database to handle 1000 Patrons. Coincidentally, a database that allows for a thousand numbers will just as easily accommodate 9999. As we rapidly approach the 5000 Patron mark, it's apparent that it's not unlikely that we'll exceed the 9999 Patron limit in a few years. Accordingly, I've restructured the database and added another digit. The consequence is that, if your Patron ID was AB0123, it is now AB00123. Please update your records accordingly.

The following paragraph is a rerun from previous "Open Letters." If you've read it before, feel free to skip to the next paragraph. As always, the expeditious servicing of Patron requests comes first. If properly submitted, it is reasonable to expect your dubbed tape on the way back to you within a couple of days of receipt if a single tape is involved. The dubbing of two or more tapes will likely take a day or two longer. I make absolutely no promises on turn around time for tapes that are not properly submitted. If you want to inquire about the status of your request, telephone. Do not E-mail! Your Librarian's arthritic fingers are limited in the number of keys they can strike in a day. In fact, consider using the telephone, instead of E-mail, for anything that requires a personal response, particularly if an immediate response is sought. The bottom line is that there are well over 4700 of you and only one of me. Let's use my time and energy doing what's most important to you - spinning tapes!

The fifth raffle was closed on schedule and the winners awarded their prizes. This time around, a tad under 4% (159 Patrons) of the then active Patronage participated. Their generous support is most appreciated and we are all in their debt. The next raffle is now officially launched - see the link below!

As always, your comments, criticisms, or suggestions are always welcome.
Until the next time, Take Care!
Simon
04/18/00

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