software (actually anything classic computer related) directory

Jay West jwest at classiccmp.org
Wed Mar 21 15:25:50 CDT 2007


Some mention has been made on the list with regards to a "global" list of 
classic computer related artifacts, be those documents (manuals), software 
bits, other historical ephemera, etc. The concept I've been working with is 
defining a standard record format for interchange amongst those that wish to 
participate. Think of this as something like ANSI X.12 (Electronic Data 
Interchange).

Each site who wants to participate would (in an automated fashion) 
periodically (nightly?) run a program or process that takes data about their 
collection items and puts it into this standard record format. The format 
has things like document name, title, description, document type, owner 
site, http vs. ftp, URL, FTP address, email contact, date, key words, 
categories, distribution allowed, etc. For example, a program could pretty 
easily be created that would take all the documents on bitsavers and puts 
them into this standard record format. Then the source systems send this 
record dump (or deltas from a previous dump) to the classiccmp server.

The classiccmp server takes all these records from all the various sites and 
puts them together into a single database internally, and also provides a 
seamless mechanism (http, and yes... gopher, archie?) for people to search 
the database or browse based on given criteria. It looks like one database. 
But when a user tries to pull up one of the specific entries it is actually 
redirected to the sponsoring systems server to get the data.

This way each system can keep their classic data (jpegs, pdfs, disk images, 
whatever) in the format they are already using without changing anything. 
They just need to have something that takes their format/sources and puts it 
into the standard format which is then sync'd to classiccmp.org.

Provisions could be made to the standard record format to address all types 
of media, allow some items to be listed as "present" but "unavailable" for 
things that can't be released due to copyright issues (but at least people 
would know it had been preserved).

I'd be happy to start a separate mailing list to discuss this record format, 
and if people are interested in participating. I'd hate to chew up 
cctalk/cctech bandwidth discussing project design :)

Jay








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