Has anyone found the best way to preserve paper tape software?

From: John B <dylanb_at_sympatico.ca>
Date: Wed Dec 29 18:24:22 1999

-----Original Message-----
From: CLASSICCMP_at_trailing-edge.com <CLASSICCMP_at_trailing-edge.com>
To: Discussion re-collecting of classic computers
Date: Wednesday, December 29, 1999 7:51 PM
Subject: RE: Has anyone found the best way to preserve paper tape software?

>> Should it be kept in vacuum sealed bags or out of the light?
>*I'd* prefer to see - first - the information preserved, by copying
>to new paper or mylar tape or some other long-lived medium. The
>information is what counts, not any particular piece of paper that
>it's recorded on.

Although I am very busy right now I am trying to coordinate the archival of
all information/software I have for the PDP-8,PDP-11,LSI systems from DEC.

The basic idea is:

Expand PDP8.com to a few hundred gigabytes.
Find the "module list file - 1959-1984" which I now know contains 55,000
items [I have the total report], index it, and put it online.
Hire/buy a microfiche scanner and *attempt* to scan and index the 5000+
sheets of microfiche I have (prints, MDS, IP,tecos,reports, maintenance
manuals, software, source code,wire lists, engineering drawings and
bulletins, internal tech reports, etc..)... with the help from a few list
Read in all the software into one standard image format and index on the

The project will be financed by selling a small portion of the stuff I have
received(am receiving)on eBay.

If this is at all possible then I should have online everything for
PDP-9,PDP-15,PDP-8(s),PDP-11s [so far]. I expect PDP-4 and PDP-10 next.
Looks like the PDP-1 stuff will be sold to a private collector.

Scanning in the actual prints would be impossible as I am already stacking
them 6' high with many rows... and I only made a *small* dent in the
documentation area.

Tim, you have experience with archiving software.. I have 3 high speed paper
tape readers, 10 RX02s, 8 dectape drives, and many other DEC TU/TE tape
drives and Disk drives. What software do you use?? It's sounds like I might
(and others) have to write some software(or use yours) to pool all the code
coming in through the above devices to a large NT server.

I'll be pulling out a bunch of 11/23 systems on my next trip with some
11/34,35s. An idea I have is to line 8 or more systems up, fill them with
every possible media drive, and 3 of the list members and myself could feed
software to the devices as fast as quickly as the data could be read in. All
information sent somehow to a central server with terminals to title the
data dumped. Looks like "Digital Direct" can handle the microfiche scanning.
I hope many of the systems could be networked together through DECNET. (My
DECNET background was really strong at one point in time but when I saw DEC
dumping I ran to NT like everyone else...)

I really don't want this to turn out into a year long project.. I have quite
a few minis to restore.



> Tim Shoppa Email: shoppa_at_trailing-edge.com
> Trailing Edge Technology WWW: http://www.trailing-edge.com/
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Received on Wed Dec 29 1999 - 18:24:22 GMT

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