Let's develop an open-source media archive standard

From: Steve Thatcher <melamy_at_earthlink.net>
Date: Wed Aug 11 05:50:33 2004

Hi all, after reading all this morning's posts, I thought I would throw out some thoughts.

XML as a readable format is a great idea. There is plenty of software available on most platforms to deal with this format.

I looked at the CAPS format and in part that would be okay. I would like to throw in an idea of whatever we create as a standard actually have three sections to it.

The first would be a data description and subsequent data (i.e. Data Container contains Data Items). Block size, number of blocks, and block data...

The second would be a physical format description that would tell how the data description data is actually stored on whatever media is being targeted (Format Container contains Format Items). Device type (sequential, random), track, sector, virtual sector, head, bad sectors, etc would be needed and then a mapping from each Data Item to each Format Item.

The third would simply be a "image file" that would simply be a sequential block of data with length and CRC that contained the Data Container and Format Container.

This type of arrangement would give us a single file to send around that not only allowed for the recreation of the physical format, but also allowed for direct file access (read only of course). I suppose one could think of it as a smart library file that not only contained one or more files, but also gave physical re-creation information.

best regards, Steve Thatcher

-----Original Message-----
From: Vintage Computer Festival <vcf_at_siconic.com>
Sent: Aug 10, 2004 7:04 PM
To: Classic Computers Mailing List <cctalk_at_classiccmp.org>
Subject: Let's develop an open-source media archive standard

Ok, instead of all the unproductive bickering over semantics (most of
which is illogical...come on, admit it) I'd rather we actually discuss
developing further an open-source, public domain, free (in every sense of
the word) standard for archiving data media of all types (magentic, paper,
or otherwise).

This is basically going to be a continuation of what we've already
discussed on the list, and what Hans and I have discussed in private.

First, let's start with the goals.

The format should be:

1) Well Documented (with such documentation actively preserved in all four
corners of the globe and beyond)
2) Not constrained to any particular hardware
3) Be inclusive of all physical (and logical?) manner of recording media
4) Be implementable on even the simplest architectures (because the
original media source will in many cases have to be read on the hardware
it is connected to)
5) Open source, public domain, etc. (although a copyright may be held if
it makes sense to do so)
6) Adaptable, expandable, revisable (for future extensions)
7) Text-based and storable in commonly accessible character formats (i.e.
a suitable subset of Unicode, i.e. ASCII)
8) Allow for the representation of media in either logical or physical
(raw bit stream) formats

This is a good start. Someone please continue adding to the definition.
I will establish a special session at the next VCF (November 6-7) where
we can commence a committee for formalizing this standard and getting it
recognized internationally in all the various relevant groups (i.e. ANSI
or ISO/IEC).

Sellam Ismail                                        Vintage Computer Festival
International Man of Intrigue and Danger                http://www.vintage.org
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Received on Wed Aug 11 2004 - 05:50:33 BST

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