Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Media recognition - Floppy Disks part 3

3 inch Disks (Mitsumi 'Quick Disk')

Magnetic storage media
Used in the 1980s.
?128KB - 256KB
Requires a 3” drive appropriate to the manufacturer's specifications.
Likely to have been individual users and small organisations. Used for word-processing, music and gaming.
File Systems:
Unknown. May vary according to use. The disks were manufactured by Mitsumi and offered as OEM to resellers and used in a range of contexts including Nintendo (Famicom), various MIDI keyboards/samplers (Roland) and the Smith Corona Personal Word Processor (PWP).
Common Manufacturers:
Disks: Mitsumi appear to have made the magnetic disk (the innards), while other manufacturers made the cases. This resulted in different case shapes and labelling. For example Sharp Corona labelled the disks as DataDisk 2.8"
Drives: Mitsumi?

The Smith Corona Personal Word Processor (PWP) variant of the disk is double sided with one side being labelled ‘A’ and the other ‘B’. Each side also had a dedicated write-protect hole, known as a 'breakout lug'.

2.8" Smith Corona 'Quick Disk'
3.5" floppy side-by-side with a 2.8" Smith Corona 'Quick Disk'
Nintendo Famicon disk
Some rights reserved by bochalla

High Level Formatting
Unknown. Possibly varied according to use.

3 Inch Disk Drives
Varied according to disk. The Smith Corona word processing disks are most likely to turn up in an archival collection. These were used in a Smith Corona PWP and possible models nos. include: 3,5,6, 6BL, 7, X15,X25, 40, 50LT, 55D, 60, 65D, 75D, 80, 85DLT, 100, 100C, 220, 230, 250, 270LT, 300, 350, 355, 960, 990, 2000, 2100, 3000, 3100, 5000, 5100, 7000LT, DeVille 3, DeVille 300, Mark X, Mark XXX, Mark XL LT. 

Lego mockup of a Nintendo Famicon drive
Some rights reserved by kelvin255
Useful links

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Preserving Digital Sound and Vision: A Briefing 8th April 2011

Last Friday I went along to the DPC briefing Preserving Digital Sound and Vision. I was particularly interested in the event because of digital video files currently held on DVD media at the Bodleian.

After arriving at the British Library and collecting my very funky Save the Bits DPC badge I sat down to listen to a packed programme of speakers. The morning talks gave an overview of issues associated with preserving audio-visual resources. We began with Nicky Whitsed from the Open University who spoke about the nature of the problem of preserving audio-visual content; a particularly pertinent issue for the OU who have 40 years of audio-visual teaching resources to deal with. Richard Ranft then gave a fascinating insight into the history and management of the British Library Sound Archive. He played a speech from Nelson Mandela’s 1964 trial to emphasise the value of audio preservation. Next Stephen Gray from JISC Digital Media spoke about how students are using audio-visual content in their research. He mentioned the difficulties researchers find when citing videos, especially those on YouTube that may disappear at any time! To round off the morning John Zubrycki from BBC R and D spoke about Challenges and Solutions in Broadcast Archives. One of the many interesting facts that he mentioned was that subtitle files originally produced by the BBC for broadcast have been used as a tool for search and retrieval of video content.

After enjoying lunch and the beautiful sunny weather on the British Library terrace we moved onto the afternoon programme based on specific projects and tools. Richard Wright of the BBC spoke about the Presto Centre and the tools it has developed to help with audio-visual preservation. He also spoke about the useful digital preservation tools available online via Presto Space. Sue Allcock and James Alexander then discussed the Outcomes and Lessons learnt from the Access to Video Assets Project at the Open University which makes past video content from the Open University’s courses available to OU staff through a Fedora repository. Like the BBC, discovering subtitle files has allowed the OU to index their audio-visual collections. Finally Simon Dixon from the Centre for Digital Music Queen Mary University spoke about emerging tools for digital sound.

A final wide ranging discussion about collaboration and next steps followed which included discussion about storage as well as ideas for a future event addressing the contexts of audio-visual resources. I left the event with my mind full of new information and lots of pointers for places to look to help me consider the next steps for our digital video collections… watch this space.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Sharp font writer files

Not a format I'd come across before, but we now have files of this type in the collections. They were written on something like this. Luckily someone has written a migration tool, and it seems to work. See fwwputils.

Anyone know of other tools for this format?

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Got any older?

Interesting article about the "oldest working Seagate drive in the UK". When we talk about storage here, eventually someone says "storage is getting cheaper". If you ever needed concrete proof, this is it!