ABBUC Newsletter vom 19.11.2000

Atari Preservation Project APP

Dear Atari users,

The Atari Preservation Project aims at a consistent, clear and useful 
way to describe software items, hardware items and document items. There 
are several reasons to do this:

– As an example how to describe collector items for people who
are collecting (and thus preserving) Atari items

– To make it possible to merge archives so items can be se-
arched in distributed archives

– To describe Atari items for historical documentation

– To enable the development of consistent tools for searching,
editing, browsing and presenting item information

– As a consistent format to exchange archives between diffe-
rent tools

Discussions
~~~~~~~~~~~
Soon the discussions will start at:
www.egroups.com/group/ataripreservation

If you are interested in joining the discussions, please send me an 
e-mail (mailto:taf_offenga@yahoo.com) so I can invite you to the group.

For the software preservation standard (SPS) there are already
some points of discussion. Let’s list them, so we can all
think about it and prepare for good discussions.

– Categories: some elements need a category system. ‚Type of
software‘ is an example where you could have categories like;
languages, games, demos, business, education etc. Since it’s
possible to define many different category systems, we should
try to find the best one. There are enough examples just by
looking at the existing archives.

– Rating System: is it useful to add a quality mark to softwa-
re items? And if it’s useful, what rating system do we use
(for example: 1=bad, 2=normal, 3=good etc.) and what proper-
ties should be rated? (for example: media quality, design,
usage, presentation, overall etc.). And we should not forget
the software reviews in which the quality of the product is
ofter described.

– Item owner: it’s nice to describe software items, but some-
how the physical items (I mean the things you can actually
hold in your hands) belong to someone. At one end you could
say that an archive has an owner and all the items in the
archive belong to that person. Is that the right way to do it?
Maybe it should be possible to attach an owner to each item,
so you could get an archive with items FROM different owners.

– Media, Box, Manual owner: some collectors (myself included)
keep records to indicate if they own the medium (e.g. disk,
cassette or cartridge), the packaging and the manual. How can
we include this information in the standard? (note that cur-
rently a ‚manual‘ is to be described in the documentation
preservation standard).

– Execution info: the software description should provide
information about the execution of the program. Think about
required memory, operating system, required hardware (e.g.
lightgun), required software (e.g. a programming language).

– Protection info: with commercial software it often happens
that the physical media is protected. For example there can be
copy protections on disks and cartridges. Sometimes these
protections can be stored in the disk image file (e.g. the APE
PRO format) and sometimes this is not possible. How to handle
these things in the standard?

– Item details: it is really amazing how much detailed diffe-
rences are found in software items. There can be a small
difference in the packaging in a way that one box is black and
the other box (with the same software item) is blue. Or there
can be differences in the medium, maybe another font is used
or something like that. For some this may sound crazy, but
many collectors really find this important. So, how to descri-
be these details?

– Disk image contents: many disk images contain files which in
fact are separate software items. In the extreme case you
could even call a disk image an archive, but I don’t think it
makes sense to describe every file seperately. But somehow it
should be possible to describe the contents of a disk. In case
of a disk magazine the contents could be a list of articles.
Any good ideas to describe the contents should be discussed.

Finally I should say that you can always add other discussion
subjects if they are important for the APP.

Regards,

Freddy Offenga.