BBC Computer Literacy Project documents

I have, in the loft, literally boxes full of documents (many of them BBC internal memos) from 40 years ago, when I was peripherally involved in the BBC's Computer Literacy Project. 1982 was a busy time, with the BBC Micro just having been released and pressures caused by the unexpectedly high demand. Hardware issues such as the VidProc ULA not working reliably in Model B screen modes, and the linear power supply not coping with the load, were exercising the minds of engineers and management alike.

In different circumstances I would have been posting the most interesting documents to the StarDot forum, but that is no longer possible. I could post them here, but with only seven members the amount of effort involved would be disproportionate to the potential audience. So I propose to leave them in their boxes, perhaps there'll be another opportunity to publish them on the 50th anniversary in 2032 (although it won't be me doing it then!).

Comments

  • Please do post them here! Others can find them later, can propagate interesting findings, and so on.
  • BigEd wrote: »
    Please do post them here! Others can find them later, can propagate interesting findings, and so on.
    I would not want any scans posted here to be 'propagated', especially as they were mostly confidential internal BBC documents (copyright restrictions would make that illegal anyway). Apart from which, StarDot would almost certainly not want anything connected with me appearing there.

    With all due appreciation of Michael's efforts in creating it, this forum is unlikely to be around for very long so isn't an attractive place for recording material 'for posterity'. So it simply wouldn't be worth the effort involved in accessing the documents, sorting them, scanning them and posting them. Sorry.
  • I hope you haven't already decided not to scan and post somewhere. Surely wherever you post, the idea is for people to read and discuss, comment and learn. Nothing would happen here which wouldn't have happened had you posted at Stardot.

    This site, like almost all sites, is archived at the Internet Archive, which should ensure access to discussions for a long time to come.
  • I can lock this forum section down to registered logged-in users if that would help.
  • BigEd wrote: »
    This site, like almost all sites, is archived at the Internet Archive, which should ensure access to discussions for a long time to come.

    Attachments may not be though. For example I would invite you to visit this page at the Internet Archive. Scroll down to the second message and click on the link to the PDF attachment, you will receive the message 'The Wayback Machine has not archived that URL'. So if the primary content is in attachments, as it has been with my document scans, that isn't a solution.
  • The important thing here, surely, is that you have these wonderful documents and you don't want them to be lost. Ideally, in my view, we can read them, discuss the contents with you, and learn more about the history and development.
  • With all due appreciation of Michael's efforts in creating it, this forum is unlikely to be around for very long so isn't an attractive place for recording material 'for posterity'. So it simply wouldn't be worth the effort involved in accessing the documents, sorting them, scanning them and posting them. Sorry.
    There is no hosting cost associated with this forum, as long as I have my virtual machine server and an internet connection, this forum will exist.
  • Richard_Russell
    edited February 27
    Soruk wrote: »
    There is no hosting cost associated with this forum, as long as I have my virtual machine server and an internet connection, this forum will exist.
    I wasn't suggesting that it was for cost reasons that the forum might cease to exist. But any forum created and administered by just one person is vulnerable: you may get run over by a bus just as I might. :(

    TBH I don't know that StarDot is any different, it depends on the extent to which administrative control has been delegated to others. I am assuming that it would survive even if its founder didn't, but I don't know that for a fact.

    BigEd wrote: »
    The important thing here, surely, is that you have these wonderful documents and you don't want them to be lost.
    That's rather an exaggeration. I neither think they are "wonderful" nor that their loss would be of any great significance (certainly not in the context of Vladimir Putin having just put Russia's nuclear deterrent on high alert).

    There has been relatively little interest in the 40th anniversary of the BBC Micro, compared with what happened ten years ago anyway. I would be content for the documents to remain in the loft here and perhaps be donated to the Centre for Computing History when I die.
  • Well I would rather see them preserved, and I think it would be wonderful if we could manage that. Previous documents that you've kindly and helpfully shared on Stardot have been well-received and led to interesting further discussions.

    In your opening post you said you would previously have posted further documents to Stardot. Perhaps you could ask Michael to post them there on your behalf?

    I believe Stardot is fairly robust as an organisation and I think it has already survived the active participation of its founder.

    (In passing, I think it's worth noting that libraries, museums and archives have special privileges with regard to copyright, which in some circumstances allows them to publish when others are not permitted. This is one reason it's good to get copies to the Internet Archive, whether by direct submission or by having a website be archived.)
  • BigEd wrote: »
    Perhaps you could ask Michael to post them there on your behalf?
    Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but it sounds as though you are asking me to agree to having the material posted to a forum where I cannot take part in any discussion that might ensue, cannot answer any questions, and cannot challenge any misrepresentation that might occur. Seriously?!

    If the StarDot admins wanted any of the material I hold to be posted there, they would have to agree to delete and apologise for the posts which led me to leave, and reinstate me as a full member. Otherwise I explicitly deny them the right to publish it.
    This is one reason it's good to get copies to the Internet Archive, whether by direct submission or by having a website be archived.
    As I demonstrated, crawling StarDot has not resulted in my scanned and uploaded documents being archived there, at least not those in PDF format. I have not kept my own electronic copies either, so preserving them is entirely down to how well attachments at StarDot are backed up.
  • Hi Richard, no, not asking you to agree to anything you're uncomfortable with, just trying to help find a way forward with your original query, which was how to bring your attic documents to light (perhaps preferably in a way which allows for discussion and allows you to join in that discussion.)

    I think the Stardot backup story is solid but I'll make enquiries. The Internet Archive does indeed only have a partial view, but that seems to be accidental rather than structural. I've submitted some requests.

    You observe that this forum has relatively few members. If you do find your way to publishing here, I think that would be a good time to publicise this forum a bit more - there are many places online where interested parties can be found, and I can help spread the word. It's not just Stardot by any means. Then we'd have more members, specifically interested in this history.
  • BigEd wrote: »
    just trying to help find a way forward with your original query, which was how to bring your attic documents to light
    I didn't post a query (please re-read the first message in this thread). I simply stated my intention to leave the documents in their boxes in the loft. I wasn't asking for any suggestions or feedback, it was for information only.

    Of course were circumstances to change (for example StarDot deleting the 'offending' post and reinstating my membership) I could reconsider, but I don't think that is at all likely.
    there are many places online where interested parties can be found, and I can help spread the word.
    I have also been promoting this forum: if you visit the 'official' forum for BBC BASIC for Windows and BBC BASIC for SDL 2.0 there's now a splash screen listing alternative sources of support, including here.
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