Preserving Microbee software with MSPP

Last month, we were lucky enough to have a visit from Alan Laughton, of the Microbee Software Preservation Project (MSPP).  MSPP is a collaborator in the project we have been undertaking with the State Library of South Australia, “Computer Disk Collections at the SLSA: Creating disk images of born digital content” (we blogged about this previously here).  One of our aims in this project has been to trial innovative collaborative relationships with expert informants and private collectors to investigate how computer disk materials that are scattered in various libraries and/or held by private collectors might be made available in the future for public benefit and access.

The Microbee is an Australian-made computer of the 1980s.  MSPP have the expertise to image this software, and a license to distribute it from the revived Microbee Technology.

In this case, there was Microbee software held in libraries that MSPP did not have in their collection and could not access.  Together with the SLSA, we helped to broker the connection whereby this software and expertise could come together.

A side-product of this collaboration is that provides an opportunity to investigate issues of jurisdiction, copyright and collaboration regarding depositor donations of computer disks to Australian National and State libraries.  We’re still working through this part of the research.

The photo below shows Alan imaging some of the Microbee software.

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While he was in town, we got our own Microbee Premium Plus going.  The image on the right shows the program “Simply Write” running on the ubee 512 emulator running on Alan’s laptop and on the Microbee Premium Plus hardware (we realised we were missing some of the commands from the top of the screen).

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