- a thesis and CV on an Amiga floppy disk
- some old archaeology project DBs in (probably) dBase format but split over a number of floppies, c.1992
- thesis data analysed with KaleidaGraph, on 3.5" double sided, double density floppy disks formatted for the Mac
- optionally also some Word for Mac documents (the text and figures of the above thesis)
- these disks may also contain the raw data (taken on a 286 using a program this respondent wrote himself) and transferred to the Mac. If it is on the disk, it will be in a format he defined himself so he thought it might fall into the "less interesting" category I suggested. On the other hand, giving it a go might cause us to learn something.
- some educational resources produced "some years ago" on an Acorn... they still have the Acorn!
- another thesis written in LaTeX using Textures, on very ancient Mac disks.
Are these "interesting"? Yes, I think so, although I suspect the most challenging part is getting them off the media. Both Amiga drives and old Mac drives use currently non-standard formats that mean you can't easily read the disks on modern systems (I don't know about the Acorn disks yet). At first I thought we might just aim to find someone with working old hardware (and that still might be an option, but see this tale [link added later, got distracted, sorry!]). But it also turns out there's a controller called the CatWeasel that you can add to a PC and connect an ordinary current drive to, that is supposed to figure out Amiga, Atari, Mac and other formats. It's cheap enough to give a go.
Oh, and thanks to Cliff Lynch for a pointer to the Digital Lives project and it's upcoming conference, see http://www.bl.uk/digital-lives/conference.html; Digital Lives deals with this kind of stuff, and Jeremy Leighton John is just fascinating to listen to. He spoke at one of the DCC workshops, see his slides.