MITH’s Vintage Computers is a website devoted to MITH’s sizable (and growing) collection of vintage computers, retro software, and other artifacts from the early era of personal computing. The centerpiece of the site is a considered metadata and modeling approach to computing hardware, whereby individual components of the vintage machines are documented, contextualized within their relation to the system as a whole, and expressed using Dublin Core. The site gathers links to other recent MITH projects in born-digital cultural heritage, and serves as a clearing house for our expanding portfolio in this area. It also includes newly written non-specialist’s documentation for the FC5025 Floppy Disk Controller, a device used to retrieve data off of obsolescent media formats.
The site is presented using the content management tool Omeka. It was researched and designed by Walker Sampson, who recently completed an MLS from the School of Information at the University of Texas. Sampson was in residence at MITH during the summer of 2010 under the auspices of the IMLS-sponsored Digital Humanities Model Internship Program. MITH’s Associate Director Matthew Kirschenbaum comments, “This site demonstrates the role that vintage computing can have in the environment of an active digital humanities center; as born-digital cultural heritage becomes ever more important, centers such as MITH will play a part alongside of libraries and archives in addressing its long-term presentation and curation.”