A: To archive vintage technology, digitally. That means scanning manuals, advertising, boxes and circuit boards as well as recovering data from magnetic, optical and other forms of media. Our main focus is on computing, telephony and radio, but sometimes other things catch our eye.
Q: Who's behind this thing?
A: The site is primarily the work of silent700 and his friends in the VCF Midwest crew, with contributions welcome from anyone.
Q: How long have you been doing this?
A: Since sometime around 2007, as far as anyone can remember. The files here used to be found at the Chicago Classic Computing site.
Q: What's the deal with the name? How do you say it?
A: We've got a thing for short URLs. silent700 thinks it confers some kind of internet "cred". VTDA came up in some domain registrar's expiring domains list and he grabbed it first and made up a backronym later. We don't know how to say it but spelling out the letters sounds better than "veet-dah". The name could change someday.
Q: Where are the ads? You do this for free?
A: You think there's money in this? It's a hobby, after all. (But seriously if you want to pay us to scan stinky old books, please get in touch.)
Q: I am a copyright holder and you scanned and/or posted one of my works and I am very upset.
A: We're very sorry! We are preseravationists, not pirates. Please get in touch via the "info" link on the main page and we'll remove the item upon presentation of proof of copyright.
Q: Your site design sucks. Why don't you let me redesign it for you? Maybe a snazzy CMS with a big database?
A: No thank you.
Q: I run an archive site, too, and I want to add one of your documents to my site. Do I need permission?
A: More sites means more preservation, so no permission needed. You may alter the document to improve appearance, re-order pages, etc but please do not add your own branding. And don't even think about selling them! They're already free here!
Q: Aren't sites like Bitsavers already doing this sort of thing?
A: Yes, and many more. We all have our own specialities and techniques and we help each other out as we can.
Q: OK, you do a lot of original work. Why not just stick your stuff on The Internet Archive?
A: We do! Archive is great but their approach to organization is different than ours. But we're happy to upload larger files and those that would beneift from their very nice document browser, like color catalogs and magazines. Many of these files are also on our site.
Q: What is your scanning process? What tools do you use?
A: The process is too complicated (or has too many complications) to describe here. We use a combination of flatbed and ADF scanners along with graphics editing tools like IrfanView and ImageMagick to clean up and batch process images before assembling them into PDF format with either Acrobat Pro or open source tools. OCR is usually performed in Acrobat.
Q: What are your submission requirements?
A: You can submit either finished PDFs or bundles of images for us to process. Most text documents should be scanned at 400dpi to 600dpi bi-level (monochrome) and stored in a lossless format like TIF (ZIP or other lossless compression inside TIF is OK.) Documents with photos should be scanned at minimum 300dpi greyscale or color, as appropriate, and stored as either TIF or low-compression JPG. Unless there is a lot of fine detail or very small text, hi-res (i.e. 600dpi) grey or color is rarely necessary.) Be careful with PDF programs (especially Acrobat!) that alter images when building a PDF! If in doubt, send us a bundle of images and we'll take it from there.
Q: I want to contribute a document! How do I do it?
A: Thank you! Get in touch by emailing the account "contrib" at this domain and we'll send you uploading instructions.