BetaArchive Wiki:Contributing to FTP
How to archive a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM using Alcohol 120%
This is a guide on how to properly dump a disc using Alcohol 120%. Any contributions to BetaArchive should be made following this guide. This guide is for Windows users only.
- Download our portable version of Alcohol120% Free Edition from here. This is a freeware version which has the capabilities needed for a proper dump. Unpack it to a folder of your choice.
- To quickly enable the required logging option import the reg file called "EnableLogging.reg" into your system. This will enable the dump log that goes with the disc dump, and also disable the Alcohol 120% general logging for privacy concerns. You can also enable these options within the application in "View" > "Options" > "Log files".
- Start the application by running "Alcohol.exe". Ignore the error that pops up since we don't need virtual drives.
- Once it's loaded up it will look like this. Click on the top left option saying "Image Making Wizard".
- A new window will popup. At the bottom pulldown bar named "Datatype" select "General Protected CD". This will enable most options needed.
- If you choose a different datatype profile be sure to have the following options checked: [X] Read Sub-Channel Data from current disc, [X]Skip reading errors. Be sure "Image format" is set to "Media Descriptor Image file (*.mds)".Please note that not all options will be available when dumping a DVD-ROM. Once all options are verified press Start to initiate the reading of the disc.
- Alcohol 120% will start dumping the disc
, this may take a while depending on the size of the disc, speed of your drive and condition of the disc. If you get reading errors go back to step 5 and also enable the checkbox called "Data Position Measurement". This will increase the dumping time significantly but will improve the quality of the dump. It will then analyze the disc before the dump.
- Once the reading is finished you will be presented with three files: one .MDS, one .MDF file and one .LOG file. This is a complete dump of your disc. The log file will contain the full dump log of the session. This log file will be trimmed down by me to remove confidential info and to only retail the important information about the dump.
Making proper scans of my media, artwork and documentation
This is a guide on how to make proper scans of your material for submission to BetaArchive FTP. You need to follow these steps properly to get your material accepted, if you choose to ignore any parts of this guide your submission will be ignored and rejected.
This guide is a general one fit for all operating systems and platforms.
To make a perfect scan for preservation purposes you need to fill these requirements:
- Clean your surfaces. I want only the scan of the software materials, not your DNA test, fingerprints or recent food samples. Be sure to clean all surfaces (including scanner cover) thoroughly with a microfiber cloth or damp cleaning cloth. Avoid oil based cleaning agents as they leave a residue. Clean your discs from hand written notes.
- Paper scans only. Remove any covers from their plastic enclosures and scan only the paper sheets. Remove any discs before scanning the disc sleeves.
- Minimum 600dpi. To be able to properly edit and adjust the scan I need a high resolution scan to work with. Many discs and floppies also have small details in their artwork which is lost when you use low resolution.
- Save as PNG or TIF. Saving the scan as JPG only destroys the scan, even at high resolution. JPG is a lossy compression, PNG and TIF is not.
- No post-editing. Do not attempt to edit the scan after you scanned it. You may lose vital information or change the colors beyond repair. I will do any needed adjustments to the scans after they are uploaded.
- Use wide margins. Many scans have their edges cut off, or the edges of the discs cut off. This only cheapens the scan and makes it look unprofessional and bad. Use wide margins so I can easily rotate and move around the scan without cutting off vital data. Don't use auto-margins in your scanning software.
- Align your media. Many discs and floppies have reflective surfaces, if you don't properly align the disc the reflections will be wrong and it will look awful once it's been properly aligned by me. The less I need to adjust the scan the better.
- White background. Use a white background if possible, if your scanner has a different background color then please put a white sheet of paper between the scanner lid and media. The more neutral background you use the better. This is of course not possible with packaging etc, but with floppies and discs it is.
- Individual scans. If you got multiple discs or floppies to scan then scan them individually, or make sure there is more than enough space between and around each item.
- Scan everything. Try to scan all the content you got. All the sides of boxes and covers, all documentation (front and back is required, all pages are optional), additional ads, offers, maps etc. The more you include the more complete the preservation will be.
- Review your results! Be sure that all your scans are up to above specifications before you pack it up for upload. Make sure all scans are aligned, clean, complete and sharp in quality.
If you don't follow these guidelines there's no guarantee that I will process your scans and your time scanning your media and covers will be wasted. Do it right from the start and it will be preserved.
Here are some examples of good and bad scans with descriptions:
Rotation is wrong, so reflection on the blank surface will be wrong. Align properly before scan.
Make sure you got wide white margins around the scanned object. Do not crop, alter or adjust in any way. These also applies to floppies and any other material you scan.
If you don't own a scanner
If you do not own a scanner you need to take reference pictures with a digital camera or good cellphone. To make these pictures acceptable you need to follow the following guidelines:
- Clean all surfaces. Clean all the media and cover surfaces as well as your background surface. Grime, hair and dust is of no use.
- Use the highest resolution of the camera. We're not interested in grainy low quality facebook-esque pictures. All the text on the media should be easily readable.
- Take out any paper covers from the casings. No plastic casings in the photo unless the artwork is printed directly on it.
- Use a clean white background. Use a white flat sheet of printer paper. Any completely white background works but be sure it's flat and without a glossy surface to reduce reflections from the photos.
- Use proper light. Using a regular ceiling lamp creates a lot of reflections and glare, if possible take your photos in natural daylight or use an indirectional light source.
- Center your artwork. Put the disc and covers in the center of the white background and photo directly from above to reduce any angles. Don't cut off any sides.
- Photograph everything. Take photos of all covers (front and back), front manuals etc. The more the better.
- Review your result!. Make sure your photos are not blurry, smudgy or in any way bad quality wise.
Naming an archived file
To make it easier for me to name your uploads you will have to help me provide the most information about your release. To do this you need to name your archived releases with the proper filename.
To best illustrate it, here's an example:
To break it down:
- Microsoft Excel 4.0a: The full product name with official version number. Required.
- (Crunchy 4.00.1234): Codename followed by full and expanded version number. For abandonware titles the codename can be omitted. Expanded version number is optional if available.
- (1992-09-29): The date of the titles release. This is not the same as original release of the product, but the release date of this actual title. Many products gets re-releases and updates so it's important to tag it with the proper date. Year is required, month-day is optional if available.
- (3.5-1.44MB): The media the title was released on followed by the size of the media. Use "-DMF" for Microsoft DMF floppy formats. Required for floppies, optional for other media.
- (beta): Development stage of the title, only used for beta titles. Required only for non-abandonware titles.
- [English]: Main language of the title. If multiple languages are included list them in an included readme file and label this as [Multilanguage]. Required.
- [DEC OEM] Optional tags. If there are any additional info that needs to be included, like the OEM vendor in the example, add it within brackets. Optional.
As always you can add any additional information such as details, installation instructions, notices etc. in a separate readme file. Any special instructions to install or use the title will be included with the release in a separate text file. The more info you provide the better.
Any uploaded releases that doesn't follow this naming convention will take longer to process and even be discarded as I have no time to identify the release for you. You provided the release, you know most about it so you need to label it properly.