[rfc-i] Digital Preservation Considerations for the RFC Series -- draft-flanagan-rfc-preservation-00.txt is posted

Dale R. Worley worley at ariadne.com
Wed Sep 10 08:59:23 PDT 2014

> From: Paul Kyzivat <pkyzivat at alum.mit.edu>
> Unfortunately ASCII is a problem on punched cards.
> (The good old days when characters only required 6 bits!)
> Was there ever a standard punched card format for ascii?

Tsk!  It's even in Wikipedia:

    ANSI X3.26 – 1980/R1991) Hollerith Punched Card Code

Unfortunately, the document is still locked up by ANSI, but the code
itself is documented about midway down
http://www.quadibloc.com/comp/cardint.htm  That page shows a full
8-bit punch card code.  Hmmm, which means it can be used to punch
UTF-8 representations of Unicode...

> From: Ted Lemon <mellon at fugue.com>

> (Seriously, card punch machines were a lot of fun for me, because
> they were already pretty steampunk when I first used them.   But
> storing RFCs on punch cards is probably not the way to go, sad
> though it may be to acknowledge this.)

Tsk!  I read in


    2.1.  Formatting
    1. No text beyond the 72nd column of a line. This is especially
       important for diagrams and code, which the RFC Editor may not be
       able to trivially reformat to fall within the margins. 
    5. ASCII-only, no control characters (other than CR, NL and FF). 

And where do you think the 72-column rule came from?  This is so the
line can be centered on an 80-column display, which is a lineal
descendent of the 80-column Hollerith card.

Indeed, the RFC series is probably the *only* modern document series
that can reliably be punched on cards!


More information about the rfc-interest mailing list