The WoS is the world's biggest and most popular archive of Spectrum related material. It plays host to a huge archive of software including utilities, games, tools, type-ins, TR-DOS games, et al. The archive also includes documentation, instructions for games, magazine scans, tape inlays and other assorted stuff. Go ahead, click on the Archive! link on the WoS homepage to find all the goodies (notice the scrollbar)!
WoS is the brain child of Martijn van der Heide. It was started by him in 1995 as a website dedicated to hosting Spectrum games but it soon grew into a behemoth hosting anything and everything under the sun that was remotely connected to the Spectrum. Martijn retired in 2014, and the site in it's entirety was passed onto Lee Fogarty. He provides the hosting capabilities and resources to run WoS and is the lead maintainer.
Apart from Lee, there are co-maintainers who help run the site and manage the contents on a daily basis. The other maintainers are Andy Barker, Steve Brown, Paul Hurd, Juan Pablo López-Grao, Gerard Sweeney and many others. Indeed much of WoS's growth and usefulness is due to the dedication and commitment of all the maintainers and contributors in making WoS what it is.
The ZX Spectrum is a home computer that was released in UK in 1982 by Sir Clive Sinclair's company - Sinclair Research. It is credited with single-handedly launching the home computer market in the UK and catching the imagination of the public - right from 5 year olds to middle aged housewives. Its technical specs included 48K memory, 3.5MHz Z80 microprocessor, a sound beeper, an external expansion port, multi-command rubber keys and employed audio tapes as a tape storage device. But such was its simplicity, versatility and great design that software companies were soon jumping on the bandwagon to write various kinds of software for it. Hundreds of companies were setup overnight in bedrooms of budding programmers. It wasn't long before computer magazines dedicated to the ZX Spectrum were born and various books were written teaching people how to use the ZX Spectrum. Despite its relative limitations, innovative and skilled programmers came up with amazing games and software that caught the fancy of the public at large and it wasn't long before the machine went on to become one of the best selling 8-bit machines of all time. The ZX Spectrum also spawned various clones all over the globe. Russia, Spain, America, India, Italy, Portugal, et al too saw their own versions of the Spectrum and sparked the public interest in various degrees. While ZX Spectrum officially demised in 1988, various little computing groups and magazines kept it floating for a couple of years more, but ultimately with the collapse of the 8-bit market, the Spectrum too was gently laid to rest.
Today, it lives on in the hearts and minds of hundreds (if not thousands) of nostalgic Spectrum users around the world; Specchums (as spectrum users like to refer to themselves) have taken it upon themselves to keep the memories and nostalgia of the Speccy (as the Spectrum is affectionately known) years alive. Even today there are programs being churned out for the Spectrum and people are doing all kinds of wonderful, innovative things that keeps the magic going in various ways. As long as there are Specchums around, the speccy will live on.
To know more about the Spectrum, read the Sinclair F.A.Q..
If you're completely new to the Spectrum emulation, Colin Woodcock's free book "The ZX Spectrum on Your PC" is a fantastic starting point.
Considering the tremendous scope and scale of enterprise that WoS is attempting (collection of everything that has anything to do with the Spectrum), it's no surprise that there are plenty of projects that are going on simultaneously. Apart from the official WoS projects, there are numerous private projects that enterprising individuals have taken on in aid of the speccy community. You can help by contributing to any of the projects that you can be of service to. No contribution is minor or trivial. Every little helps! You can find all the current official projects in the next question. To know about personal projects or find out more about the Speccy community in general, check out the WoS Forums.
These are the current active projects on WoS. Each of them has a maintainer or two. You can get in touch with them if you wish to know more about the projects or contact Lee who will put you through to the relevant person(s).
Note: material from any country, in any language is preserved, not just the UK.
- The TZX Projects
Maintained by Lee Fogarty, Steve Brown, Andy Barker, and Juan Pablo López-Grao.
As far as projects go, the TZX project is probably the mother of them all. Its goal is no less than converting every single piece of software commercially written for the Speccy to a digital format. More precisely, it seeks to convert the software saved on ordinary tapes to the TZX format, which will allow anyone to download the games and run them in an emulator. The TZX format is designed to accurately reproduce data (albeit maybe a little cleaner) stored in tapes, so that the original data is preserved, which is why it's also known as the Spectrum Tape Preservation project (STP). The hardworking project team has managed to TZX thousands of tapes but there are thousands more that need to be done. Most of the pending ones are those programs for which the team simply doesn't have the original tapes! Some are programs that the team is aware of no copy at all has been found yet. Those are listed in the Missing In Action (MIA) section, and the team will be grateful if you could with either:
a) Provide a TZX of the tape yourself.
b) Provide the original tape to the TZX team, if you do not know how to TZX it. The team will return the tape to you after the TZX process.
c) Sell the tape to the team at a mutually beneficial rate. Please note that WoS is NOT a profit making organisation. Everything is run for free by individuals who pay from out of their own pockets and as such any monetary relief is much appreciated.
- The Spectrum Disk Preservation (SDP) Project
Maintained by the TZX Project Team.
Similar to the TZX Project, the Spectrum Disk Preservation (SDP) project aims to preserve +3 Spectrum disks in a digital format - the DSK format in this case.
The team is the same as TZX Project so the aforementioned points apply to this project too.
- The Spectrum Instructions Preservation Project
Maintained by Philip Kendall.
The purpose of this project is an important but often neglected one - that of collating and preserving the original instructions that came with a program. There are thousands of games for which instructions are simply not available even if the games themselves are! If you wish to help, simply head to the Instructions Project page and see if you can help out in providing the instructions for any of the games mentioned on the "Instructions Wanted" list.
- The Spectrum Screenshots Preservation Project
Maintained by Gerard Sweeney.
This project aims to obtain loading and in-game screen images for all entries.
- The Spectrum Inlay Preservation Project
Maintained by Lee Fogarty.
This project aims to scan cassette and disk inlays for all titles in the archive.
- The Spectrum Books Preservation Project
Maintained by Lee Fogarty.
This project aims to scan all Spectrum-related books.
- The Spectrum Magazines Preservation Project
Maintained by Lee Fogarty.
This project aims to scan all Spectrum-related magazines (either exclusive or multi-format, any language).