Vacuum Tube Body of Knowledge Initiative

Perhaps the most important initiative of the Museum is to build the most comprehensive, complete, and accurate knowledge database of tubes and all the different types of equipment that use tubes.

Urgent action is needed to save vacuum tube knowledge. Loss of indispensable knowledge is a serious concern. So much of vacuum tube knowledge has been lost that it will be difficult if not impossible to assemble the entire knowledge base of millions of documents, thousands of companies, thousands of publications, and thousands of people in the long history of vacuum tubes. Most of those companies have disappeared, along with many if not most of the publications. Of greatest concern, most of the people are retired or gone, along with the best in-depth and intimate knowledge of vacuum tubes.

The International Vacuum Tube Museum implemented the Vacuum Tube Body of Knowledge (VTBOK) initiative to save the historical knowledge of vacuum tubes from irreplaceable loss. This project will most likely take years.

You can see one of the databases for the Vacuum Tube Body of Knowledge here, the VTBOK Vacuum Tube Books Reference database.

Other VTBOK database initiatives include:

  • Vacuum Tube Manufacturers, Past and Present
  • Comprehensive Database of All Vacuum Tubes
  • Key People in Vacuum Tube History
  • Evolution of the Science and Engineering of Vacuum Tubes
  • Vacuum Tube Nomenclature, Characteristics and Specifications
  • Principles of Vacuum Tubes

The VTBOK international knowledge base relies on participation from a wide variety of contributors: collectors, hobbyists, museums, libraries, corporate history departments, manufacturers, hams and amateur radio organizations, arts organizations, government organizations, corporate museums, K-12 schools, universities, corporate libraries, for-profit organizations, NGOs, publishing houses, technical associations and societies, professional organizations, and non-profit organizations.

The Museum is creating a knowledge portal that includes a network among the participants to support and coordinate contributing their data and knowledge. The internet based knowledge portal will make efficient and seamless retrieval of the wide spectrum of vacuum tube knowledge accessible on mobile and desktop platforms.

There are numerous organizations with existing vacuum tube knowledge. The VTBOK will include an integrated cross-reference system to show where specific vacuum tube knowledge resides, and will also support key participants’ efforts to work together to preserve vacuum tube data and knowledge.

Participants joining the initiative can be individuals and organizations, and can contribute in countless ways, such as to developing the first accurate and comprehensive taxonomy of vacuum tubes; identifications of tubes, tube-based equipment and artifacts; locations of vacuum tube databases and repositories; converting disparate formats of documents and data into robust and accessible digital forms; interpreting documents and information for ease of understanding; assessing the quality of the data and information; preparing the ultimate bibliography of vacuum tubes; defining the values of vacuum tubes and their many impacts throughout history and contributions to society; contributing new designs, new protocols, new instruments and equipment; etc.

A committee is being formed to help manage the Vacuum Tube Body of Knowledge. You can nominate candidates for the VTBOK Committee at this link.

The integrated worldwide VTBOK knowledge system is designed to facilitate creating, accessing, and storing millions of pieces of content. What may be even more exciting, the VTBOK participants will have a variety of exciting tools to utilize to their advantage. For example, corporations can build authentic communications and narratives keyed to their various audiences that will help those companies drive revenues, profits, brand awareness and respect. And corporations, universities, entrepreneurs, researchers and teachers can leverage the knowledge for new innovations, new insights, and new successes. Collectors, hobbyists, hams, DIYers (do-it-yourselfers), kit builders, musicians, audio enthusiasts… everyone benefits!

Please contribute documents, images, links, data, etc., and help build the Vacuum Tube Body of Knowledge for the heritage of humankind. You can contribute via electronic upload at this link. Send physical contributions for the Vacuum Tube Body of Knowledge to:

International Vacuum Tube Museum
8547 East Arapahoe Road, Ste J200
Greenwood Village CO 80112