My serious advice is to download a front-end like LinCVS. I'm fine for most of the basic CVS commands, but for the rare-used and more complex ones like import (i believe import is what you want), I find it much easier to point and click. As for backups, CVS is just a directory structure, so you should be able to tar up the existing cvsroot for the backup.
red-book is good...check google for a url.
Link is even better:
Tom Vu is right. You can just manipulate the CVS repository pretty much anyway you like. Tar and gz it for backup. You can copy the contents of it a new repository. You can rename the directories as necessary or put them in subdirectories if you need to reorganize things. It's pretty straight forward.
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