Professional Practicum

Category: Computer Science Published: Monday, 25 May 2015

For the entire calendar year 2012, corresponding to the academic semesters: Spring, Summer and Fall 2012, I was a research assistant for Dr. Geoffrey Brown  on the Computer Science Department at Indiana University, Bloomington. My main responsability was to supervise a team of undergraduate students in building automated scripts for legacy software. This project is now finished and you can read an abstract of the published paper next. You can also browse the project's repository here and also here, and finally you can visit the conference where this project was published at The ninth annual iPres conference on digital preservation hosted by the University of Toronto iSchool (Faculty of Information) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Access to many born-digital materials can only be accomplished economically through the use of emulation where contemporaneous software is executed on an emulated machine. For example, many thousands of CD-ROMs have been published containing proprietary software that cannot be reasonably recreated. While emulation is proven technology and is widely used to run both current and obsolete versions of Windows and Unix operating systems, it suffers a fatal flaw as a preservation strategy by requiring future users to be facile with today's operating systems and software.

We have previously advocated assisted emulation as a strategy to alleviate this shortcoming. With assisted emulation, a preserved object is stored along with scripts designed to control a legacy software environment and access to the object enabled through a helper application. In this paper we significantly extend this work by examining, for a large data set, both the cost of creating such scripts and the common problems that these scripts must resolve.

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