Preservation Project

Category: Projects Published: Sunday, 24 May 2015

This project is lead by Dr. Geoffrey Brown on the Computer Science Department at Indiana University, Bloomington. This project is now finished. You can browse a repository here and also here. This work 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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