Keeping Emulation Environments Portable
Start date: Feb 1, 2009,
End date: Feb 29, 2012
KEEP creates portable emulators enabling access to and use of digital objects stored on outdated media. The technology is being tested on early computer games.KEEP is developing an Emulation Access Platform enabling the accurate rendering of objects produced on obsolete machines, so that they can be securely accessed in the long term. The project is thus addressing the problems related to transferring digital objects stored on outdated computer media (such as floppy discs) to current storage devices in order to reduce the risk of data loss resulting from technical obsolescence.The KEEP emulation tools will be flexible enough to handle both static and dynamic digital objects designed for a wide variety of computer systems: text, sound, and image files; multimedia documents, websites, databases, videogames etc.Research involves the specification of file formats and the production of transfer tools exploited within the framework, and the consideration of possible legal and technical issues.Being aware of the fact that emulation software itself is prone to digital obsolescence, the KEEP consortium plans to create a portable platform that can be run on any possible device and be implemented to future computer systems. The emulation framework will also be distributed as open-source software so that the emulation community as a whole can contribute to its further development.In addition to producing a software package, the project will improve understanding about how to integrate emulation-based solutions with an operational electronic deposit system. Existing metadata models will be researched and guidelines will be developed for mapping digital objects to emulated manifestations. Through this work, KEEP aims at creating a foundation for the next generation of permanent access strategies based on emulation.Although primarily aimed at stakeholders in cultural heritage, such as memory institutions and (computer games) museums, the Emulation Access Platform should also be able to serve the needs of a wider range of organisations and individuals.Intermediate ResultsDuring the first two years, the project team has undertaken research into media carriers and available transfer tools, and into the state-of-the-art in emulation. Also, a user requirements analysis was carried out in the National libraries of France, Germany and the Netherlands, and a design has been formulated for creating flexible, user-friendly emulation services, media carriers and media transfer tools. Furthermore, an investigation was carried out into the potential legal issues arising when copying information from original data carriers, and a study about metadata standards and approaches in Europe has been produced.
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