Scaling Emulation as a Service Infrastructure (EaaSI)
The use of born-digital information requires ongoing support of underlying software that supports its application; a dependency that is challenged by the complexity of digital environments and the inherent obsolescence of developing technologies. In response, many organizations are engaged in the collection and preservation of software. However, no single organization can collect all of the software titles that might be required in order to access the contents of their existing collections. Additionally, acquisition alone does not guarantee software will function as planned, now or in the future. Preserved software and the digital objects it supports may remain inaccessible despite our best efforts.
The Scaling Emulation and Software Preservation Infrastructure (EaaSI) project builds on previous work by Yale University Library and elsewhere to apply the Emulation-as-a-Service (EaaS) model for access and use of preserved software and digital objects. The project is focused on developing a distributed, community-driven architecture that complements existing digital preservation infrastructure. This project supports efforts by Software Preservation Network (SPN) and Educopia Institute to address key aspects of software preservation including legal advocacy, research about local software preservation needs, institutional capacity building for software preservation, collection development, professional development and training, and workflow recommendations.
The goal of the “Emulation as a Service Infrastructure” (EaaSI) project at Yale University Library is to develop a scalable emulation service to support the following:
- Distributed management– EaaSI will include a network of distributed nodes, each contributing to the projects’ development roadmap in order to augment local digital preservation infrastructure;
- Sharing – The EaaSI architecture will facilitate an opt-in model of within-network sharing of software images and configured environments. Yale University Library will pre-populate the network with at least 3000 pre-configured software applications running in configured software environments;
- Discovery – Software and configured environments will be discoverable through the use and integration of the Wikidata for Digital Preservation web-portal and its associated data model;
- Access – EaaSI is developing services to support several access use cases including APIs for networked sharing of configured environments among cultural memory/research institutions, virtual reading rooms, reproducibility in the computationally dependent sciences, sharing CD-ROM collections. Educopia Institute is assisting the EaaSI project with community cultivation, business planning, and sustainability scenario development for the emulation service.
- Yale University