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EaaSY | The Software Preservation Network
EaaSY – Scaling Emulation and Software Preservation Infrastructure
Title:​ EaaSY – Scaling Emulation and Software Preservation Infrastructure

Funders: ​Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Duration: ​January 2017 – June 2020

The goal of EaaSY is to develop a scalable emulation infrastructure to support:

Distributed management– EaaSY will include a network of distributed nodes, each contributing to the projects’ development roadmap in order to augment local digital preservation infrastructure.
Sharing – The EaaSY 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 – EaaSY 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.
emulation  preservation  digitalcuration  sharing  ++++- 
16 days ago by jonippolito
How Adobe Flash, once the face of the web, fell to the brink of obscurity—and why it's worth saving — Quartz
Creators of Flash content can update their work to more modern formats—cartoons and animations can be converted to video, and the vector graphics behind them can be moved to programs like Adobe Illustrator. Video games are more complicated, but can be saved as executables that will run on Windows and OSX.

But websites made entirely in Flash, with their glamorous button animations and fuzzy text rendering, are another beast entirely. Unlike cartoons and games, websites tend not to be thought of as discrete artifacts—when they get updated, previous designs are for the most part overwritten. For those websites, and for cartoons and games that no one bothers to convert to new formats, the future of Flash will depend on the efforts of internet archivists.

This effort is already underway. The Internet Archive and the Archive Team are currently saving Flash files. The website, which allows visitors to access archives of the internet past, provides emulations of vintage browsers, which will be necessary for viewing Flash content should modern browsers stop supporting the plugin entirely. creator Ilya Kreymer says that even running Flash in an emulated browser presents a number of technical hurdles, and his description of those logistics is headache-inducing:

The first [challenge] is finding the right version of Flash for the right browser. Chrome on Linux bundled Flash up to Chrome 53, but changed the distribution for 54, so we were unable to get Flash working with a newer version of Chrome. Chrome 53 may well be the last version of Chrome that we offer with Flash. For Firefox, we are using the latest Adobe Flash plugin, which is still widely available as part of Ubuntu and other common Linux distributions.

Archiving Flash projects en masse is also far from straightforward, Kreymer says. Often, there are a collection of files that make up a Flash presentation, all of which need to be chained together in a particular way for it to work. (Think of it as a mixtape that spans multiple cassettes.) That makes it difficult to write a program that will find and archive the content automatically.
“All media deteriorate”

Archivists and programmers are working on ways around these issues—see: Kreymer’s Webrecorder project—but the preservation of Flash will always rely on many moving parts.
flash  defect  preservation  variablemedia  HTML  network  history  +++++  digitalcuration 
16 days ago by jonippolito
Lost Forever: The Art of Film Preservation - YouTube [2013, 27 minutes]
This documentary short takes you inside the fascinating world of film preservation and restoration. From Gravitas Docufilms. Featuring George Willeman
digitalcuration  movie  storage  preservation  government  +++++ 
23 days ago by jonippolito
Inside the Nuclear Bunker Where America Preserves Its Movie History | WIRED
If the film is rare, highly flammable, and was made before 1951, there's a good chance it'll end up on George Willeman's desk. Or more specifically, in one of his vaults. As the Nitrate Film Vault Manager at The Library of Congress' Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation, Willeman presides over more than 160,000 reels of combustible cinematic treasure, from the original camera negatives of 1903's The Great Train Robbery to the early holdings of big studios like Columbia, Warner Bros, and Universal. And more barrels keep showing up every week.

Arriving at the Library through a combination of private donations and official purchases, these nitrate films represent a small fraction of its 1.4 million movie, television, and video recordings. Still, they're without a doubt some of the oldest and most important. Hence the 124 cold storage vaults that wind their way down the hallway just outside of Willeman's office. "They kind of remind me of the solitary confinement in Papillon," he says before popping open the door to Columbia Pictures' B-film vault. "Very severe looking."
Jared Soares for WIRED

That severity serves a critical purpose, one that even Steve McQueen would likely approve of. While cellulose nitrate can be an extremely robust long-term storage medium (there's an experimental film from Edison's Laboratory here that dates back to 1891), it does have some unique and undesirable properties. Namely, it explodes. And decays. And catches fire. All with surprisingly little provocation. Also, it doesn't need oxygen to burn (it conveniently supplies its own), can't be put out once it does start burning, and it exudes nitric oxide as it deteriorates, which causes an autocatalytic reaction that hastens decay even more.
movie  history  preservation  digitalcuration  storage  +++++ 
24 days ago by jonippolito

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