FCoP Cohort Activities
Emulation Sandbox Testing

With the FCoP projects well under way at 6 different locations across the country, many groups are engaging with the complexities of software emulation and the EaaS platform since September 2018. The cohort shares an EaaS issue tracker with predefined issues categories including UI development, software environment configuration, and software installation. (New categories are added as new sets of issues emerge). Cohort members are asked to provide a date and a description of the bug or issue. Klaus Rechert, Emulation Architect for the EaaSI Program and Founder/CEO of OpenSLX, reviews the issues before our bi-weekly Tech Office Hours and assigns a status – completed, under review, or work in progress – and writes a comment about what might be causing the issue, or explains how he resolved the bug. Since September, OpenSLX has resolved 18 different issues included some heavier lifts on the development side such as support for the  Commodore 64 emulator!

Legal Questions

With the FCoP projects well under way at 6 different locations across the country, many groups are engaging with the complexities of software emulaIn early January, the FCoP cohort met (virtually) with Kendra Albert (Cyberlaw Clinic, Harvard Law School), where Albert presented to the cohort about the 1201 exemption the Clinic and SPN participants filed for in 2017. (Oh, and which was granted in 2018!) Many questions for Albert arose, such as:
   + Does requiring a CD for initial installation equal a technological protection measure (TPM)?
   + What happens when dependencies (plug-ins, operating systems, drivers, etc.) cannot be “legally obtained”?
   + Do organizations need to craft an end-user agreement to ensure the use of the software does not go beyond the 1201 exemption’s provisions? Or is the burden on the end-user?
These represented some of the stickier quandaries, but many of the cohort’s questions could be, at least in part, addressed by A Preservationist’s Guide to the DMCA Exemption for Software Preservation, which was written by Albert and Kee Young Lee.

Cohort Projects: Status Reports

University of Arizona

The FCoP members from University of Arizona (while also finding some success with the EaaS emulation interface) have set up a Software Preservation Interest Group on her campus, which has galvanized the Interest Group participants, and drawn interest from the Smithsonian (who is affiliated with the Arizona History Museum in Tucson).

Georgia Tech

In developing their retroTech Online resource, the team at Georgia Tech has identified which software titles from its retroTech Collection will be included in the new web-based resource, and have in addition identified community-building features that will be included their first retroTech Online prototype.

University of Illinois

The team from University of Illinois have interviewed a user who has gone through the process of interacting with collection material in an emulated environment. Their plan is to build on this work and seek out researchers in music composition and music history to go through a similar process.

Living Computers: Museum + Labs

At the Living Computer Museum + Labs, FCoP cohort participants have been digging deep into their collections to find software titles and operating systems that originally ran on the Xerox Alto and the Xerox Star computers (circa 1973-1985). The funny thing is that LCM+L managed to get the Alto emulator (contralto) running in EaaS before the hunt for the associated software happened!

University of Virginia

Meanwhile at the University of Virginia, much work is being done regarding metadata, local description policies for software and born-digital files, and identifying the need for public services and archival training around software preservation and emulation. The UVa FCoP team gave a presentation to campus constituencies on World Digital Preservation Day – introducing folks to software curation, preservation, and emulation. It was a hit! and now the team is planning subsequent outreach activities to engage stakeholders far and wide.  

FCoP Project Milestones

In late December, reviewers began considering applications to the FCoP Research Travel Award. After careful consideration (based on the goals of the FCoP project as a whole), the FCoP project team announced that Dr. Amelia Acker (School of Information, University of Texas at Austin) would receive the $5,000 travel award. Dr. Acker plans to visit the University of Virginia, Living Computer Museum + Labs, and Georgia Tech over the course of the next 12 months. We all look forward to the outcomes of Dr. Acker’s research! Visit our FCoP Research Field Reports page to learn more about Dr. Acker and the research she will be conducting as part of her FCoP Travel Award.