The Software Preservation Network endeavors to ensure that cultural memory institutions and related entities understand the rapidly changing landscape of software preservation so they may make informed decisions about their collections, workflows, and service portfolio. We do this through a diverse set of activities that exist along the Software Preservation Network Research Continuum. Through our affiliated projects and the focused work of the Research-in-Practice Working Group, SPN infuses all of its work with a powerful combination of curiosity and rigor. 

Working Group

In support of the Software Preservation Network’s (SPN) mission to preserve software through community engagement, infrastructure support, and knowledge generation, the Research Working Group facilitates research projects that bring individuals and organizations with diverse perspectives and interests together to document and analyze the landscape of software preservation and access. The Working Group aims to explore frameworks for sustainable, transparent, community-based research and to advocate for innovative models of research that accelerates practice. Research Working Group members also play a crucial advisory role in research activities initiated by other SPN Working Groups.

Coordinator: Seth Erickson, Penn State University

Members: Jessica Benner, Carnegie Mellon University; Wendy Hagenmaier, Georgia Tech; Christa Williford, Council for Library and Information Resources; Lauren Work, University of Virginia

Past Members: Katherine Thornton, Yale University; Alexandria Chassanoff, MIT Libraries; Cynde Moya, Living Computers: Museum + Labs; Monique Lassere, University of Arizona; Eric Kaltman, California State University Channel Islands

Current goals:

  • Overall goal: The Service Provider Study is a survey and interviews aimed at documenting how cultural heritage organizations are approaching software preservation services. The Research Working Group aims for the study to be repeated every five years, to map the evolution of software preservation services over time.
  • Complete Analysis from Service Provider Study and a codebook presenting major themes, theme relationships, and supporting data that will provide the basis of our written report.
  • Draft and submit for publication our final report in late 2020
  • Launch research toolkit comprised of refined process documents developed over the course of the project, with the intention of sharing for the benefit of future SPN research. These include data collection protocols, consent agreements, survey/interview instruments, analysis workflows, and the codebook.


Supporting Software Preservation Services in Research and Memory Organizations

Abstract Supporting Software Preservation Services in Research and Memory Organizations identifies concepts, skill sets, barriers, and future directions related to software preservation work. Although definitions of “software” can vary across preservation contexts, the study found that there appears to be …Continue Supporting Software Preservation Services in Research and Memory Organizations

Reports, Resources