In the first week of April, the EaaSI project team convened (in-person and virtually) with its newest member, PortalMedia, to kickoff planning for updates to the EaaSI system’s user experience and interface. PortalMedia comes to us from the great state of Wisconsin, where they’ve completed design and development work for the Library of Congress, National Wildlife Federation, and University of Wisconsin – Gibbs Lab. In meetings with PortalMedia’s designers and developers, we looked back on the EaaSI program’s planning and work-to-date and looked ahead to a vision of the system’s future look and feel. Team members and stakeholders from Yale University Library and the Beinecke Library participated in brainstorming and requirements gathering exercises to identify use cases and user stories. With plenty of information to process, PortalMedia is drafting sitemaps, wireframes, and user personas that will inform the development to follow in coming months.
Semantic Architect Kat Thornton is continuing her work on development and implementation of shape expressions for digital preservation metadata in Wikidata. A draft schema for configured computing environments is complete, which will allow us to test conformance of emulation environment properties in Wikidata. Kat has also been working to improve and expand description on items of strategic importance to our efforts in EaaSI, including records for emulators and file systems.
Environment Configuration and Documentation
Project Analyst Ethan Gates continues to lead our team of students in the configuration and documentation of computing environments for sharing to the EaaSI Network. The first phase of this work is focused on on office productivity and Adobe applications, which we hope will enable access to many documents and PDF files.
In addition to installation and configuration of the software applications, student workers are gathering detailed documentation on the software’s production (e.g., version number, developer, publication date, etc.), system requirements, and file format capabilities. This information provides us with useful information for discovery as well as automation of system functionality. By knowing what formats an application can read/write, we will be able to recommend or automatically choose compatible environments for files submitted to the service. For more on this work, check out EaaSI PI Euan Cochrane’s blog post for the DPC. And also don’t miss the recent blog post from our students, reflecting on their experience working with EaaSI and old software.
Klaus and Oleg at OpenSLX spent recent weeks improving the security of EaaSI’s backend interfaces and developing functionality for sharing and retrieval of software installation media and metadata through the EaaSI Network. Security updates should be released to our beta testers soon and we hope to release software sharing over the summer.
EaaSI Public Software Portal
Over the next six weeks, the entire project team is focused on the preparation of the EaaSI Public Software Portal. This version of the EaaSI software will provide public access to sample emulation environments featuring free and open-source operating systems and applications. Users will be able to explore these systems and applications, interact with sample files, and even play some games (Freeciv!). We plan to use the Portal as an opportunity to stress test and monitor the performance of the system with more user traffic than we’ve previously encountered.
The team is hard at work updating the software and UI, preparing sample environments, and drafting user resources in time for a mid-July launch.
Come to our workshop!
If you haven’t seen the announcement, we will be hosting a software preservation and emulation workshop at the Austin Public Library on August 2, 2019 in advance of the 2019 SAA Conference. Jessica Meyerson, EaaSI’s Communications and Outreach Lead, is busy at work planning and coordinating the work of our incredible lineup and you should join us.