EaaSI Virtual Conference Appearances

#WeMissiPRES (International Conference on Digital Preservation)

Kat Thornton and our collaborator Ross Spencer presented “Siegfried and Wikidata, together at last!” at the #WeMissiPRES virtual event, a lightning talk on their efforts to integrate a Wikidata harvester into the Siegfried file identification tool. The latest release of Siegfried can now pull file format information directly from Wikidata – check it out!

Digital Library Forum

Jessica and Ethan co-facilitated a roundtable panel on the topic of “Emulation in Action” at this year’s virtual DLF 2020 Forum on Nov. 10, highlighting EaaSI use cases and thoughtful contributions from Kris Kasianovitz, Ron Nakao and Michael Olson from Stanford Libraries and Cynde Moya, postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Transformative Media Technologies at Swinburne University of Technology. You can check out the shared notes from the session here, and check the DLF 2020 Aviary page for the publicly available recording, transcript, and slides!

Coalition of Networked Information

The Yale Software Preservation team (Seth, Ethan and Euan) also presented an EaaSI update at CNI’s Fall Meeting on Dec. 3, keeping the Coalition updated on our program’s progress and Phase 2 goals. Hands-on demos showcased how EaaSI can provide public access at scale (via Yale University Library’s upcoming catalog emulation viewer), automate and integrate with other tools (via the UVI API) and push the envelope with new features that could have a broad impact on web archiving and research reproducibility (emulation of computer networks).

EaaSI Resource Highlights

We’re pretty used to thinking about both the past and the future at the same time in the EaaSI program (emulating Lotus 1-2-3 in 2020 will do that to you). Now that we’re over two years into our own work, there’s plenty we’ve already done that might find a new audience tomorrow. To that end, we’ve launched a new campaign of EaaSI Resource Highlights, directing the attention of specific communities to EaaSI resources on the SPN  website and providing some context on why it is relevant to their community.

Resource Highlights go out monthly and range from staff blog posts that connect software curation and emulation to current events to capacity building templates that provide structured activities for digital curation practitioners to reports from our EaaSI partner organizations on their own emulation explorations. Keep an eye out and share widely!! 

  • Our Resource Highlight for September was an activity called “Exploring our Emulation Environment.” Just like a behavioral biologist venturing into a nearby forest to explore, observe, and describe the family structures of squirrel families > or just like humanists use close and distant forms of reading to unearth insights that enable new interpretations of a text….this exercise asks practitioners to put on their observational goggles and give close examination to the creator and curatorial decisions inscribed at each layer of our emulation environment. The “Exploring our Emulation Environment” capacity building template includes a clear set of objectives, a list of any requirements of supplies, instructions on how to organize the activity (for a larger or smaller group), and the actual worksheet where group discussion about the environment(s) can be documented.
  • Our October Resource Highlight was the 2019 “EaaSI Webinar Series,” which consists of four different episode, each of which tackles a different facet of EaaSI’s approach to emulation. You can view entire episodes and download transcripts for each episode in the “EaaSI Webinar Series” using the following links:
  • Our November Resource Highlight, a blog post by our partners at Carnegie Mellon University entitled “Historical Quasi-Artifacts and Interdepartmental Teams.” This post reflects on the importance of ensuring that a broad range of organizational functions and perspectives are represented in discussions about software collection development and emulation service design. Read the full post here: https://bit.ly/cmu-quasi-historical

EaaSI Roundtable – January 2021

On January 29, Ethan and Jessica will lead a roundtable discussion with some of our favorite SPN colleagues on “What We Talk About When We Talk About Emulation” – an in-depth conversation highlighting the social aspects of advocating for emulation and software preservation.

The roundtable will feature Tracy Popp (University of Illinois), Eric Kaltman (California State University, Channel Islands) and Fernando Rios (University of Arizona) – registration for the one-hour virtual event is already sold out (!!!) but the recording and transcript will be publicly available soon after!

New Semesters, New Student Staff

It was once again time to hire new student staff for our Software Emulation Configuration team at Yale for the fall semester (thanks to our graduated M.P.H. students, Kevin and Leo, who did amazing work creating new environments for the network over the summer)! Our returning teammate Zoe Sinclair (‘22) was joined by Sam Essig (‘21), Abby Lee (‘21) and Ivan Kapkoi (M.B.A. ‘21). Our student team diligently sifts through computer history via EaaSI to update metadata about software (including compatible file formats, configurable languages, and more), perform quality control on environments, and troubleshoot installers. Look for the fabulous screenshots they collect in our running #softwareoftheweek on the SPN Twitter account!

EaaSI Phase 2: Who are we, What are our goals, and How do we work towards those goals together

As we head into the second phase of the EaaSI program, the program team has used this inflection point as an opportunity to review the goals of the program, the services we provide, and our commitment to certain principles that inform how we work. One goal of this new phase is to transition from a mindset of a short-term project, determine what EaaSI looks like as a sustained service, and how this impacts our operations. Beginning in June, Educopia Institute facilitated a series of meetings to examine the long-term vision of EaaSI, the expectations of our team and stakeholders, and our collaborative practices. The EaaSI program charter was updated to reflect the findings of the meetings. The document defines a clear mission and vision for EaaSI, plots a roadmap through our grant-funded phases and beyond, and outlines workflows that are essential to the team’s work together. We are happy to share the charter with the community and welcome any feedback.

Looking ahead to 2021, we are thrilled to begin the EaaSI Hosted Edition pilot program with the SPN membership. We see the hosted edition as an integral component of EaaSI’s future, a version of the service we can provide and support to many more organizations, and we can’t wait to see what the participants have to say about the service. As we look towards establishing a comprehensive set of EaaSI services, the information gathered during this pilot, and through continued support of our local edition nodes, will serve as the basis of EaaSI’s service model and business plan. We’ve already begun work with Educopia exploring the many options available to us and will continue this work to determine what model best fits the EaaSI team and our users and allows us to sustain the program long term. 

On the development front, we continue to focus on the development of the first release of the hosted edition. This release is more than a port of the current edition and will include new features we’ve been working on over the last year, including better user management and authentication, the addition of the “Emulation Project” interface for pre-configuring environments before emulation, and the first iteration of a remote access framework. What follows this release throughout the rest of 2021 is still being sorted, but likely targets include the implementation of a comprehensive metadata model, support for emulation of the Android OS (our first mobile system) and computing networks, and the integration of UVI automation services in the EaaSI UI. We will share more information on these new features as we plan and implement them, so stay tuned!

Preferred citation:

Gates, Ethan. Anderson , Seth. (2020, December 15). EaaSI Update October - November 2020. Software Preservation Network. https://www.softwarepreservationnetwork.org/eaasi-update-oct-nov-2020/