Somehow we are already roughly halfway through the EaaSI program of work’s second round of grant funding from the Mellon and Sloan foundations – which means the team is hard at work planning for 2022 and beyond. Our daily progress improving the functionality and service design of the EaaSI platform has been significantly boosted in recent months thanks to the SPN community and a quickly-expanding group of digital practitioners putting emulation into action!
Welcome to our Configuration and Documentation Analyst!
The team is THRILLED to announce that we’ve expanded our staff and starting this month we are joined by Claire Fox as EaaSI’s new Configuration and Documentation Analyst.
Claire is a familiar face around these parts – in addition to interning with the EaaSI program at Yale in the summer of 2019, you may know her as current co-coordinator of the SPN Metadata Working Group. She is a 2020 graduate of the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program at NYU and recently wrapped up a year-long appointment as a Post-Graduate Fellow on the Regional Media Legacies project. As part of the EaaSI team, she will lead the day-to-day efforts of our Software Emulation Configuration student team at Yale and help us develop more shareable workflows and metadata.
Please join us in a big SPN round of applause for Claire!
Updates from the Hosted Emulation Services Pilot
After spending several months of capacity-building exercises and assessment, SPN members participating in our 2021 hosted emulation service pilot program finally got their hands on the new-look, cloud-hosted edition of the EaaSI stack in May, and have spent the summer dutifully testing, filing bug reports, giving feedback, and generally exploring the possibilities of emulation-as-a-service for their organization. With a whopping 14 SPN members involved, our community of practice is bigger and more varied than ever, and we look forward to a fall season with an opportunity to put EaaSI in front of faculty, students, data curators, donors, catalogers, public services and more.
There will be much more to share in the coming months as we gather more hard data on usage, document specific use cases and demos, and assess improvements to EaaSI’s technical and staffing capacity. In the meantime, you can check out the poster recently presented by Ethan Gates at SAA’s ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2021 virtual conference, which shares some of our most noteworthy observations and conclusions so far, including:
- Emulation services can not be siloed: Digital and software preservation practitioners are not going to get emulation services implemented at their organizations without considerable help. Pilot participants identified a broad range of colleagues and related services that intersect with the workflows where emulation would be useful, from IT to data services, legal council, cataloging, subject liaisons and more. “Lone arranger” will never work as a service model.
- More collaborative, broad-reaching software preservation efforts are required, particularly around metadata: This will come as no shock to the SPN community, but the pilot has emphasized the need for structured, shareable metadata about software holdings and dependencies in digital collections, particularly with implications for emulation and EaaSI. Without such coordinated frameworks, redundant acquisition, description, and configuration is highly likely even within a group effort like the EaaSI Network. The efforts of the SPN Metadata Working Group and the SMRF guidelines have been highlighted as a critical step forward.
EaaSI Community Forum
In case you missed it – back in January, EaaSI launched an online Community Forum, where *anyone* can track and join in our conversations about emulation, disk imaging, software preservation, EaaSI program progress and the platform itself. If you can’t wait for the next issue of Stacktrace to hear what’s going on with EaaSI, you can always check the Project Announcements section to keep track of the latest development updates, resource publications, conference appearances and more!
EaaSI Training Modules
Over the past year we’ve been releasing a series of EaaSI Training Modules to introduce users and onlookers to important concepts in emulation and key features of the EaaSI platform. We recently published the fourth module (“Emulation, Virtualization, Containerization”), bringing us halfway through the planned series! You can check out all of the Modules on the EaaSI Resources page of the SPN website.