Emulation is now a practical strategy for preservation and access of software and  digital objects in stewarding research data collections. A growing software  preservation community is defining good/best practice and developing open  source tools that utilize emulation as a central component of software  preservation and digital access workflows​. ​The ​ Scaling Emulation as a Service   Infrastructure (EaaSI) ​ program of work led by Yale University and the ​Fostering  a Community of Practice in Software Preservation (FCoP)​ (IMLS grant  RE-95-17-0058-17) project led by CalPoly University, affiliated efforts of the  Software Preservation Network (SPN), are both focused on the scalability of  software preservation, emulation services and the integration of these practices  into in varying operational contexts.

The EaaSI program of work is developing a scaleable suite of services that  enable easy access to research computing environments and builds on existing  open scholarly infrastructure including open repository frameworks, Wikidata,  2 ​  |   Title (short form)   Open Science Framework, and the Software Heritage archive. EaaSI services  allow researchers, peer reviewers, and publishers to verify the replicability or  reproducibility of existing work.

Running in parallel to EaaSI, the FCoP project cohort is attempting to  understand what capacity building for software preservation looks like within  and across different types of cultural stewardship organizations. Cohort  participants have documented the impact of software preservation activities on  each stage of the data curation lifecycle: description (“What additional metadata  is required to enable long-term meaningful reuse of software and  software-dependent objects?”), preservation planning (“How do my agreements,  policies and workflows need to change to enable both software preservation and  emulation?”), community watch & participation (“Which software preservation  and emulation activities have to take place locally, and reflect the unique  organizational context v. which activities are better suited at the consortial  level?”), and curation & preservation (“How do I approach curation activities  differently if my organization wants to undertake software preservation and  emulation services?”).

During this workshop, leaders and participants from both projects will present  concepts in a way that fosters attendee engagement through demonstrations, use  case examples and hands-on exercises that convey technical knowledge about  emulation services and encourage organizational reflection, policy development,  and capacity-building. EaaSI and FCoP facilitators will provide real-world  examples of emulation at their organizations. The workshop will empower  participants to envision ways that software preservation and emulation impact  their current and future work.

Our intended audience is anyone who is curious about the work of software  preservation and emulation in a research data curation context, whether they are  new to the topic or have started to investigate this approach within their own  institutions. Collaborative software preservation and emulation services as  exemplified through the Scaling Emulation and Software Preservation  Infrastructure (EaaSI) enable broader access and use of preserved software and  software-dependent digital objects. This collaborative model may lower access  barriers to emulated environments which require significant resource investment  that many smaller or under-resourced organizations may not have. Through the  FCoP Cohort model, documentation and example workflows representing a wide  range of collections and communities may also encourage and support collection  managers working in under-resourced institutions to undertake access through  emulation and surface digital collections which may otherwise remain inaccessible.

8:30 – 09:00 Registration and Arrival Coffee Hogan Mezzanine (Level 4)
09:00 – 10:30 Workshop 1: Overview of Software Preservation and Emulation in a Research Data Context Hogan Mezzanine 1 (Level 4)
10:30 – 11:00 AM Coffee/Tea Break Hogan Mezzanine (Level 4)
11:00 – 12:30 Workshop 1: Use Cases and Demonstrations Hogan Mezzanine 1 (Level 4)
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch Hogan Mezzanine (Level 4)
13:30 – 15:00 Workshop 1: Envisioning Future Services for Software Preservation and Emulation Hogan Mezzanine 1 (Level 4)
15:00 – 15:30 PM Coffee/Tea Break Hogan Mezzanine (Level 4)
15:30 – 17:00 Workshop 1: Report-Outs and Wrap Up Hogan Mezzanine 1 (Level 4)

Event Objectives:

  • Present concepts in a way that fosters attendee engagement through demonstrations, use  case examples and hands-on exercises that 
  • Convey technical knowledge about  emulation services
  • Encourage organizational reflection, policy development,  and capacity-building
  • Share experiences across the Fostering Communities of Practice and Scaling Software Preservation and Emulation project cohorts – including providing real-world examples of emulation at their organizations. 
  • Empower colleagues in research data management and curation to envision ways that software preservation and emulation impact their current and future work.  
  • Engage a broader set of stakeholders in thinking through our capacity to support software preservation at the organizational and consortial levels 
  • Understand the current barriers to participation in software preservation and emulation
  • Facilitate hands-on learning about emulation

Attendee Outcomes:

  • Awareness of FCoP and EaaSI project goals and deliverables
  • Understanding of how software preservation and emulation fit into your organization’s curation goals – what activities make more sense for organizations to tackle and what activities make more sense to focus on consortially
  • Resources and actionable next steps for pursuing discussions regarding software curation within your research, practice and/or organization

Supplementary materials:

Preferred citation:

Popp, Tracy. Work, Lauren. Lassere, Monique. Gates, Ethan. Meyerson, Jessica. (2020, February 17). Preparation and Process: Workshop on Software Preservation and Emulation for Research Data. Software Preservation Network. https://www.softwarepreservationnetwork.org/preparation-and-process-software-preservation-and-emulation-for-research-data/