The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at the University of Illinois documents America’s local and national music history and its diverse cultures through the collection and preservation of archival records and historical artifacts in multiple media formats. The team’s project aimed to improve access to files recovered from born-digital media created by contemporary music composers.
The FCoP project investigated the development of emulated environments where composer’s born-digital files could run in as close to a native environment as possible. We are also interested in scaling this environment to meet the needs of future collections of composers’ born-digital content. With creation dates ranging from 1992-2012 (a lifetime in computing years), the collections present a range of challenges for access and emulation, from proprietary software and limited backwards-compatibility, to the complexities of institutional policies, procedures, and workflow required to do the work.
The University of Illinois team created a vast repository of knowledge and documentation through this project, building robust workflows and developing best practices for curators and donors of computer-based files—a necessity given that planning effective preservation and emulation projects begins long before acquisition occurs.
The team also presented their work in a number of forums, including the Society of American Archivists conference, Code4Lib, and to interest groups within the University of Illinois. This commitment to sharing insights and making the work of preservation visible helped develop the conversation around operationalizing software preservation and emulation.
- For born digital audio works (like music by some contemporary composers), recorded output is not enough to demonstrate the creative context—in these cases, providing access to composition files can provide this extra context and insight. Having access to these files might be compared to access to a “composer’s notebook,” and may allow researchers to gain additional information about what creative choices were made when composing or producing audio works.
- Emulation as a Service can provide support of some aspects of the technical platform for emulation, but there is still local work centered on policies, procedures and workflow which require commitment and engagement, particularly in a distributed environment such as a University Library.
- Formalizing and scaling workflows is important and labor intensive. Most of the methods used within the scope of the project were in various stages of development prior to the project. However, involvement in the project has emphasized the importance of formalizing these steps in continuing to build access capabilities and scaling the work to explicitly identify roles and tasks.
- Managing upward and advocating in an environment where there are multiple competing priorities and ever fewer resources is an ongoing challenge. A sample preservation project like this one can be used to advocate for more staffing resources through demonstrate what additional preservation and access might look like if we have more resources to dedicate to processing and curation.
Involvement with the FCoP cohort has afforded and required prioritization of my attention and resources to closely engage with software preservation and emulation concerns. Our institution is steadily acquiring born-digital collections some of which include content created in complex, domain-specific …Continue FCoP 2020 Cohort Reflections: University of Illinois
Staff from the University Library at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign joined the “Fostering a Community of Practice: Software Preservation” cohort for the opportunity to focus on continued development on preservation of and access to born digital collections held in …Continue FCoP 2019 Cohort Reflections: University of Illinois
This spreadsheet is used to capture input or metadata fields from several other assets where information about software or file formats is captured. The intent is that this document can be used to analyze common fields found within the various …Continue University of Illinois Metadata Capture Locations
Document providing some additional explanation on metadata fields found within the 2019_softwareCollection_Inventory_WorkingCopy.xlsx spreadsheet. Software spreadsheet may have evolved since writing.
This spreadsheet was developed by FCoP, and completed by the University of Illinois cohort team. It contains metadata fields established by cohort leaders.
Project plan for managing the Hembrough software collection donation. The plan is divided into four stages, and includes metadata and rationale for choices made in metadata capture and spreadsheet organization. This is a reference document.
Example of a spreadsheet used to capture metadata about software titles. Content is primarily from the Hemborough software donation collection stewarded by Digital Preservation Services.
Template for creating a README file to include in a software preservation submission information package.
This document is intended to serve as a master workflow for software preservation practice at the University of Illinois. It outlines the major task categories of acquiring, cataloging, structuring, imaging, quality assurance (QA)/quality control (QC) testing and ingesting the software …Continue University of Illinois Software Preservation Procedures Workflow
This fillable spreadsheet assists end-users in planning and documenting an install workflow.
This document assists end-users in navigating the Digital Content Format Registry. This is intended for those who want to review the registry entries. The Digital Content Format Registry is open to the public – no login is required. Authentication is …Continue University of Illinois Digital Content Format Registry
This document identifies three classes of digital curation action events (media reformatting, software acquisition, digital content format research request) and next steps to starting the curation action.
Addendum to the deed of gift for electronic records. This document is intended to further disclose issues which a donor may not have with regard to donating their collections and prompting for an explicit permission\denial in undertaking digital curation work. …Continue University of Illinois Addendum To Deed of Gift
This document discloses key points to donors as they consider donating their digital materials. Intended to provide transparency and aid in informed consent of content donation, it should be part of a pre-acquisition workflow.
This document provides information on how content and media that a curator is interested in acquiring may be evaluated for preservation concerns. Includes assessing for file format challenges and software preservation and emulation concerns.
This document provides additional local information on the use of EaaSI at the University of Illinois libraries.
This informational document provides a brief overview of emulation, past and present forays into its use and general approach to future use of emulation at the University of Illinois libraries.
Conferences & Presentations
Slide deck from the FCoP cohort’s presentation “Cohort4Lib” at the 2020 Code4Lib conference.
Presentation notes for talk given about local involvement in and advocacy for FCoP and EaaSI as part of Preservation Week events.
Slide deck for talk given about local involvement in and advocacy for FCoP and EaaSI as part of Preservation Week events.
Presentation notes for talk given at the University of Illinois Data Interest Group about local involvement in and advocacy for FCoP and EaaSI.
Slide deck for talk given at the University of Illinois Data Interest Group about local involvement in and advocacy for FCoP and EaaSI.
Notes from a collaborative presentation (with University of Virginia) presented at the 2019 Society of American Archivists conference.
Slide deck from a collaborative presentation (with University of Virginia) presented at the 2019 Society of American Archivists conference.
This completed worksheet describes the University of Illinois’s scope and outcomes for their Collections and Software Inventory. Information gathered during this exercise includes: Data sources referenced or searched to complete the inventory Difficulties encountered while attempting to locate software that …Continue University of Illinois FCoP Software Collection Inventory Worksheet