Welcome to 2020! We hope that everyone enjoyed the winter holidays and a peaceful transition to the New Year. As we look ahead to the year ahead, we are thrilled to share a sampling of Software Preservation Network activities, accomplishments, and resources from 2019:

In February, the Paris Call for Software Source Code as Heritage for Sustainable Development was released. Kendra Albert (Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic) represented the Software Preservation Network in the expert group that wrote The Call.

March through May The SPN Steering Committee undertook the task of analyzing and revising SPN’s strategic goals. Dianne Dietrich (Cornell University) and Nancy McGovern (MIT) published a blog post about the process and the results.

In April, we released recordings and transcripts for all 7 episodes of the Legal Tools for Software Preservation Webinar Series. The series covered workflows, international implications, and so much more!

In JulyEaaSI released the Public Sandbox featuring operating systems and software from over 20 years of OSS development! Countless users have since played, tested, & provided feedback. We invite you to explore the EaaSI Sandbox for yourself. Stay tuned in early 2020 for the release of all four webinars in the Intro to EaaSI Webinar Series, which ran from July – October. Topics included

“Why EaaSI? A System Overview?” (July),

“Legal and Institutional Policy Framework for EaaSI” (August),

“EaaSI Metadata Model and Wikidata” (September), and “EaaSI Configuration Workflows: (October).

From July to August, we had the privilege of sharing software preservation stories from our community. In a series of 5 blog posts, the following members spoke about their programs, their accomplishments, and their challenges:

Vicky Steeves at NYU described several exciting projects, including Saving Data Journalism, Enhancing Services to Preserve New Forms of Scholarship, and Investigating and Archiving the Scholarly Git Experience.

Joe Carrano at MIT dug into the rewards, challenges, questions, and conundrums of software preservation.

Sophia Lafferty-Hess at Duke University described what it looks like to get a software preservation program off the ground and how collective action across departments and institutions built their capacity for this work.

Finally, Chip German and Sherry Lake at the University of Virginia discussed the form and function of UVA’s software preservation program, including their involvement with both FCoP and EaaSI.

Beginning in September, we were delighted to kick off the FCoP Cohort Reflections blog series. The following cohort members reflected on their experience thus far with the “Fostering Communities of Practice” project:

Jonathan Farbowitz at the Guggenheim wrote about the range of technology used in the museum’s computer-based artworks, disk imaging workflows, and metadata cataloging for hardware and software.

Cynde Moya at Living Computers reflected on emulating the “Middle Ages” of computing over regular internet speeds, testing disk images with EaaSI, and working with metadata for software and emulation environments.

Wendy Hagenmaier and Maura Gerke from Georgia Tech characterized their work with retroTECH as “skunkworks in the library”, building bridges between data and metadata siloes, and illuminating the people at the heart of Georgia Tech’s technological pasts.

Tracy Popp at the University of Illinois wrote about emulating proprietary digital audio and music notation software, local digital format registry, and formalizing and scaling software curation workflows.

Monique Lassere at the University of Arizona described preserving and providing access to software as a “jigsaw puzzle” – putting each piece in place in order to get a working picture of the objective and working collectively to pool resources and knowledge so it gets easier over time.

Also in September, the Software Preservation Network joined an amicus brief filed with the US Supreme Court in a case related to copyright & state sovereign immunity! For more, hear from SPN’s Law & Policy Advisor, Brandon Butler, about why this case matters for software preservation.

In October, SPN was honored to receive the 2019 National Digital Stewardship Alliance Organizational Innovation Award for the work of our affiliated projects (Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in Sofware Preservation and EaaSI, in particular) and critical emphasis on issues of community engagement and organizational sustainability. According to the NDSA Awards Committee: “This work provides an extremely useful case study to the stewardship community of the importance of thoughtful and iterative self-reflection and refinement of organizational strategies, goals, processes, and initiatives to ensure the continued relevance, value, and persistence of programmatic efforts. SPN offers a model for digital stewardship that combines steadfast vision with flexibility and an emphasis on the evolving needs of the organization’s constituents.”

In December, SPN assisted with the design and release the Copyright Guide for Scientific Software developed by the Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic and the Harvard | Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Read, Download, Share! You can also check out the December blog post by Michael Olson at Stanford University Libraries, the first in a series where EaaSI node teams reflect on the first year of the EaaSI Network.

We are so grateful to be part of the process of the Software Preservation Network’s community cultivation process. Looking forward to another great year!

Preferred citation:

Meyerson, Jessica. SPN 2019 Highlights. Software Preservation Network. https://www.softwarepreservationnetwork.org/spn-2019-highlights/