Preserving Access to the World’s Digital Memory

With support from the Alfred P. Sloan and Mellon Foundations, Yale University Library’s EaaSI program is conquering digital obsolescence for future generations of researchers

Since 2018, the Digital Preservation Services team at Yale University Library has led the Emulation as a Service Infrastructure (EaaSI) project, an initiative to scale access to emulation technology across universities and institutions. “Emulation” refers to the process of recreating obsolete computer hardware with software so that users can run old operating systems and applications that would otherwise be incompatible with modern computers. It is a key technology for preserving digitized collections and for ensuring that legacy digital content remains accessible to researchers for hundreds of years into the future.

This fall, the EaaSI program facilitated Yale’s first donation to the Arctic World Archive, a repository for the world's most treasured digital artifacts. The data vault is set deep in a decommissioned coal mine in Svalbard, Norway and designed to withstand any conceivable global disaster. Yale’s digital deposit contains a sample of Windows and Apple computing environments, statistical analysis software, and everyday office software. This contribution sits alongside deposits from sixty other institutions across twenty-seven nations, including the National Museum of Norway’s digitized version of Edvard Munch’s The Scream and the Vatican Library’s scans of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Read more about the EaaSI project.

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