Emulation Framework [EF]


The following organisations are currently using the Emulation Framework:


Tessella's Safety Deposit Box, SDB for short, delivers a range of services for storing and preserving critical digital information in a highly reliable yet accessible manner. The information that SDB manages can always be found, whatever technology changes occur in the future; it is a storage system where digital knowledge is written, not manipulated (accidental deletion or changes are not possible); it is separate from existing operational systems, scalable from small departmental servers to vast silos.

SDB uses active preservation, based around migration, to allow objects to be accessed in the future. The Core Emulation Framework has now been integrated with SDB, providing an emulation accessibility pathway for those objects that are difficult to migrate. The addition of the EF has expanded the active preservation SDB uses by providing the capability to retrieve and view any digital information stored in its original environment. The short video below demonstrates how this works.

More information about Tessella and SDB.

Bibliothèque nationale de France

The Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) is one of the largest public and research library in the world today. Throughout its history it has always performed its task of collecting and conserving the national heritage entrusted to its care, in whatever form, for the use of all researchers, students and professionals.

The BnF has long developed its own tools to provide access to transferred digital objects through emulation. The existing platform allows to search amongst the already transferred publications of the multimedia collection, to choose a compatible emulator and start it with the selected publication's image.

The KEEP Emulation Framework has been integrated within this platform so as to provide a new analysis tool and emulator launcher.

The KEEP EF is particularly adapted to help researchers with file and image formats that were previously unknown by the BnF platform. It also proved useful to analyse individual files extracted from the publications' images.

More information about the BnF can be found on their website.

Computerspielemuseum Berlin

The Computerspielemuseum in Berlin is a private museum for interactive digital entertainment and was founded in 1997. The collection includes about 23,000 games for almost every videogame console and computer system, from the 1970s until today. The permanent exhibition, “Evolution of a medium”, provides various insights into the history of computer gaming but also into the social impact, the music of or addiction on this medium.

The preservation strategy of the museum is based on emulation. To keep the original code the original data carrier is transferred to a digital image file. This file will be used within appropriate emulators to offer the opportunity to play the game. With the Emulation Framework the customization of emulators and mounting of image files has become unnecessary. Previously, each emulation session had to be prepared by a staff member. Now, it is sufficient to handle over the image file (of the data carrier) and the emulation process is started automatically.

More information about the Computerspielemuseum can be found on their website.

National Library of the Netherlands

The Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB), National Library of the Netherlands, was the first national library in the world to have an operational archiving solution for preserving digital publications. The KB has archiving agreements with most of the key international publishers in the field of STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) covering about eighteen million scientific publications. Apart from that, the KB is digitizing their books, newspapers and magazines on large scale with a growth of several millions of pages each year.

As digital publications are becoming more diverse (even websites are seen as a form of a publication) the KB is investigating new strategies to retain access to these digital objects over the long term. Emulation is one of these areas as it does not change the file or application while retaining the original look and feel. That's why the KB took part in KEEP and has invested a significant amount of time in applied research of emulation in a library context.

With the EF readily available, the KB is now starting a proof of concept (PoC) to retain access to old multimedia publications using the EF solution. These publications are stored in a rare disk image format which can only be accessed using a specific tool. The tool requires a specific hardware and software environment to operate. The goal is to recreate this environment using the EF. The PoC will start early 2013.

More information about the KB and emulation research can be found on their website.

Further recommendations

Euan Cochrane, a digital preservation professional talks about the Emulation Framework on his Digital Continuity Blog:

...I have looked at that software and its excellent. I also saw a demonstration of it at iPRES last year.
It definitely provides a lot of the parts that would be needed to incorporate emulation into business as usual digital preservation work flows.
Thanks for highlighting this work it provides a really good example of how practical emulation is these days...