Towards a workable, emulation-based preservation strategy: rationale and technical metadata

David Anderson, Janet Delve, Dan Pinchbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The KEEP project is the first of its kind to seriously research the kind of emulation based on a virtual machine as put forward by Lorie (2002). In addition to creating such a virtual machine, a number of other supporting tools and techniques are also being developed as part of this EC FP7 project. One of these is an emulation metadata data model with a dual purpose: first, for use as the basis of a database that forms part of the Emulation Framework that will run on the KEEP Virtual Machine (KVM); and, second, for use as the core of an emulation metadata standard, envisaged to be taken up by the wider community. This paper is thus very much geared toward a practical discussion of emulation. However, before the digital preservation community will consider emulation as a viable option compared to migration; it is imperative that the polarized positions exemplified by Rothenberg and Bearman are carefully analyzed, deconstructed, and, where necessary, set aside. In this way, some options that have previously been dismissed out of hand can be allowed to resurface, and their relative merits be reconsidered. The second part of the article comprises a detailed investigation of the technical environment necessary to emulate a given digital object. The technical environment data, thus obtained, is then used to create the core of the emulation metadata model. The article concludes with a consideration of video games' metadata, as games represent the most complex digital objects planned to be emulated as part of the KEEP project.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-131
Number of pages22
JournalNew Review of Information Networking
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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