While commonly associated with retro video game hobbyists, emulation can be a powerful and essential tool for providing access to legacy digital material. Using emulators, archivists and librarians can mimic obsolete and incompatible software on their current computers, recreating the environments in which older files were originally created and used. In this talk, Ethan Gates will discuss the history of emulation as a computing technology, the hidden dependencies it can address in digital collections, and current efforts by the EaaSI (Emulation-as-a-Service Infrastructure) program and the Software Preservation Network to make emulation a practical solution for heritage and memory institutions of many shapes and sizes.
Ethan Gates lives in Amherst, MA and works remotely as a Software Preservation Analyst for Yale University Library and User Support Lead for the Mellon and Sloan Foundation-funded EaaSI program. He currently volunteers with the Software Preservation Network and the Association of Moving Image Archivists, and is a former member of XFR Collective.
Special thanks to CUNY-Graduate Center’s Stephen Klein and New York University’s David Millman for their assistance developing our series on Digital Preservation, of which this webinar was a part.