Keeping Emulation Environments Portable (KEEP)

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2009 to 2012
Access, Emulation, File formats, Storage, Software

KEEP (Keeping Emulation Environments Portable) will develop emulation services (KEEP Emulation Services) to enable accurate rendering of both static and dynamic digital objects: text, sound, and image files; multimedia documents, websites, databases, videogames etc.

The overall aim of the project is to facilitate universal access to our cultural heritage by developing flexible tools for accessing and storing a wide range of digital objects. KEEP will also consider legal issues concerning the implementation of emulation-based systems and propose solutions which comply with European and national copyright laws.

The very success of computing technology, where machines are rapidly superseded, has created a serious and growing challenge of how to preserve access to digital material produced on obsolete machines. Cultural heritage organisations are particularly sensitive to the threat of major data loss resulting from technical obsolescence. KEEP will develop the KEEP Emulation Services to enable the accurate rendering of these objects, designed for a wide variety of computer systems, so that they can be securely accessed in the long term.

KEEP will address the problems of transferring digital objects stored on outdated computer media such as floppy discs onto current storage devices. This will involve the specification of file formats and the production of transfer tools exploited within a framework, and taking into account possible legal and technical issues. KEEP will address all aspects ranging from safeguarding the original bits from the carrier to offering online services to end-users via a highly portable emulation framework running on any possible device. In addition to producing a software package, the project will deliver understanding about how to integrate emulation-based solutions with an operational electronic deposit system. Existing metadata models will be researched and guidelines will be developed for mapping digital objects to emulated manifestations. KEEP will seek ways to integrate its work with the outputs of other digital preservation projects and software (for example Planets and Pronom). Overall, KEEP will contribute to the next generation of permanent access strategies based on emulation.

Although primarily aimed at those involved in Cultural Heritage, such as memory institutions and games museums, the KEEP Emulation Services can also serve the needs of a wide range of organisations and individuals because of its universal approach.