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NISO Webinar: Software Preservation and Use: I Saved the Files But Can I Run Them?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)

System Requirements: 

  • NISO has developed a quick tutorial, How to Participate in a NISO Web Event. Please view the recording, which is an overview of the web conferencing system and will help to answer the most commonly asked questions regarding participating in an online Webex event.
  • You will need a computer for the presentation and Q&A.
  • Audio is available through the computer (broadcast) and by telephone. We recommend you have a set-up for telephone audio as back-up even if you plan to use the broadcast audio as the voice over Internet isn't always 100% reliable.
  • Please check your system in advance to make sure it meets the Cisco WebEx requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that your system is properly set up before each webinar begins.


About the Webinar

The digitization of resources can provide expanded access to information as well as a preservation mechanism for now-fragile materials. Preserving the digital copy of the resource is an issue now being addressed, but what about the software used to create digital files? How can software on media which can no longer be read -- or no longer be read easily -- be preserved? If that software can’t be accessed, what happens to the material created by, and only read by, that software?

Progress has been made in formulating standards for the preservation and description of digital materials and a framework for addressing digital item preservation has been proposed. Despite, however, meetings such as the Library of Congress’ “Preserving.exe: Toward a National Strategy for Preserving Software,” no formal standard or framework yet exists for software digitization and preservation. This webinar will feature three presenters who will speak on aspects of software digitization and preservation, including a how-to approach (technical aspects), a metadata component, and observations from the field as part of the continuing discussion on the state of the field and the need for standardization.


Todd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO

Software artifacts: Migration and Emulation
Michael Lesk, Professor of Library and Information Science, Rutgers University

Computer files in formats that are no longer used can often be either converted to modern formats, or run on imitations of the machines they were designed for. In either case they still need to be cataloged and checked, but the joint techniques of migration and emulation should let us recover important old files. It's relatively hard to find examples of significant digital losses, and when you do the problems come down to having insufficiently many copies on fragile media or to simple neglect.
This talk will discuss the principles behind both migration (changing to a new format) and emulation (imitating an old machine).

After receiving the PhD degree in Chemical Physics in 1969, Michael Lesk joined the computer science research group at Bell Laboratories, where he worked until 1984. From 1984 to 1995 he managed the computer science research group at Bellcore, and from 1998 to 2002 he was in charge of theDivision of Information and Intelligent Systems at the National ScienceFoundation. Since 2003 he has been Professor of Library and InformationScience at Rutgers University.

He is best known for work in digital libraries, and his book "UnderstandingDigital Libraries" was published in 2004 by Morgan Kaufmann (second edition of a 1997 book). His research has included the CORE project for chemical information, early work on sense disambiguation, and he wrote Unixsystem utilities including those for tables, mail, and lexical analysis.

Emulation in practise: Emulation as a Service at Yale University Library: Lessons learnt and plans for the future
Euan Cochrane, Digital Preservation Manager, Yale University Library

Euan Cochrane is the Digital Preservation Manager at Yale University Library. Euan started in this role in mid-2013 and has previously worked for Deloitte Australia doing information management consulting and Archives New Zealand and Statistics New Zealand in digital preservation roles.

Euan has a strong interests in emulation as a digital preservation strategy, approaches to ensuring economic sustainability for digital preservation, and approaches to improving the effectiveness and reliability of written communication.

No (You Can't Expect To Run Your Files Just Because You Saved Them)
Presentation Link: http://tinyurl.com/ippolito-niso2015
Jon Ippolito, Professor of New Media and Director of the Digital Curation graduate program, University of Maine

Storage media are the Maginot Line of digital preservation. To defend against the corruption of the 1s and 0s that account for most 21st-century culture, the guardians of heritage have erected a bulwark built of hard drives, flash memory, the cloud, and even futuristic technologies like DNA storage. Yet even if we manage to save our bits unchanged for eternity, obsolescence will circumvent our fixed fortifications unless we remember how to reconstruct the software, hardware, and cultural environments that originally gave these bits meaning.

To adapt to this larger threat means recognizing the limits of fixity and looking to more performative models of preservation. Drawing on themes from his 2014 book Re-collection (http://re-collection.net) co-authored with Richard Rinehart, Jon Ippolito examines how proliferative preservation has rescued a broad range of culture, from videogames to sculptures to errant spacecraft. 

Jon Ippolito is Professor of New Media at the University of Maine, where he co-directs the Still Water lab and the Digital Curation program. Re-collection, his most recent book on the threat that technological obsolescence presents for digital culture, was published in 2014 by MIT Press.


SAVE! Register for multiple events.

If paying by credit card, register online.

If paying by check, please use this PDF form.

Registration closes on May 13, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. (ET)


Registration Costs 

  • NISO Member
    • $95.00 (US and Canada)
    • $109.00 (International)
  • NASIG Member
    • $95.00
  • Non-Member
    • $125.00 (US and Canada)
    • $149.00 (International)
  • Student
    • $49.00

Additional Information

  • Registration closes at 12:00 p.m. (ET) on May 13, 2015. Cancellations made by May 6, 2015 will receive a refund, less a $25 cancellation. After that date, there are no refunds.
  • Registrants will receive detailed instructions about accessing the webinar via e-mail the Monday prior to the event. (Anyone registering between Monday and the close of registration will receive the message shortly after the registration is received, within normal business hours.) Due to the widespread use of spam blockers, filters, out of office messages, etc., it is your responsibility to contact the NISO office if you do not receive login instructions.
  • If you have not received your Login Instruction email by 10:00 a.m. (ET) on the Tuesday before the webinar, at please contact the NISO office or email Juliana Wood, Educational Programs Manager at jwood@niso.org for immediate assistance.
  • Registration is per site (access for one computer) and includes access to the online recorded archive of the webinar. You may have as many people as you like from the registrant's organization view the webinar from that one connection. If you need additional connections, you will need to enter a separate registration for each connection needed.
  • If you are registering someone else from your organization, either use that person's e-mail address when registering or contact Juliana Wood to provide alternate contact information.
  • Library Standards Alliance (LSA) members receive one free webinar connection as part of their membership and DO NOT need to register for the event for this free connection. Your webinar contact will receive the login instructions the Monday before the event. You may have as many people as you like from the member's library view the webinar from that one connection. If you need additional connections beyond the free one, then you will need to enter a paid registration (at the member rate) for each additional connection required.
  • Webinar presentation slides and Q&A will be posted to the site following the live webinar.
  • Registrants and LSA member webinar contacts will receive an e-mail message containing access information to the archived webinar recording within 48 hours after the event. This recording access is only to be used by the registrant's or member's organization.