Considering Emulation for Digital Preservation
The blog post “Considering Emulation for Digital Preservation” captivated me for several reasons. First I was unaware of the Preserving.exe initiative at the Library of Congress and find this endeavor absolutely engaging. As computer equipment has become more and more common and increasingly affordable it has become disposable. That is to say, much like a toaster or similarly inexpensive household appliance, when it breaks or becomes obsolete the tendency has grown to be that it can just be thrown out, recycled, or otherwise disposed of without much thought. However, it is important to retain at least some examples of this hardware and software for future generations to study, observe, and learn from past attempts at innovative design. Secondly, I was captivated by the discussions around emulation. Software emulation is something I am very familiar with having implemented VMware installations for both personal and professional use. On the more recreational side of things I have used the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator mentioned the post for many years, since its inception in the 90s, to explore software either unavailable to me or deemed obsolete before I was able to interact with it. In this way I completely understand the argument for emulation in preserving software and even hardware, to demonstrate its functionality, study its operability, and to further engage students, patrons, and those curious about the history of these devices which are commonplace now, but 30 years ago were only emerging into the American home.