Team from University Library Selected to Participate in Software Preservation Project Cohort

A team spearheaded by Tracy Popp, with contributing support from Karl Germeck, Seth Robbins, and Kyle Rimkus has been selected to participate in the Fostering a Community of Practice: Software Preservation in Libraries, Archives, and Museums project. The team will be exploring options for preserving and maintaining access to born-digital musical compositions deposited within the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music.

                From the Software Preservation Network website:                                                            Through a cohort of 6 organizations in the United States representing                               public libraries, university special collections, historical societies and                               museums, the Fostering a Community of Practice: Software Preservation                       and Emulation Experts in Libraries and Archives (FCoP) [IMLS grant RE-                         95-17-0058-17] project aims to broaden participation in software                                     preservation and to empower librarians, archivists, and curators to                                 address the key challenges to providing long-term access to software-                          dependent cultural heritage.

Popp, Germeck, Robbins, and Rimkus were inspired to apply for the FCoP project by Scott Schwartz, the director of the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music. According to Popp, Schwartz has “emphasized his interest in providing access to the original scores in a manner as close to the creator’s environment as the Library can support. He is interested in maintaining the content presentation and original ‘look and  feel,’ or presentation, of the source work as evidence of the composers’ working process and methods.”

Popp and her team will be working with the born-digital files from the collections of three contemporary composers (Michael Manion, Peter Michalove, and Scott Wyatt) acquired by the Sousa Archives. According to Popp, the content represents approximately 10,000 files and 50GB of required storage. The creation dates within the collections span from 1992 – 2012, representing a significant expanse of time in terms of technological development and software versions. The team is anticipating challenges related to locating and purchasing some of the relevant titles, locating the correct source software, and working with a large number of files in an efficient and scalable manner.

FCoP cohort members will also have the opportunity to explore emulation, which involves the creation of new platforms that make it possible to access obsolete data and software formats by emulating the original platforms. “I’m looking forward to developing more expertise in the area of software preservation and reviewing how we can implement emulation services for select born-digital Library collections. Emulation has been a method discussed in digital preservation and up to this point has mostly been theoretical due to the knowledge and resources required and lack of a greater community of practice. Participating in this project not only provides valuable technical resources such as access to an emulation ‘sandbox’ and technical support, it also gives us an opportunity to engage with colleagues at other institutions to share knowledge about challenges, lessons learned, and support one another throughout our respective project timelines,” said Popp.

University Library Team:

Tracy Popp-Digital Preservation Coordinator, Preservation Services Unit             

Seth Robbins– Research Programmer, Scholarly Communications & Repository Services

Kyle Rimkus– Associate Professor, Library Administration; Preservation Librarian, Preservation Services Unit

Karl Germeck– Visiting Assistant Professor, Library Administration; Visiting Digital Preservation Resident Librarian, Preservation Services Unit

For more information on the FCoP cohort, visit The Software Preservation Network

Photo courtesy of the Software Preservation Network

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