CD-ROMs and Floppy Disks in the General Collections
The General Collections of Yale University Library includes a large amount of software and data, such as the long line of CD-ROMs and floppy disks pictured on this page. These content within these items is at a very high risk of loss, because optical and magnetic media are highly perishable storage environments. Additionally, in most cases, the content of these items is already inaccessible due to software incompatibilities between contemporary computers, and the original computing environments that were used to create this content.
One of the current projects of the Digital Preservation Unit is to create images of these items, which will be ingested for storage in managed and secure environment of the Digital Preservation system.
Many of these imaged CD-ROMs and floppy disks available via the Yale Library Emulation Viewer.
Implementing Software Emulation as a Service (EaaS) within the Digital Preservation System
The Digital Preservation Unit is also working in collaboration with partners at other organizations on the implementation of a software emulation framework running, which could be deployed to run within the DPS itself, to provide access to these objects in the future.
The EaaS implementation will initially be used to provide access to the content on the CD-ROMs and floppy disks described above.
The primary focus of the Digital Preservation unit at present is the establishment of a comprehensive infrastructure for sustainable, long-term preservation and access for digital content. “Long-term” is defined as “for as long as it is needed”, an indicates the Library’s commitment to responsible stewardship for digital materials that includes a collections management policy.
Tiered Support Across All Formats
The Digital Preservation unit provides services and support for the preservation of content in digital form, including both “digitized” and “born-digital” materials.
Responsibilities of this unit include content from a range of sources:
We match our services to the requirements and budgets of our stakeholders. While we advocate for minimum standards for preserving content, digital preservation is fundamentally a risk management process and our stakeholders and their collections have appropriately varying appetites for risk of loss. This is demonstrated in the case of our preservation digitization stakeholders who need their master copies (that have replaced the physical copies as the primary preservation copies) to have a minimal risk of loss, whereas their access copies, derived from those masters, can be preserved using riskier, more cost-effective, approaches as they can always be recreated from the master copies.
The Digital Preservation Unit also offers consultation services for other units and research areas throughout the Library, to provide education and to aid with activities related to digital preservation, including: