Microsoft ResearchDo you remember that digital project you were involved in a decade ago? Do the interactive elements still work and can you still access all of the files? File formats change and software to run those files becomes obsolete, so how can we prevent these problems in the future? Natasa Milic-Frayling, a principal researcher at Microsoft Research will explore these issues at Digital Past 2015 and look at how modern technologies can be used to enable access to older projects.
“Most of our efforts to secure access to our digital assets focus on preserving content files and less so on ensuring that the legacy software is usable. At the same time, the digital content can be accessed only through software applications that can process the files.
Ensuring that such applications are available and can run in a contemporary computing ecosystem is a challenge. If we wish to secure access to legacy content, especially highly interactive digital artefacts, we have to find economically viable ways to prolong the ‘life’ of software technology beyond the point of sustainability in the original market.
We discuss three approaches to ensuring that the content is accessible to users: file format conversion, software porting, and virtualization of original software. We expect that all three are needed to cover a range of scenarios and preservation requirements.”