Software Sustainability and Preservation: Implications for Long-term Access to Digital Heritage. Jessica Meyerson, David Rosenthal, Euan Cochrane. Panel, iPres 2016. (Proceedings p. 294-5 / PDF p. 148).
Digital content requires software for interpretation, processing, and use, and sustaining the software functionality beyond its normal life span is an issue. It may not be possible, economically or otherwise, for the software vendors to maintain software long term. Virtualization and emulation are two techniques that may be viable options for long-term access to objects, and there are currently efforts to preserve essential software that is needed to access or render digital content. Some efforts are the earlier KEEP Emulation Framework project, and currently the bwFLA Emulation as a Service (EaaS) project has demonstrated the ability to provide access to emulated and virtualized environments via a simple web browser and as part of operational archival and library workflows.
Memory institutions and software vendors have valuable digital heritage software collections that need to be maintained. A growing number of digital objects require software in order to be used and viewed. Yale University, the Society of American Archivists and others are working to resolve legal barriers to software preservation practices. The preservation community "continues to evolve their practices and strive for more comprehensive and complete technical registries to support and coordinate software preservation efforts".