Thursday, October 04, 2007

Blog post: Virtually Ideal

Sally J. pointed me to this long blog post on the creation of virtual machines (e.g., emulation). Is this a great idea that will be worthwhile in the long run or will be like asbestos (a great idea that turned out to be harmful)?

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Richard L. Hess said...

Thank you for the interesting link. The referenced post says, in part:

"Therefore, I feel somewhat of a grinch in saying that the archivists’ hopeful faith in this solution is misplaced."

I would have to agree and that is why we need to be very, very careful (and perhaps even grinch-like) in deciding what formats are acceptable for archiving.

The only place that I see virtualization as useful is in keeping alive the experience of actually running old software. "Pacman" is often used as an example. This is a distinguishable class, however, of machine-specific or OS specific interactive applications.

Non-machine-specific information needs to be reduced to the small subset of formats which we are using that we commit to migrating going forward.

Some examples of candidate formats are:
Graphics: TIFF, JPEG, PDF
Audio: WAV, MP3 (for access)
Video: MPEG, Motion JPEG

A very short list, but hopefully representative of the class of format that is "safer" than application-specific ones (like Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Wordstar, etc.).



Sally J. said...

Jill, I'm so glad you found the link useful. I truly appreciate your blog.

Richard, I'm delighted to see your comments here. In my day job as an archivist, I'm responsible for a large audio collection. The Tips & Notes section on your website has been a huge help to me.