CIRCA:The KEEP Project

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(Created page with '== Project Summary == === What is KEEP? === KEEP stands for Keeping Emulation Environments Portable and was a project created to facilitate continued access to cultural herita…')
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*The University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom
*The University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom
*The European Game Developers Federation
*The European Game Developers Federation
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== The Success of the Project ==
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The KEEP project became a major success at its initial release in February of 2012 when the software was released to the public. At the time, version 1.0.0 contained:
 +
*5 platforms: x86, C64, Amiga, BBC Micro, Amstrad
 +
*6 emulators included: Dioscuri, Qemu, VICE, UAE, BeebEm, JavaCPC
 +
*22 file formats: PDF, TXT, XML, JPG, TIFF, PNG, BMP, Quark, ARJ, EXE, disk/tape images and more
 +
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Development continued into April of 2012 and is the most current version of the software. This release is version 2.1.0 and contains:
 +
*6 platforms: x86, C64, Amiga, BBC Micro, Amstrad, Thomson TO7
 +
*7 emulators: Dioscuri, Qemu, VICE, UAE, BeebEm, JavaCPC, Thomson
 +
*30+ file formats: PDF, TXT, XML, JPG, TIFF, PNG, BMP, Quark, ARJ, EXE, disk/tape images and more
 +
 +
This version of the software is available to download at http://emuframework.sourceforge.net/ and was a finalist for the prestigious Digital Preservation Award 2012 in Research & Innovation.
 +
 +
While not confirmed, there does seem to be some issues with the sustainability of the project due to no longer being able to access the secondary website that hosted the details of the project. If you would like to learn more about the current status of the KEEP project there though, there is a news mailing list that updates approximately twice a year.
 +
 +
At this point, while the project no longer seems to be getting public updates, Version 2.1.0 is still available with the preserved data initially used during the preservation project.
 +
 +
== Example of How the Project Could Be Used? ==
 +
 +
At this moment the KEEP project still has a way to go in populating the archive with digital objects because it is currently dependent on existing archived materials. One of the major hopes of the project is that evaluating and enhancing the existing metadata will allow for maximum compatibility with games. An example of this is the preservation of Adobe Flash games that have become obsolete with the uninstallation of Adobe Flash across technology.
 +
While the KEEP project has not specifically stated that it is preserving Flash games, the project already contains some of the necessary emulation environments needed for Flash, because KEEP is already emulating older operating systems. Older versions of Flash, that correspond to these operating systems, can then be uploaded to the internal database from the free downloads on the Adobe site.
 +
From there, Adobe Flash games could then be archived to the internal database found within the virtual machine through multiple means. The first is the original creator could upload the files to the archive themselves, since a version of the project is available for public use, and make the game publicly accessible. The second way is a player could upload the game and either cite the original creators of the game or just upload it for personal and private use. The final way, which is probably the best way to do this, is for the KEEP project to work together with an existing archive of Flash games, such as the Flash Game Archive.
 +
The Flash Game Archive is an archive of thousands of Flash Games that have been built to be supported by a single emulator for a single platform. The KEEP project could easily upload the emulator and all of the games to the internal database, while also allowing further access through the KEEP project’s own emulators to expand the Flash Game Archives’ emulator to work on multiple platforms. Together the KEEP project and the Flash Game archive could preserve Flash games for generations because the archive has the digital objects and the KEEP project has the emulators to create a sustainable multiplatform environment to expand upon the archive’s existing emulator.
 +
 +
== Comparison of the KEEP Project to Similar Projects ==
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 +
=== The Internet Archive ===
 +
 +
One project that has some similarities to the KEEP project is The Internet Archive. The Internet Archive is an online database that works with thousands of partners to save digital resources, with a focus on books. The way the KEEP project and The Internet Archive are similar is they both have the same motive for creation, which is universal access to knowledge. How the two projects differ thou is through the way they are preserving. While The Internet Archive is fully web-based and uses an in-browser emulator, it still depends partially on migration. Migration is the constant updating of the software, or in this case, the emulator to run the digital objects. Every time a computer operating system or a web browser updates there is work that has to be done to maintain and sustain The Internet Archives emulator, with the added possibility of minor data loss. The KEEP project though uses a virtual machine to house all of the different emulators and digital objects so that they do not require any updates when technology updates occur and thus can be run as long as the virtual machine works without ever needing to touch the digital objects and risk any data lose.
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=== MAME ===
 +
 +
The other project that is similar to the KEEP project is MAME, which formerly meant Multi Arcade Machine Emulator. There are more similarities between KEEP and MAME than there are between KEEP and The Internet Archive, but once again the main similarity is the purpose of universal access to knowledge. In MAME’s case, the main focus is on preserving electronic entertainment systems, especially if they are considered vintage. One other way that the KEEP project and MAME are similar is the way they use a downloaded emulator to run the software.
 +
 +
From there though there are many differences between MAME and the KEEP project. First off MAME uses C++ as its coding language, and as aforementioned, the KEEP project developers attempted to originally use C++, but it failed and crashed when different emulators were used. This lead to KEEP having to use the more sophisticated language of JAVA. From this it would seem if MAME tried to increase its complexity, to be on the same level as KEEP, it to would have to change the coding language.
 +
The second difference is that MAME is only an emulator and contains no internal database of preserved digital objects. To be able to use MAME “the emulator requires images of the original ROMs, CDs, hard disks or other media from the machines, which must be provided by the user. No portions of the original game code are included in the executable.” This means that if users want to access files they must already own a copy, which is not always plausible. With the KEEP project though there is an internal database that holds uploaded digital objects, so users can always have access to these uploaded resources and do not require original copies.
 +
Finally, the last difference is similar to the one stated for The Internet Archive, MAME is only available on four operating systems that are fairly current and will need updates as technology progresses. With KEEP using a virtual machine, this problem is solved by just uploading another emulator not having to update a single emulator each time technology changes.

Revision as of 14:07, 16 October 2021

Contents

Project Summary

What is KEEP?

KEEP stands for Keeping Emulation Environments Portable and was a project created to facilitate continued access to cultural heritage by developing flexible tools to help access, manipulate and store digital objects. These digital objects would include accurate renderings of static and dynamic text, images, videos, sounds, websites, databases, games and other digital media. The way the digital objects would be accessed, manipulated, and stored would be done through an emulation that mimics the original hardware environment that the digital object was created on.

In addition to the emulation framework being developed, the KEEP project team would also design and develop a Virtual Machine that the emulation framework could be run on. This is so the emulations would operate independently from the computer’s actual software and hardware requirements.

The KEEP project is an important advancement within the field of technology preservation because the most common way to currently preserve media is through migration as technology is rapidly updating and growing. Migration is when a digital object is continually updated to work with current hardware and software developments when the digital object’s original environment becomes obsolete. This is an issue though because every time a digital object is migrated, pieces of information and metadata are lost because they are not compatible with the new environment. With the use of emulation and the virtual machine, accessing digital objects and materials is mediated by making the computer compatible with the materials, and not the other way around. This will allow digital objects to be accessed not in just the present time but also in the future.

Timeline

The KEEP project was a three-year project run between 2009 and 2012. For the first two years, the project team focused on researching the available tools and technology including transfer tools and emulation software. At the same time, with help from the National Libraries of France, Germany, and the Netherlands, the project team also did a user requirements analysis to help design a flexible, and user-friendly emulation service, media carrier, and media transfer tool.

During this research period, the project term also ended up doing an investigation into the potential legal issues that would arise from uploading information from the original data carrier, which later turned into a study. This study created a set of standards about the metadata needed for each of the transferred files and how the legal issues should be approached, using information from European laws.

Funding

Project KEEP was co-funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development (FP7).

People Involved

During the development of the KEEP project, a consortium of organizations were involved internationally to represent a wide variety of stakeholders across Europe. This consortium included:

  • The national libraries of France, Germany and the Netherlands
  • Tessella, a company that provides services for sorting and preserving data in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands
  • Joguin SAS in France
  • Software developers specializing in preservation
  • Project consultants from CrossCzech in the Czech Republic
  • The Computerspielemuseum in Germany
  • The University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom
  • The European Game Developers Federation


The Success of the Project

The KEEP project became a major success at its initial release in February of 2012 when the software was released to the public. At the time, version 1.0.0 contained:

  • 5 platforms: x86, C64, Amiga, BBC Micro, Amstrad
  • 6 emulators included: Dioscuri, Qemu, VICE, UAE, BeebEm, JavaCPC
  • 22 file formats: PDF, TXT, XML, JPG, TIFF, PNG, BMP, Quark, ARJ, EXE, disk/tape images and more

Development continued into April of 2012 and is the most current version of the software. This release is version 2.1.0 and contains:

  • 6 platforms: x86, C64, Amiga, BBC Micro, Amstrad, Thomson TO7
  • 7 emulators: Dioscuri, Qemu, VICE, UAE, BeebEm, JavaCPC, Thomson
  • 30+ file formats: PDF, TXT, XML, JPG, TIFF, PNG, BMP, Quark, ARJ, EXE, disk/tape images and more

This version of the software is available to download at http://emuframework.sourceforge.net/ and was a finalist for the prestigious Digital Preservation Award 2012 in Research & Innovation.

While not confirmed, there does seem to be some issues with the sustainability of the project due to no longer being able to access the secondary website that hosted the details of the project. If you would like to learn more about the current status of the KEEP project there though, there is a news mailing list that updates approximately twice a year.

At this point, while the project no longer seems to be getting public updates, Version 2.1.0 is still available with the preserved data initially used during the preservation project.

Example of How the Project Could Be Used?

At this moment the KEEP project still has a way to go in populating the archive with digital objects because it is currently dependent on existing archived materials. One of the major hopes of the project is that evaluating and enhancing the existing metadata will allow for maximum compatibility with games. An example of this is the preservation of Adobe Flash games that have become obsolete with the uninstallation of Adobe Flash across technology. While the KEEP project has not specifically stated that it is preserving Flash games, the project already contains some of the necessary emulation environments needed for Flash, because KEEP is already emulating older operating systems. Older versions of Flash, that correspond to these operating systems, can then be uploaded to the internal database from the free downloads on the Adobe site. From there, Adobe Flash games could then be archived to the internal database found within the virtual machine through multiple means. The first is the original creator could upload the files to the archive themselves, since a version of the project is available for public use, and make the game publicly accessible. The second way is a player could upload the game and either cite the original creators of the game or just upload it for personal and private use. The final way, which is probably the best way to do this, is for the KEEP project to work together with an existing archive of Flash games, such as the Flash Game Archive. The Flash Game Archive is an archive of thousands of Flash Games that have been built to be supported by a single emulator for a single platform. The KEEP project could easily upload the emulator and all of the games to the internal database, while also allowing further access through the KEEP project’s own emulators to expand the Flash Game Archives’ emulator to work on multiple platforms. Together the KEEP project and the Flash Game archive could preserve Flash games for generations because the archive has the digital objects and the KEEP project has the emulators to create a sustainable multiplatform environment to expand upon the archive’s existing emulator.

Comparison of the KEEP Project to Similar Projects

The Internet Archive

One project that has some similarities to the KEEP project is The Internet Archive. The Internet Archive is an online database that works with thousands of partners to save digital resources, with a focus on books. The way the KEEP project and The Internet Archive are similar is they both have the same motive for creation, which is universal access to knowledge. How the two projects differ thou is through the way they are preserving. While The Internet Archive is fully web-based and uses an in-browser emulator, it still depends partially on migration. Migration is the constant updating of the software, or in this case, the emulator to run the digital objects. Every time a computer operating system or a web browser updates there is work that has to be done to maintain and sustain The Internet Archives emulator, with the added possibility of minor data loss. The KEEP project though uses a virtual machine to house all of the different emulators and digital objects so that they do not require any updates when technology updates occur and thus can be run as long as the virtual machine works without ever needing to touch the digital objects and risk any data lose.

MAME

The other project that is similar to the KEEP project is MAME, which formerly meant Multi Arcade Machine Emulator. There are more similarities between KEEP and MAME than there are between KEEP and The Internet Archive, but once again the main similarity is the purpose of universal access to knowledge. In MAME’s case, the main focus is on preserving electronic entertainment systems, especially if they are considered vintage. One other way that the KEEP project and MAME are similar is the way they use a downloaded emulator to run the software.

From there though there are many differences between MAME and the KEEP project. First off MAME uses C++ as its coding language, and as aforementioned, the KEEP project developers attempted to originally use C++, but it failed and crashed when different emulators were used. This lead to KEEP having to use the more sophisticated language of JAVA. From this it would seem if MAME tried to increase its complexity, to be on the same level as KEEP, it to would have to change the coding language. The second difference is that MAME is only an emulator and contains no internal database of preserved digital objects. To be able to use MAME “the emulator requires images of the original ROMs, CDs, hard disks or other media from the machines, which must be provided by the user. No portions of the original game code are included in the executable.” This means that if users want to access files they must already own a copy, which is not always plausible. With the KEEP project though there is an internal database that holds uploaded digital objects, so users can always have access to these uploaded resources and do not require original copies. Finally, the last difference is similar to the one stated for The Internet Archive, MAME is only available on four operating systems that are fairly current and will need updates as technology progresses. With KEEP using a virtual machine, this problem is solved by just uploading another emulator not having to update a single emulator each time technology changes.

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