Emulation-as-a-Service Infrastructure = EaaSI

Led by the Digital Preservation Services team at Yale University Library, and with support from OpenSLX, DataCurrent, PortalMedia, Educopia, and the Software Preservation Network, the EaaSI program of work is focused on the development of technology and services to expand and scale the capabilities of the Emulation-as-a-Service software. This work includes:

  • The establishment of a community of partner institutions using the EaaSI software platform;

  • Implementation of a resource sharing functionality, the EaaSI Network, which enables distribution and retrieval of emulation environments and software installation media between users;

  • Improvement of description and discovery capabilities, including use of and contribution to data in the Wikidata body of knowledge (via the WikiDP portal);

  • Prototyping of various modules and services for management of end-user access (including the Open Source Software Sandbox).

As part of our efforts to increase the available resources, thousands of computing environments are being configured and shared to the EaaSI Network service. Configuration workers are busy cataloging software (e.g., names, developers, system requirements, file format support) and installing operating systems and applications in emulated computing environments.

The EaaSI program of work is sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Andrew W Mellon Foundation.

Principle Partner


Made possible by:

andrew w. mellon foundation
alfred p sloan foundation logo


distributed management


Network of EaaSI Nodes

The current grant cycle 2018 – 2021 will support the deployment of EaaSI nodes in at least ten partner institutions. The EaaSI Network deployment will allow us to understand how the exchange of software, configured software environments and metadata will work in practice – and will highlight gaps where explicit policy and/or procedure are required.

The EaaSI Network depends on the interests, expertise and participation of our EaaSI Node Hosts. Our founding Node Hosts implement the beta release of EaaSI in March 2019. Find out more about our six founding Node Hosts on the Participants page. After we’ve systematically tested the beta release in Spring 2019, development prioritization will shift to support for standard identify management systems such as Shibboleth.


Pre-configuration of 3,000 software environments

One of the crucial pieces of work undertaken at Yale University Libraries is the disk imaging, description and configuration of at least 3,000 software environments. Distinct from a forensic image of an installation disk for a software application, configured software environments represent a stack that includes the operating system, configuration of specific OS settings, installation of drivers appropriate to software applications of the same computing era.

These configured software environments will seed the EaaSI Network for our beta launch in Spring 2019. As EaaSI Node Hosts implement and use the EaaSI system, they will establish their own local configuration workflows for creating derivatives of existing configured software environments as well as creating and sharing new software environments with the Network for use by other Nodes.



Machine-Actionable Metadata Driving Emulation Services

Metadata is the fuel that powers the functionality of all components of the EaaSI service. Our approach to metadata draws heavily on existing standards and schema development including CodeMeta, PREMIS, Wikidata, and other metadata initiatives that address software and software dependencies. 

This program provides support for ongoing work on the Wikidata for Digital Preservation portal, which users will read from and write to as part of the descriptive workflows facilitated through the EaaSI interface. Semantic Architect, Kat Thornton, has also developed a Shape Expressions (ShEx) schema that allows the EaaSI service to validate metadata created by users at Node Host institutions against the Wikidata data model prior to submitting that data back to Wikidata.


Access Portals for the
EaaSI Service

The EaaSI program of work will also develop four discrete access portals: 

Universal Virtual Interactor (UVI) Learn more about the UVI in this Digital Preservation Coalition blog post from EaaSI Principal Investigator, Euan Cochrane.

Scientific Software Portal This access portal will focus on research software and reproducibility workflows. This work will be influenced by and possibly in partnership with existing efforts to provide long-term access to research environments.

CD-ROM Portal Many organizations have purchased and collected multimedia publications or multimedia supplements to publications that were distributed on CD-ROMs. This access portal will provide emulated access to CD-ROMs and can be integrated with institutional discovery catalogs.

Virtual Reading Room Portal Access to born-digital collection material is a driving use case for emulation in many archives and special collection repositories. This portal will consider both end -user and reference staff workflows for managing the use of emulated access to archival materials



Seth Anderson

Program Manager, Yale University

Seth began his relationship with digital preservation while studying Moving Image Archiving and Preservation at NYU. Prior to joining the team at YUL, Seth worked as a consultant with AVPreserve, on digital preservation projects for the Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Museum, Carnegie Hall, and others, and led the implementation of the Museum of Modern Art’s electronic records archive. As the EaaSI Program Manager, Seth leads our planning and design efforts and coordinate the work of the team to ensure we achieve our goals and deliver a quality service.

Euan Cochrane

Principal Investigator, Yale University

Euan manages the Digital Preservation Services team at Yale University Library – responsible for the Library’s digital repository and providing related preservation services to the university. Euan is excited to see many years of emulation and software preservation work come to fruition through EaaSI. Check out Euan’s first website about emulation: http://web.archive.org/web/19990210183008/http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Horizon/6149/

Ethan Gates

Software Preservation Analyst, Yale University

Ethan Gates was a double English and Russian major at Amherst College and is a graduate of NYU’s MA program in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation. For the past several years he worked as NYU-MIAP’s staff Technician, coordinating equipment maintenance, use, and training in the department’s lab spaces. He has also worked with organizations such as METRO, XFR Collective, and the Association of Moving Image Archivists’ Open Source Committee to develop workshops and documentation that demystify audiovisual and digital technology for archivists.

jessica meyerson

Jessica Meyerson

Community Outreach Lead, Educopia Institute

Jessica is Research Program Officer for Educopia Institute and Co-Founder of the Software Preservation Network – a role that allows her to promote the essential role of software preservation in responsible and effective digital stewardship. As the EaaSI Community Outreach Lead, Jessica establishes partnerships with allied initiatives; designs data gathering activities that inform the program roadmap; create training and documentation; and broaden participation in related software preservation efforts.

klaus rechert

Klaus Rechert

Emulation Architect, OpenSLX

Klaus is a Computer Science researcher with a focus on functional preservation, emulation as a preservation strategy and digital forensics. Over the last 6 years, Klaus has assisted in the implementation of emulation solutions in a range of organizational types including national libraries, art museums and university data management departments. From 2012-2014, Klaus served on the Advisory Board of BitCurator Consortium. He currently serve on the Steering Committee for the International Conference on Digital Preservation. Together with the OpenSLX team in Freiburg, Klaus leads the development of EaaSI.

Kat Thornton

Semantic Architect, Data Current

Katherine Thornton is an information scientist working on creating metadata as linked open data. Kat works on the Scaling Emulation as a Service Infrastructure (EaaSI) project describing the software and configured environments in Wikidata. Kat has been a volunteer contributor to the Wikidata project since 2012.

EaaSI Student Staff

We recognize and appreciate the contributions of all our student staff. Every student staff member is critical to EaaSI program success.
Current Student Staff
Former Student Staff

Justin Aubin (’21)
Zoe Sinclair (’22)
Mac Schmidt (’20)
Idris Sylvester (’20)
Eric Timperman (M.M., ’19)
Matt Tu (’22)
Kohei Yamaguchi (M.M.A., ’19)

Paul Han (’20)
Alexa Murray (’19)
Vibhor Nayak (M.A.M., ’18)
Nico Taylor (’22)