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I did it: I finally found a published, explicit suggestion of emulation as a necessary strategy for digital preservation that predates Rothenberg

clir.org/pubs/reports/lesk/les

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(I have found a number of papers and reports from roughly the late '80s through the early '90s that describe the encroaching problems of digital preservation for archives and records management - software and hardware obsolescence, a shift from physical preservation strategies to copying and redundancy, etc. - but none until now that specifically suggest emulation as a solution or route meriting exploration)

I'm rather fascinated that in this instance - again, the earliest I've found, three years before Rothenberg's Scientific American article - it's specifically in the context of what we would now think of as migration-via-emulation, i.e. keeping emulators for the purpose of translation/conversion to a modern system, rather than presenting data in an emulated system as an access strategy in and of itself. This feels significant/formative...

@The_BFOOL I'm not sure I read that report but I was fascinated to learn when I was digging into pre-OAIS literature that some of the earliest references to "digital preservation" as a phrase come from the preservation reformatting world: digital as the next step after micro photography.

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