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Over the past year, representatives from the EaaSI (Emulation-as-a-Service Infrastructure) program hosted at Yale University and Yale's Institution for Social and Policy Studies have been working together to investigate EaaSI's tools as a curation and access service for research data deposited in the ISPS Data Archive. Emulation promises a novel approach for reproducing computational research results tied to legacy and proprietary software; by supporting legacy research software, packaging systems, and the operating systems and runtimes they depend on, emulation can address software "rot" and provide access without losing dependencies or rewriting code. Using Yale's existing collections of "obsolete" software, three potential paths have so far emerged within EaaSI's program of work: manually recreating the software environment of deposited data sets using EaaSI's core interface for managing and delivering emulations via a web browser; using EaaSI's in-development Universal Virtual Interactor (UVI) to automatically recommend and render data in already-existing emulated environments; and packaging data using ReproZip and directly importing ReproZip packages into an appropriate, contemporary emulated computing environment. Ongoing discussion has also taken place on how to mesh Emulation-as-a-Service with ISPS' existing open-source web app YARD (Yale Application for Research Data). How can researchers and data curators assist with software preservation and access via emulation at the point of deposit or review? This presentation will summarize Yale's findings on these efforts, incorporating quick demonstrations with examples from the ISPS Data Archive, to illustrate the advantages of Emulation-as-a-Service for research data management.
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