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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Towards a Methodology for Software Preservation


Only a small part of the research which has been carried out to date on the preservation of digital objects has looked specifically at the preservation of software. This is because the preservation of software has been seen as a less urgent problem than the preservation of other digital objects, and also the complexity of software artifacts makes the problem of preserving them a daunting one. Nevertheless, there are good reasons to want to preserve software. In this paper we consider some of the motivations behind software preservation, based on an analysis of software preservation practice. We then go on to consider what it means to preserve software, discussing preservation approaches, and developing a performance model which determines how the adequacy of the a software preservation method. Finally we discuss some implications for preservation analysis for the case of software artifacts.

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