Reporter 439, 27 September 1999

Preserving processors

The University has been selected to play a pivotal role in preserving early examples of computerised information for future generations.

Computing technology is advancing so rapidly that few machines are still compatible with systems only ten to fifteen years old, meaning much information stored in the older formats is being lost. University research staff will investigate different methods of preserving digital information in a joint project with Oxford and Cambridge universities and the University of Michigan in the USA.

The project will focus on ‘emulation’ - programming newer computers so they are able to read the software of their predecessors, many of which are now obsolete. Retaining the ‘look and feel’ of documents will also be examined within the three year project.

The research is part of a £3m joint initiative launched by the National Science Foundation and the UK Joint Information Systems Committee.

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