The overall aim of the proposed ViMa project is to develop and demonstrate a small and efficient virtual machine (VM) capable of rendering the content of selected file formats. The envisaged ViMa VM will be designed in such way that implementing it on future computing environments will take minimal effort due to its simplistic design. It will be a self-documenting, self-extracting and self-generating VM - that can be used to rebuild and run software programs in the future to be able to display and visualise selected file formats. The ViMa project is directly addressing the industry challenge that digital archivists' call "file format obsolesce", where due to the rapid advance of computer software and hardware, there is a risk that the digital files we produce today will be unreadable in the future since the software and hardware we use today may no longer exist. Our envisaged VM solution can in principle be used in any preservation solution, but will be introduced to the market using Piql existing long-term preservation storage medium called piqlFilm, a nano resolution photosensitive storage medium, with a tested lifetime of over 500 years. piqlFilm is part of the Piql System, a turnkey solution for digital preservation. Piql is currently making money from providing services globally in the domain of ultra-secure long term digital preservation. Currently there is no direct comparable solution offered to the market for the file format obsolescence problem which the ViMa project aims to solve. Some suppliers offer Software and cloud based solutions for managing the digital collections for customers and then transcoding the files as file formats and operating systems go out of fashion. For short term archiving this approach of constant file format migration is viable, but in the long run this approach has several problems, just imagine the cost of trying to keep digital data alive this way for several decades.
Project leader: Katrine Loen
Institution: PIQL AS