was a big day for software preservation; it was the formal opening of Software Heritage's archive
. Congratulations to Roberto di Cosmo and the team! There's a post on the Software Heritage blog with an overview:
Today, June 7th 2018, we are proud to be back at Unesco headquarters to unveil a major milestone in our roadmap: the grand opening of the doors of the Software Heritage archive to the public (the slides of the presentation are online). You can now look at what we archived, exploring the largest collection of software source code in the world: you can explore the archive right away,
via your web browser. If you want to know more, an upcoming post will
guide you through all the features that are provided and the internals
Morane Gruenpeter's Software Preservation: A Stepping Stone for Software Citation
is an excellent explanation of the role that Software Heritage's archive plays in enabling researchers to cite software:
In recent years software has become a legitimate product of research gaining
more attention from the scholarly ecosystem than ever before, and
researchers feel increasingly the need to cite the software they use or
produce. Unfortunately, there is no well established best practice for
doing this, and in the citations one sees used quite often ephemeral
URLs or other identifiers that offer little or no guarantee that the
cited software can be found later on.
But for software to be findable, it must have been preserved in the
first place: hence software preservation is actually a prerequisite of
The importance of preserving software, and in particular open source software, is something I've been writing about for nearly a decade. My initial post about the Software Heritage Foundation
Back in 2009 I wrote:
who is to say that the corpus of open source is a less important cultural and historical artifact than, say, romance novels.
Back in 2013 I wrote:
Software, and in particular open source software is just as much a
cultural production as books, music, movies, plays, TV, newspapers, maps
and everything else that research libraries, and in particular the
Library of Congress, collect and preserve so that future scholars can
understand our society.
Please support this important work by donating to the Software Heritage Foundation
Hi David! I'm an (emerging) software conservator based in Australia and am about to help teach a class that covers the subject. Since it's mean to be broad, I want to know if there's a primer to the subject that you recommend. I basically want to reassure them that they don't necessarily need to know fifteen different programming languages to be an effective conservator in the field. Thanks!
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