CAMiLEON home page About CAMiLEON BBC Domesday CAMiLEON Reports Preservation Research


The CAMiLEON Project is developing and evaluating a range of technical strategies for the long term preservation of digital materials. User evaluation studies and a preservation cost analysis are providing answers as to when and where these strategies will be used. The project is a joint undertaking between the Universities of Michigan (USA) and Leeds (UK) and is funded by JISC and NSF.

What is CAMiLEON?

CAMiLEON stands for Creative Archiving at Michigan & Leeds: Emulating the Old on the New. Emulation has been proposed as a digital preservation strategy that would enable obsolete systems to be run on future unknown systems, making it possible to retrieve, display and use digital documents with their original software. An apparent advantage of this approach is its potential to capture the ‘look and feel’ of digital objects as well as their intellectual content. Emulation as a preservation strategy raises many issues that the project will evaluate.

Project Objectives

The project has three main objectives:

  • To explore the options for long-term retention of the original functionality and ‘look and feel’ of digital objects.
  • To investigate technology emulation as a long-term strategy for long-term preservation and access to digital objects.
  • To consider where and how emulation fits into a suite of digital preservation strategies.

Project Deliverables

The main deliverables of the project will be:

  • Cost comparisons of different levels of emulation as it may be used as a strategy for long-term preservation.
  • A set of preservation tools which will be available for use and further testing in libraries.
  • Preliminary guidelines for the use of different technical strategies (migration and emulation) for preserving digital collections.
  • Definitions of attributes of different types of digital objects (eg. multimedia products, images with textual description, simulation and vector graphics) that must be preserved to satisfy user needs and requirements.
  • Strategies for preserving digital objects for which there is no known method of long-term preservation and access.

Meeting the Project’s Objectives

As well as using and creating emulation tools the project will also conduct research in the following areas:

User Evaluation

A key aspect of the project will be the user evaluation of the range of outputs from the different solutions that have been adopted. User evaluation will be conducted by presenting users with the original objects in their native environment (if possible), the original objects running under emulation, and various surrogates of the original objects that have been converted from their original format.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Cost-benefit analysis of the different technical approaches will be undertaken, in order to assist people making ‘real-life’ decisions over how much effort/resources to invest in exact replication of the original ‘look and feel’.

Collection Management Issues

The project will address concrete and practical collection management issues relating to the necessary level of emulation and the appropriate techniques to be used. This will include:
  • Assessment of user needs in relation to archived digital objects.
  • Identification of the relative significance of the functionality and ‘look and feel’ of original digital objects to the overall intellectual content.
  • Guidelines for collection managers to help them assess relative priorities.
  • Models for integrating emulation into programmes for preservation of digital library resources.

Project Timetable

The project began on 1st October 1999. The UK component of the project will end on the 31st December 2002. The US component of the project will end on the 30th September 2003.

Project Staff

US Team
  • Margaret Hedstrom - Project Director
  • Judy Olson
  • Cliff Lampe
  • Cal Lee

UK Team
  • Chris Rusbridge - UK Project Director
  • Paul Wheatley - UK Project Manager
  • Dave Holdsworth
  • Derek Sergeant
  • Ellis Weinberger
  • Phil Mellor
  • Richard Gellman
  • Paul Howell

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