retroTECH Online Project Summary, 2018-2020
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From 2018-2020, the Georgia Tech Library was part of an Institute of Museum and Library Services-funded cohort of six organizations--the Guggenheim Museum, Living Computers: Museum + Labs, the University of Arizona, the University of Illinois, and the University of Virginia--exploring the key challenges to providing long-term access to software-dependent cultural heritage. The grant project, Fostering a Community of Practice (FCoP): Software Preservation and Emulation Experts in Libraries, Archives, and Museums (IMLS grant RE-95-17-0058-17), aimed to broaden participation in software preservation, advance digital preservation practice, and inform field-wide understanding. Under the umbrella of its retroTECH initiative, which provides access to vintage technologies and seeks to inspire a culture of long-term thinking, the Georgia Tech Library’s project has been to create a proof-of-concept for retroTECH Online, a web presence through which patrons can utilize software from retroTECH’s collections for teaching and learning, explore the stories surrounding that software, and foster a virtual retroTECH community. The project team used oral history and emulation to tell the stories of several software innovations created by Georgia Tech community members--from the graphical simulation that helped win Atlanta's 1996 Olympics bid to Game Boy Advance games coded by current students mastering computer science.