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Lib4Code: Keeping Archives Useful with Software Preservation

Our libraries increasingly run on code, but what about adding code to our collections and providing the usual library services of preservation, access, discovery, and contextualization? This talk will explore how GNU Guix, a software project conceived and developed largely outside of libraries, can be applied to our own problems. Guix applies computer science research on functional package management in a way that gives people a fighting chance to understand and control their increasingly-complex computing. In libraries, many questions that patrons may have about software in our collections may not be answerable by reading a bit-for-bit reproduction of the code as it was acquired. People may want to run the code or understand the environment of other software on which the code depends. By using Guix’s tooling, we can make our archives of software come alive in this way. Guix is not alone in helping to wrangle software, other projects like Software Heritage and Bootstrappable Builds, can help to flesh out the whole picture of giving code the proper treatment in our collections, so, finally, we will reflect on how else libraries can learn from, and contribute to, larger software communities.


10:35 AM
10 minutes