Preservation action (Reappraise, Migrate)

Migration & Emulation

Long-term usability of research data is central for a long-term archiving. To ensure that data remains potentially available and interpretable for an unlimited period of time, there are migration and emulation preservation measures available, which in their turn, can be used independently or in combination with each other.


Data migration fundamentally involves adapting existing data, for example, to updated data formats. “Migration is a response to the realisation that the files currently used for the performance either have file formats which are unsuitable for archiving or that these file formats are at risk of becoming obsolete, i.e. are not supported by the latest software” (nestor – Working Group on Digital Preservation 2012, p. 26). In this process, the contained information is preserved, but not necessarily the digital objects themselves. This assumes that the data is not directly tied to a specific storage location.


In contrast to migration, data emulation does not involve data adaptation to new formats, but rather adapting software to a new hardware and software environment. Emulation can involve porting software solutions or extending software support to new formats. To achieve this, the software environments (or even entire operating system environments) necessary for processing of the current data are archived, in order to make them usable again in a future computer system using emulation software1.

1Source: (, last accessed: September 15, 2022, 10:30 AM).