Desktop computer with two mountains in a white outline.

Emulation for Archivists

Getting Started

Module 1: What is emulation?

Module 2: What you need for emulation

Module 3: Fun with emulators

Conclusion and Works Cited

.GIF image of keyboard piano and stripes in the background.
An emulation of a "chiptune" version of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" as it ran on a Commodore 64, an 8-bit home computer introduced in 1982, uploaded to the Internet Archive(opens in a new tab).

This is a general lesson in emulation for archivists—especially for those with little to no experience, have no idea what emulation is, or want to learn more about how emulation can be used for archival workflows. We'll build an understanding of emulation by starting with foundational concepts and advancing in each module.

Learning objectives

By completing this lesson, you will:

— Acquire a basic understanding of emulation technology

— Consider how emulation would be useful for archivists

— Become aware of various considerations for implementing emulation as an access strategy

— Use emulation to solve an example access problem

How to use this guide

This is an asynchronous lesson designed to take up 45-60 minutes. There are three separate modules estimated to take 15-20 minutes each, including links and exercises. However, you may return to specific modules or spend more time with others if needed.


While this guide is designed for beginners, we expect you to have a basic understanding of computing and information technologies to follow along. You should be able to understand what an operating system is and explain elementary differences between network infrastructures, hardware, software, and digital media formats.

Accessibility statement

This website conforms to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0(opens in a new tab) and was evaluated using the web accessibility evaluation tool WAVE(opens in a new tab). We welcome your feedback on the accessibility of this website.

Click this link to get started!