Today, an increasing fraction of the world’s intellectual output is in the form of executable content. These include simulation models, tutoring systems, expert systems, data visualization tools, and so on. Even content that could be static (such as a company’s product information Web page) is often dynamically generated through execution of code that customizes the content and appearance at runtime... [Olive seeks] to freeze and precisely reproduce the execution state that produced this dynamic content.

M. Satyanarayanan


  • Enable libraries to achieve their mission of preserving the scholarly record
  • Provide a platform for preserving, searching, extending, and distributing executable content
  • Establish a workflow for this preservation
  • Determine the obstacles to preservation and distribution
  • Retain executable content in its original state such that end users may interact with it freely

How it Works

  • Executable content is preserved in a full virtual machine to ensure long-term compatibility
  • Relevant Virtual Machine archives can be discovered using content and metadata searches
  • Rights are granted to launch this virtual machine
  • Virtual machine is streamed using Internet Suspend/Resume® technology
  • Like internet videos, user may begin interacting before full VM is downloaded
  • User may save VM changes to their own computer and apply them to subsequent launches
Olive Workflow

This diagram showcases an example of how content is added and manipulated within the Olive ecosystem. Alterations can be saved and removed without any modifications to the archived version.

Why Olive?

  • Modifications can be made or undone without damaging archival copies
  • Preservation is not dependent upon preservation of old or obsolete hardware
  • Individual executables can be imported and executed without rebuilding the virtual machine
  • Distributed access to execute, interact, and modify provides a full user experience
  • Streaming technology offers immediate VM access by sending only the data required for execution
  • Local execution ensures malicious alterations will not impact curated storage

* Internet Suspend/Resume is a registered trademark of Carnegie Mellon University.