Admin users have the highest level of permissions in EaaSI. They are responsible for user management in their organization and have a higher level of control over resources in the node, including importing emulators, saving or publishing environments to the EaaSI Network, adding new network endpoints, monitoring running tasks, etc. Admins also retain all the permissions/actions of Configuration Users as well.


A base is an environment as initially either imported or created in EaaSI. “Base” essentially refers to a starting point for configuration and can thus be highly contextual to a workflow: e.g., an imported disk image taken of a collection donor’s personal computer; a Windows 95 environment created from scratch using the Emulation Project menu; an Ubuntu environment synced from the EaaSI Open Source Sandbox. Base environments will generally take up the most storage space in an instance.

Configuration User

Configuration users have the lowest set of permissions in EaaSI. They are able to configure or edit metadata for existing resources and run environments, but can not interact directly with a network (saving or publishing Environments) or access administrative features in the Manage Node menu.


Content are items from a digital collection; that is, digital information or works from institutional collections intended for representation (via software) and interpretation by users (in an environment). Within EaaSI, the line between Software and Content (which may also be a piece of “software” in the general sense) is largely contextual and workflow related - a file or file-set is “Software” if it is intended to be used as a tool to accurately render and interact with software-dependent Content. A file or file-set is Content if it is the intended target of rendering. (It is assumed that Content may be subject to further access restrictions depending on digital collection practice at each node host)

Content Environment

A “Content Environment” is a derivative environment in which content has been imported, saved, and/or installed into an existing environment. The intended use of a Content Environment is to provide access to digital/collection objects as they would have been rendered in their original (or a representative) computing environment. Content Environments are marked with the ‘Content’ label in the EaaSI interface and can not be published to the EaaSI Network.


Any configuration performed and saved on a base environment in EaaSI is captured and referred to as a derivative environment. Derivatives are stored as delta/diff files from the original base to conserve storage (but it is possible to programmatically combine them to re-form a single coherent disk image). Derivatives allow EaaSI users to build off previous work without starting from scratch every time a new environment is needed. The derivative chain of any given environment can be traced via its Details page.

EaaSI Network

The EaaSI Network is a community of node hosts and organization using the EaaSI platform to share collections of environments. The Network is controlled through exclusive access to node endpoints; you can run/use an EaaSI node without being a member of the Network. (But if you would like details about joining the Network, contact us at!)


An endpoint allows for synchronization of environments between two EaaSI nodes. They are a URL configured during node installation to allow for exchange of metadata and files via OAI-PMH.


Environments are emulated computing systems - i.e., a combination of emulated hardware and software components. The goal of EaaSI is to make it simple to create and run environments in a browser. Every environment must have at least two pieces: a hardware configuration and bootable software (i.e. an operating system).

Hardware Configuration

An environment’s hardware configuration refers to the emulator configuration settings that replicate the hardware of a physical computer system. Within EaaSI, these configurations are provided as templates.


A node is a single installation or deployment of the EaaSI platform. By default, all imported or created resources stay within their node, but environments can be published and synced to other nodes in the EaaSI Network. Nodes can contain one or multiple organizations as decided by the node host.

Node Host

Node hosts are an institutional or administrative member of the EaaSI Network. Each host administers at least one node; it controls which of that node’s resources are synced to the rest of the EaaSI Network and which remain accessible only within the node. One node host may provide hosting and EaaSI services for other/multiple instutional/organizational members of the EaaSI Network by grouping the user accounts in their node using organizations.


The collection of files that represent the materials used to transmit, install, and/or operate software or content in EaaSI. This could be the disk image(s) of an installation CD or an archive file packaging software components together.

Operating System

Software may be labelled an Operating System if it contains bootable or installable system software (i.e. that Software can run or install a stand-alone environment).


Since v2021.10, user accounts in an EaaSI nodes can be arranged into arbitrary groups referred to as “organizations”. (Allowing, e.g. for a consortial node host to manage separate pools of EaaSI resources for multiple distinct real-world institutions/organizations, all from within a single installation of the EaaSI platform). Admin-level users can only see and control other user accounts within their organizations as configured by the node host. Real-world institutions are still considered members of the EaaSI Network in an administrative capacity even if they are not a node host themselves, but are provided an organization in a hosted node by a node host.


A resource refers broadly to a usable entity in EaaSI: an environment, software, or content. It is the combination of an object and any metadata necessary to render that object.


Software refers to application and system software, including operating systems, commercial and open source software applications, device drivers, etc.


If a node contributes any resources to the EaaSI Network, it is also considered that resource’s source.