Smart Phone Gaming

 

 Critically Endangered small

Smart phone gaming is an example of contemporary digital culture but is often considered less important than other games. Many require community engagement for a game to function, similar to Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) Gaming.

Group: Gaming

Trend for 2022:

Consensus Decision

 

No change No Change

 

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, detailed assessment in one year.

Significance and Impact

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on a large group of people and sectors.

Effort to Preserve / Inevitability

It would require a major effort to prevent or reduce losses in this group, including the development of new preservation tools or techniques.

Examples

Pokémon GO, Candy Crush, FG/O, Clash of Clans, Angry Birds

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Uncertainty over IPR; short term contracts; lack of skills, commitment or policy from corporate owners; rapid churn of OS and updates; shifting business requirements of app resellers; dependence on exotic or obsolete formats or OS processes; loss of underlying code or gaming engine; limited or no commercial interest; dependency on remote servers that are closed; limited recognition of value of game play; over dependence on goodwill of ad-hoc community;

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

IPR supportive of preservation; strong documentation; version control for code and compiled app; source code; emulation pathway; trusted designated repository or community taking preservation responsibility and capable to deliver; inclusion by agencies that collect games on other platforms;

2021 Jury Review

This was a new entry submitted through the 2021 open nomination process. There are overlaps between this entry and others relating to both Gaming and Smart Phone Apps. The 2021 Jury recruited additional expertise for a recommendation on which category it better fits and agreed with the expert recommendation to assign the Gaming category but keep as a separate entry to emphasize that smart phone gaming shares preservation issues with video games that are exacerbated by issues unique to smartphones. Smart phone gaming is an example of contemporary digital culture that is often not considered as important as other games and can require community engagement for a game to function similarly to MMOs. While it shares the challenges of mobile gaming (larger volume of titles compared to consoles), the entry was limited to smart phone gaming for two reasons: 1. in relation to gaming, mobile gaming does not have the same community of support for DP and therefore is a special case, and 2. device dependence and lack of infrastructure to recreate digital environment via smartphone.

Additional Comments

Smart phone games such as Pokémon GO, etc. has large active communities of players and fandoms. The argument is that in relation to gaming, mobile gaming does not have the same community of support for DP and therefore is a special case. No clear agency with the intent to collect smartphone games, though there are agencies that collect games on other platforms.

It is unlikely that there will ever be one agent with a mandate to collect and different smart phone gaming apps available in different countries, so a network of national organizations would be needed. The companies that create these are the key to the licensing challenges, and conversation with them is necessary, though it would need to happen immediately in order to negotiate the right to preserve

Case Studies or Examples:

See also:

  • The Videogame Heritage Society, led by the National Videogame Museum, founded in 2022 to bring together organisations and collectors working with videogames. It provides advocacy, expertise, and support in collecting, preserving and displaying videogame. online at https://thenvm.org/about/vhs/

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Digital Archives of Music Production

   Critically Endangered small

Digital materials created by musicians and fans as a by-product of performance or recording, not otherwise published or shared

Group: Sound and Vision

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

No change No Change

Previous classification: Critically Endangered

 

Trend in 2022:

 
 

No change No Change

 

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, detailed assessment within one year.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on people and sectors around the world.

Effort to Preserve

It would require a major effort to prevent losses in this group, such as the development of new preservation tools or techniques.

Examples

Pre-production notes; demo recordings; photography; correspondence.

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

fragile or obsolete media for offline content; service provider preservation capability for online content; dependence on proprietary formats or products; lack or loss of documentation; uncertainty over intellectual property rights; lack of version control; lack of policy or mandate

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Replication; clarity of intellectual property rights; preservation agency involved and capable of looking after content

2021 Jury Review

In 2019, this entry was created as a subset of a previous 2017 entry, ‘Digital Music Production and Sharing,’ which was split into to draw attention to the different challenges faced by the different forms. Although it has overlaps with other entries, including ‘Pre-production TV and Movie materials,’ it is a separate entry to emphasize the inherent and value of the archival materials relating to the recording process over and above the recordings themselves. The 2021 Jury agreed with the entry’s assigned risk classification with no noted changes towards increased or reduced risk.

Additional Comments

For imminence of action, it will all depend on the format of the records. Correspondence or photographs may be left for longer, but recordings will need closer attention, especially if it is a bespoke recording format.

This may be less of digital preservation challenge and more of an archive or collecting challenge. This type of material in the past, like most 'unpublished' archives, has survived through luck and is largely out of a GLAM or institution’s control relying on individuals to assess and evaluate if what they have is of significance. When these types of things come to an institution, based on significance on a case-by-case basis, are these digital objects then considered 'worth' the effort to a) bring into the collection and b) care and preserve them? So yes, while Critically Endangered, these types of collections are enormous and quite often not things one would want to keep for the long term; however, sometimes there is the odd gem.

There is the recognized inevitable loss of existing data, but reducing this loss would require major effort to fix in terms of identifying organizations who are preserving this content, and it is not clear that this is being done already.

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Old or Non-current Offline Video Games

 

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Older or non-current video games designed and played on platforms and devices that are no longer supported online. These include video games that have a dependency on communication with servers that no longer exist (loss has already happened) and others where the dependencies are to do with old hardware/software where there is more potential to preserve the interaction.

This entry also refers to offline gaming, understood here as the interactions and experiences of non-current offline video games that are playable on available on old hardware and software (console and PC technology). These remain playable due to a significant investment of skill and time by players but remain at risk with a lack of presence in safeguarded collections.

Group: Gaming

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

increased riskTrend towards greater risk

Previously: Critically Endangered

 

Trend in 2022: 

 
 

No change No Change

 

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within twelve months, detailed assessment is  a priority.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on a large group of people

Effort to Preserve

Loss seems likely: by the time tools or techniques have been developed the material will likely have been lost.

Examples

Older versions of games such as Civilization; EA Sports; Doom; Role-Playing Games (RPGs) such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Games that rely on unique peripherals to play, including rhythm action titles such as Guitar Hero.

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Complex hardware dependencies or bespoke hardware; dependence on obsolete, low usage operating systems with no emulation pathway; complex intellectual property rights; use of older magnetic media; free distribution on magazines; loss of underlying code or gaming engine; limited or no commercial interest; dependency on remote servers that are closed.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Emulation pathway; source code; trusted repository; large user community;

2021 Jury Review

This entry was added in 2017 as a subset of ‘Gaming,’ It was rescoped in 2021 to bring in overlapping technical complexities with the ‘Old or non-current video games’ entry, which arise from preservation of software and hardware environments, and to narrow concerns specific to offline games and gaming. There is an active specialist market for older games which enables preservation but also skews it around commercial interests. The 2021 Jury noted the need to clarify that the meaning of ‘older’ is open to interpretation, but any version more than ten years from release should be included here, even if and perhaps especially if there are more recent releases.

Additional Comments

Work is happening in this space, and there is an avid amateur community working on this - how do we harness their work, so it is preserved rather than reinventing the wheel?

There are a lot of older (online, typically MMPORG) games that are purely/mostly supported by its community fan base. For example, these communities (distinct to each game) create mods, updates, sometimes host servers, refine animations, etc., to keep these games playable and/or looking fresh for the rest of the community when it’s no longer updated/supported by the game developer. What is interesting is that this is mainly for PC versions of the game because accessing the game on a computer just allows for more customization (Skyrim on PC vs. Skyrim on PlayStation).

 

See also:

  • The Videogame Heritage Society, led by the National Videogame Museum, founded in 2022 to bring together organisations and collectors working with videogames. It provides advocacy, expertise, and support in collecting, preserving and displaying videogame. online at https://thenvm.org/about/vhs/

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Supporting Digital Materials for Museums and Galleries

 

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All manner of digital materials held in museums to support the access, interpretation and management of physical collections, including material supporting collections management, conservation data, interpretative materials, oral history, and generated by interaction with the public and in the course of research. It excludes digital material formally accessioned into museum collections.

Group: Museum Data

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

increased riskTrend towards greater risk

Previous classification: Endangered

 

Trend in 2022:

 
 

No change No Change

 

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, detailed assessment within one year.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on many people and sectors.

Effort to Preserve

It would require a small effort to address losses in this group, requiring the application of proven preservation tools or techniques.

Examples: Digital photography, video, sound, oral histories, collections management documentation, collections management systems, conservation records or data, records of exhibitions, interpretive materials, records, archives, operational or business records, scientific research outputs, correspondence, social media, 3d digitization.

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of repository infrastructure; external dependencies; dependency on cloud provider; poor storage; churn of staff; significant volumes or diversity of data; poorly developed digitization specifications; ill-informed records management policy; conflation of access with preservation; poorly developed migration or normalization; longstanding protocols or procedures that apply unsuitable paper processes to digital materials; inability to assume responsibility; encryption

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Repository and preservation infrastructure; strategic leadership; well-developed digitization and migration pathways; participation in the global digital preservation community; Business continuity records i.e. accession records, catalogues loss should be avoidable with good practice

2021 Jury Review

This entry was added in 2019 under ‘Digital Materials in Museums and Galleries’ to bring together submissions from the open nomination process. The 2019 Jury took the view that museums make creative use of digital technology but have weak incentives to preserve the outputs when compared to libraries or archives. Museums take responsibility for the care of physical collections in the long term, which brings a derived requirement to preserve digital materials relating to those collections. The museum sector lacks preservation capability.
The 2020 Jury noted that the entry was very broadly defined, and whilst it is useful to draw attention to the challenges, it might usefully be disaggregated in the future. The 2021 Jury agreed, commenting on a potential misunderstanding with the entry based on what examples first come to readers’ minds when reading the description; some interpreted the material as databases and catalogues, others interpreted it more as business continuity records and interpretive outputs through websites, and readers of the BitList may also have other interpretations with the broad ‘Digital Materials in Museums and Galleries’ title. While these all may fit under the purposively broad entry, the Jury voted to rename and rescope the entry with emphasis on supporting material for collections management, conservation data, interpretative materials, and oral history.
The 2021 Jury also noted a trend towards greater risk based on many museums and galleries, which often rely on visitors for income, closed for extended periods. In those circumstances of economic dislocation digital materials in museums and galleries records are likely to be at a greater risk than in 2019 and 2020 due to major funding crisis in museums after Covid 19.

Additional Jury Comments

Much of these records already exist in hybrid and unorganized forms. Most museums do not have a grasp on the scale of their problems (especially big ones that have been doing digital forms of collections management for years and have lots of floppy discs, CDs and legacy systems that have not been properly migrated). Not convinced that museums always have a handle on their data management and apply the appropriate conservation methods and practices to this material to ensure its perennity. Moreover, this sector is incredibly diverse and different needs are likely to exist in different kinds of museums or galleries.

It may be useful to disaggregate this entry again in the next review, pulling out born digital material and content that is potentially at greater risk to create new subsets as well as separating those with less risk. For example:

Databases and catalogues may have lower risk as they are more likely to be preserved because they are periodically updated. Museums have significant incentives to maintain collection catalogues for audit purposes and to share these with the public. Such databases are likely to face less severe preservation challenges than data generated about the collection through museum operations, conservation or research. But there can still be a lack of preserving the content in databases and a long way to go in smaller institutions (yes, tech and vendors improving, but the issue is with institutions).

Interpretive outputs through websites may have reduced risk as web outputs if captured as part of national web archiving initiatives. Exhibition catalogues and interpretation of collections are often published online in research papers, etc.

Related data sets present different challenges too. For example, 3D digitization is a particular challenge for museums as preservation standards are deficient and easily overlooked in the enthusiasm for fashionable or eye-catching trends which purport to extend access.

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Unpublished Research Data from Government Researchers

 

 Critically Endangered small

Data sets and research outputs produced in the course of government research but never shared or made available outside of the initial research. In particular, the risk classification applies to research data under government embargo, restrictions due to sensitivities, classification issues, and/or materials suppressed for ideological reasons.

Group: Research Outputs

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

increased riskTrend towards greater risk

Previous classification: Critically Endangered

 

Trend in 2022:

 
 

No change No Change

 

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within twelve months, detailed assessment is a priority.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on many people and sectors.

Effort to Preserve

It would require a major effort to prevent losses in this group, such as the development of new preservation tools or techniques.

Examples

Data sets or research outputs produced for agencies that have closed or have had funding withdrawn from research initiatives.

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of access to archival services; sudden or un-anticipated closure; loss of implicit knowledge from destabilised or demoralised staff; encryption

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Archival responsibility well developed; documentation; published through research channels.

2021 Jury Review

This entry was added in 2019 under ‘Unpublished Research Data from US Govt Researchers’ It has significant overlaps with other entries in the research outputs group but was retained to draw attention to two realities: firstly that research outputs are not simply a matter for academic institutions, and that government is, in fact, a major producer of research data; and secondly that political instability and threats to the continuity of government services are a significant preservation risk. The 2019 entry description noted that while it related to the US, it did not mean that other jurisdictions are immune from political instability, and comment by the 2019 Jury that politically inconvenient research outputs face particular and immediate threats of which the digital preservation community should be cognizant.
The 2021 Jury agreed with this concern and broader applicability but recommended that this should be more explicit, and both title and description should be changed to broaden and include governments across national and international contexts. This change does mean that the risk profile will range and depend on the political system, the political change and the measures in place to save and reuse data from disbanded research projects; in other words, there may be instances where the unpublished research data in one country may fall under the Vulnerable category.

Additional Jury Comments

The US made the news as part of the last government, but this is probably an issue in other countries as well and is, therefore, a category that could be made more generic. One question to ask is whether the research data is considered of long-term value or considered ephemeral?

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Web Domains with no Legal Deposit

   Critically Endangered small

Web archiving is a recognized specialism within digital preservation, able to capture large quantities of material with routine and standards-based tools. But there are significant issues of intellectual property rights associated with website capture and republication. In many jurisdictions, but by no means all, those obstacles are overcome by regulations that enable a national library or other ‘legal deposit’ agency to copy and preserve content. Where no such permission exists, there is a significant risk of loss.

Group: Web

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

increased riskTrend towards greater risk

Previous classification: Critically Endangered

 

Trend in 2022:

 
 

No change No Change

 

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within twelve months, detailed assessment is a priority.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on many people and sectors.

Effort to Preserve

Loss seems likely: by the time tools or techniques have been developed the material will likely have been lost.

Examples

Domains registered without a country code; domains with a country code but weak or unenforceable legal deposit permission to harvest.

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Rapid churn of websites; lack of access to Internet Archive harvest; contentious content; encryption; digital rights management; non-standard content management

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Permissive approach to Legal deposit;

2021 Jury Review

This entry was added in 2019. It is characterized by regulatory barriers rather than technical ones, though the pace of change in web technologies, as well as the growth of web content, mean that significant technical challenges still exist. The 2019 Jury noted that local conditions are also a significant factor. For example, websites often also fall under public records legislation or are important elements of corporate records: and so important parts of the web are harvested even when there is no explicit legal deposit legislation. Moreover, the Jury particularly recognizes the work of the Internet Archive to capture and preserve content. Even so, there are significant gaps in web archiving, and in too many cases, it is regulation that is the barrier. The 2021 Jury agreed with this description and classification but added that in some limited instances, pywb tools (as opposed to automated web crawlers like Heritrix) could effectively capture the look and feel of a platform interface, preserving legacy versions for users to interact with in the future. However, pywb tools are manual and therefore cannot address the scale of this issue. They also do not capture interfaces in a way that makes it possible to recreate them in the future, only interact with a defined set of web pages. For this growing issue of scale, the 2021 Trend was towards greater risk.

Additional Comments

Unless the Internet Archive is picking these up, the early web or permission regimes are in place, and these early instances are gone forever and will continue to be lost. 

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Pre-WWW ViewData and TeleText Services where no Archival Agency has Captured and Retained the Signal

 

 Critically Endangered small

Pre-WWW television information services broadcast within the TV signal that allowed a degree of search and retrieval of up-to-date information, based on TeleText or ViewData technologies and variants.

Group: Sound & Vision

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

reduced riskTrend towards reduced risk

Previous classification: Practically Extinct

 

Trend in 2022:

 
 

No change No Change

 

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, detailed assessment within one year.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on many people and sectors.

Effort to Preserve

It would require a major effort to prevent losses in this group, such as the development of new preservation tools or techniques.

Examples

AerTel; Electra; MetroText; Antiope-based systems; Ceefax; TeleText

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of understanding; structure of information silos; Lack or loss of documentation; Uncertainty about intellectual property rights; Lack of funding or impetus

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Captured within on-air broadcast recordings; active research and recovery programme

2021 Jury Review

A number of important developments were reported since this entry was added in 2017, raising hope that collections can be recovered and re-used under certain circumstances.
A trend towards decreased risk was noted in 2020, based on live-capture of broadcast output at the BBC and British Film Institute. Embedded signals can be assembled to access the Teletext content, and methods to recover such signals have been demonstrated (where the appropriate broadcast archive exist). In 2019, a proposal to add teletext graphics characters to the Universal Coded Character Set was accepted, making it easier to transmit and archive teletext and legacy computer graphics for archiving and preservation. Version 13.0 of the Unicode Standard, released in March 2020, included the addition of graphic characters that provide compatibility with early teletext broadcasting standards.
The 2021 Jury agreed with the 2020 review with a 2021 trend towards reduced risk. While it is not yet fully clear how such a signal could be made searchable or made available at scale, research has progressed with different threads of research and enthusiast and community led initiatives being brought together in the development of preservation tools and techniques. In light of these developments and active research and recovery efforts, the Jury supported a change from the Practically Extinct to Critically Endangered classification.

Additional Comments

I think this material is Critically Endangered and it will impact our understanding of pre WWW digital/electronic communications. When viewing impact in terms of impact on human life, it is minimal, but it does have an impact on understanding our history. The star quality is limited at this point because I do not think anyone is as concerned as internet historians or those involved in history and technology)

From a cultural studies point of view, it is a huge loss: an important source of information about news and social mores of the time. Is there progress to report on this entry, meaning that elements of the problem have been resolved? Major national agencies have collections of off-air recorded television on videotape carriers, which are likely to contain the teletext data. Few, if any, have undertaken substantial extraction and preservation of the teletext in its own right, although many have digitized videotape carriers to digital file formats, which are now under preservation. An active Teletext enthusiast community has developed and has created programmatic solutions to the extraction of the teletext from the video files and emulation of the teletext display. A next step could be a collaboration between the official agencies and the enthusiast community to develop a systematic programme to extract teletext from off-air recordings for both preservation and access via emulation.

See also:

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Community Generated Content in Arts and Heritage

   Critically Endangered small

Digital materials produced and shared in and by ad-hoc community art and heritage projects, typically through digitization, where the creation of digital materials was a significant purpose of the initiative.

Group: Community Archives

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

No change No Change

Previous classification: Critically Endangered

 

Trend in 2022:

 
 

No change No Change

 

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within twelve months, detailed assessment is a priority

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on people and sectors around the world.

Effort to Preserve

It would require a major effort to prevent or reduce losses in this group, possibly requiring the development of new preservation tools or techniques.

Examples

Locally organised programmes associated with public remembrance and celebration such as World War One centennial commemorations; City of Culture; Olympic Games; World Cup

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Poor documentation; lack of replication; lack of continuity funding; lack of residual mechanism. dependence on small number of volunteers, lack of preservation mandate; lack of preservation thinking at the outset; failure of digital legacy planning; conflation of backup with preservation; conflation of access and preservation; inaccessible to web archiving

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Residual archive with residual funding able to receive and support collections; strict adherence to digitization guidelines; quality assurance; active user community; intellectual property managed to enable preservation.

2021 Jury Review

This entry was added in 2019 as a subset of ‘Community Archives and Community-Generated Content’ which was split into two to provide greater specificity in recommendations. The 2020 Jury noted a trend towards greater risk based on how Community art and heritage groups, which often rely on volunteer effort, have been unable to meet for extended periods in 2020. Moreover, the local galleries, museums and arts centres on which they depend have closed, in some cases for good. Considering this dislocation, digital materials generated by community groups in arts and heritage are likely to be at a greater risk than in 2019.
The 2021 Jury agreed with the Critically Endangered classification and 2020 trend towards greater risk. However, the risk had not increased to the extent where there was a notable 2021 trend. The Jury commented that risks have not increased as so much as the challenges have remained, specifically those of funding and sustainability. Community-generated materials are often produced and shared through funded projects and tell a similar story of loss through inaction, but the challenge is the same as before; sustainability with project-based funding. There should be greater Responsibility of funding bodies to ensure that digital preservation is built into any funded community preservation project plan and outcome. Digital content in this context is often seen as a by-product of engagement and is annoyingly left to disappear by organizations that do not have digital preservation experience or infrastructure. With good governance and sustainable digital repository support, this should not be an issue.

Additional Comments

Local archives address these collections on an ad hoc basis. This entry provides cultural insights into parts of society not addressed by collecting policies with a focus on the famous. Difficult to state whether national or international impact since it largely depends on the content and how widely it is used. I think this also depends on the identity group represented by the community group, such as events around Black History Month. Loss seems likely because of the precarity of the funding streams, or lack thereof, for these projects. Once digitization has been carried out, many projects do not know what to do with them or have the means to make them accessible. Often a lack of understanding of copyright is a barrier to sharing.

This may also be a call to education for grant funders about digital preservation of the long tail in funding these projects, such as what is happening now with government-funded research in universities and the universities realizing they have a responsibility to maintain the digital research data in a usable format.

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Correspondence and Records of Research

   Critically Endangered small

Correspondence and other records which describe the configuration and delivery of research but which are ancillary to the core research outputs, including reviews, drafts and correspondence between researchers.

Group:  Research Outputs

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

No change No Change

Previous classification: Critically Endangered

 

Trend in 2022:

 
 

No change No Change

 

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, detailed assessment in one year.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on many people and sectors.

Effort to Preserve

Loss seems likely: by the time tools or techniques have been developed the material will likely have been lost.

Examples

Email boxes of senior academics; social media posts; personal spaces on institutional networks

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Originating researcher no longer active or changed research focus; staff on temporary contracts; dependence on single student or staff member; weak or fluid institutional commitment to subject matter; weak institutional commitment to data sharing; complicated or contested intellectual property; encryption

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Recognition of value of correspondence; integration with CRIS; routine use of EDRMS; documented and managed professionally; separation of personal and corporate identities

2021 Jury Review

This entry was introduced in 2017 under ‘Research Data,’ though without specific reference to the correspondence and records of research. In 2019, the Jury split this entry into a range of contexts for research outputs. There was a 2020 trend towards greater risk based on education and research institutions facing budget uncertainties, and a number of institutions have introduced early severance schemes or put staff on short term contracts at greater risk of redundancy and, while this puts other types of research output at risk, the personal nature of correspondence means that the risks are intensified, and so this item faces greater risks than identified in 2019. However, the 2021 Jury agreed there had been no significant change in the trend over the preceding year indicating a trend towards increased or reduced risk.

Additional Comments

In an ideal circumstance, correspondence should be stored in EDRMS systems separately from research data and subject to different retention schedules, i.e., 10-20 years. There may be challenges connecting the EDRMs holdings to the research data and vice versa.

Advocacy and research re the scale of the problem may be required to encourage academics to use EDRMs, for example, correspondence and integration with CRIS. Simplified tools and workflows to move data from CRIS to Repository to Preservation systems

There should also be an encouragement to researchers to keep only what is needed and only for so long as the retention period requires. More often than not, records of correspondence will not require long-term preservation.

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Old or Non-current Video Games

 

 Critically Endangered small

Older video games designed and played on platforms and devices that are no longer supported, especially those with complex but obsolete rights management or system dependencies. This group includes also older editions of games still published in newer editions

Group: Gaming

Trend for 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

No change No Change

Previously: Critically Endangered

 

Trend for 2022:

 
 

No change No Change

 

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within twelve months, detailed assessment is now a priority

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on people and sectors around the world.

Effort to Preserve

Loss seems likely: by the time tools or techniques have been developed the material will likely have been lost.

Examples

SimCity; Wolfenstein 3D; Lemmings; Animal Crossing

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Complex hardware dependencies or bespoke hardware; dependence on obsolete, low usage operating systems with no emulation pathway; complex intellectual property rights; use of older magnetic media; free distribution on magazines; loss of underlying code or gaming engine; limited or no commercial interest; dependency on remote servers that are closed.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Emulation pathway; source code; trusted repository; large user community;

2021 Jury Review

This entry was added in 2019 as a subset of the previous 2017 entry for ‘Gaming,’ This entry for older games encourages greater consideration of the technical complexities which arise from preservation of software and hardware environments as well as the historic value that games have acquired. There is an active specialist market for older games which enables preservation but also skews it around commercial interests. The 2021 Jury also noted the need to clarify that the meaning of ‘older’ is open to interpretation, but certainly any version more than ten years from release should be included here, even if and perhaps especially if there are more recent releases.

Additional Comments

It can be difficult to distinguish these from the related ‘Offline gaming’ entry, as some may be played not only offline in a self-contained way but also online or with online elements, which is why this entry is separated to note additional complexities in terms of systems dependencies that need to be considered. It is one thing to be able to get older software running on a different CPU architecture (emulation), but another thing entirely to recreate the peripherals (Wiimotes, plastic guitars, steering wheels, even bongo drums!) that are required to play the games as intended. There is a sort of kinaesthetic issue: one could perhaps use the accelerometers in modern smartphones to simulate the functionality of a Wiimote, but it will feel different in hand.

It might be possible to sub-divide between games that have a dependency on communication with servers that no longer exist (loss has already happened) and others where the dependencies are to do with old hardware/software where there is more potential to preserve the interaction.

It is unclear who is responsible for preserving what, and games may be falling between the cracks. Often this is when the fan community steps in because developers will only update games that have real commercial benefit.

 

See also: 

  • The Videogame Heritage Society, led by the National Videogame Museum, founded in 2022 to bring together organisations and collectors working with videogames. It provides advocacy, expertise, and support in collecting, preserving and displaying videogame. online at https://thenvm.org/about/vhs/

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