Critically Endangered small

Animations, games, and other interactive applets created with Macromedia Adobe Flash, along with their accompanying websites. These are primarily .swf files, but they can also include networked collections of .swf files and external assets, as well as the web pages where they are displayed.

Group: Web

Trend: New Entry

Consensus Decision

Added to List: New Entry

Last update: New Entry

Previous category: New Entry

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within 12 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

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


Flash based games; Flash cartoons; Flash interactives

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Dependence on older (unpatched) versions of Flash Player; lack of migration pathway to HTML5 or cognate technology; lack of capacity or motivation to export; execution in older browsers.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Migration plan initiated; supported in multiple browsers; security vetted

2019 Review

This is a new entry received from the Open submission process and reviewed by the Jury.  Flash animations and applets was a mainstay of interactive web design from the late 1990’s. Flash anmimation and interactives are created using tools supplied by the Adobe of the same name.  Although Flash enables the development of sophisticated interaction at low cost over the web, it has had a chequered history in terms of browser support and has been plagued by security concerns.  It is due to be retired by December 2020 and publishers are being encouraged to migrate to alternative formats. 

Additional Jury Comments

Flash represents a significant amount of the creativity of websites in the early 2000’s including net-based art and cartoons.

Extinction is imminent for flash viewers: web archives will need to consider if it is possible to preserve interaction in newer browsers, or rely on a much more highly selective WebRecorder approach.

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