Critically Endangered small

Media inside paper files occur in records since the 1980s and will continue to do so for many years.

Group: Portable Media

Trend: New Entry

Consensus Decision

Added to List:2019

Last update: 2019

Previously: New Entry

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, assessment within 12 months

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 prevent losses in this group, such as the deployment of proven preservation tools or techniques.


Digital media mixed with paper files in records offices and filing cabinets of almost every kind of enterprise. 

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Unsustainable effort to assess; exotic or obsolete media; poor storage; lack of descriptive labelling;

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Carefully labelled; managed programme of assessment and retrieval; robust media used

2019 Review

This is a new entry submitted through the open submission and validated by the Jury who report the significant amounts of digital media being transferred to archives fold into traditional files.  The Jury noted that it is relatively simple to preserve this material once identified using standard tools, but it can be an ‘unknown unknown’ and that assessment can seem overwhelming.

Additional Jury Comments

Highly dependent on who is looking after the portable formats.  There are good example, for example in libraries, where disks are stored at the back of books or front of magazines and can be processed at the point of acquisition. In archives, however dealing with bit-level preservation of external media (often on legacy formats) is largely an unquantified problem and so resource commitments will not be in place. So there is a method and tools but simply no time committed and no proper assessment either. In other agencies the issue will not have even have been considered and for them it will be much harder over time, with some inevitable loss.

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