Critically Endangered small

Digital content and communications generated for personal consumption in a domestic setting and which may be of limited general interest but highly valuable to family members and genealogy.

Group: Personal Archives

Trend: No Change

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

Last update: 2018

Previously: Critically Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, detailed assessment within 12 months

Significance of Loss

The loss of data, tools or services within this group would have a localised impact.

Effort to Preserve

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


childhood photographs and videos; School or graduation photos; wedding photos and movies; electronic correspondence (email, messenger, WhatsApp)

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

storage on portable media or poor storage; dependence on devices or processes; dependence on obsolete or proprietary formats; storage media out of warranty; single copies; inappropriate dependence on service provider; inappropriate encryption or password protection; lack of awareness or planning; loss or lack of documentation; over-abundance; inability to act in a timely manner; confusion over intellectual property

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Replication; action in a timely manner; open formats; selection and appraisal; archival agency

2019 Review

This was introduced to the BitList in 2017.  Although research and advice on preservation of personal records have been available for some time, outreach and training has not reached the audience and there has been no material improvement in the risks faced by this category since 2017.  It is reasonable to assume that the number of digital objects in this category has increased thus the consequences of loss have expanded. 

It is also a very large category and may be usefully broken into a series of components to represent the complexity more effectively and present a more nuanced action plan.

Additional Jury Comments

A strong overlap with community archives, except noting that responsibility is even more localised. Some loss is inevitable.

This matter needs awareness raising. Education is needed, such as digital preservation as a survival skill for teenagers. Also simple and cheap tools or pathways to preservation are needed.

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