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: New Entry

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Last update: 2019

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 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.


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;

2019 Review

This entry came about by Jury deliberation on entries to the open nomination process.  It is characterised 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 Jury also notes that local conditions are also a significant factor.  For example, web sites 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.

Additional Jury Comments


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