Endangered large

Sheet music licensed and published in a variety of digital formats and subject to copyright restrictions and often protected by digital rights management technologies

Group: Sound and Vision

Trend: New Entry

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Last update: 2019

Previous category: New Entry

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within five years, detailed assessment within twelve months

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


All manner of published sheet music including choral works, orchestral works, scores.

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Encryption; uncertainty over intellectual property rights; uncertain business model of publisher; lack of legal deposit mandate.

‘Vulnerable’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Rights management conducive to preservation; held in a trusted repository; legal deposit copying enabled.

2019 Review

This is a new entry introduced by the Jury as a subset of ‘Digital Music Production and Sharing’ which was reported in 2017. The Jury has split this into components to draw attention to the different challenges faced by these different forms. This is recognisably the smallest of the group and has connections to PDF and PDF/A as well as E-Book formats which are commonly used to publish music.

Additional Jury Comments

 The commercial value of these materials should be a protection against their loss, and the history of the music industry indicates that sheet music continues to have value, so even if an individual organisation fails or its DRM servers go offline and some music becomes inaccessible it is not lost. However, the difficulties of archiving DRM-locked files remain real.

Scroll to top