Endangered large

Digital materials generated through legal proceedings in court.

Group: Digital Legal Records

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

No change No Change

Previous classification: Endangered


Trend in 2022:


No change No Change


Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, detailed assessment within one year.

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 address losses in this group, possibly requiring the development of new preservation tools or techniques.


Digital record of proceedings; digital records of rulings and all manner of quasi-judicial proceedings and tribunals.

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Loss of context; loss of integrity; external dependencies; poor storage; lack of understanding; churn of staff; significant or diversity of data; poorly developed specifications; ill-informed records management; poorly developed transfer protocols; poorly developed migration or normalization; longstanding protocols or procedures that apply unsuitable paper processes to digital materials.

‘Vulnerable’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Well managed data infrastructure; preservation enabled at ingest; carefully managed authenticity; use of persistent identifiers; finding aids; well managed records management processes; recognition of preservation requirements at highest levels; strategic investment in digital preservation; preservation roadmap; participation in digital preservation community.

2021 Jury Review

This entry is a subset of a previous 2019 entry, ‘Proceedings and Evidence in Court,’ which was itself created as a subset of entry in 2017 for ‘Digital Legal Records and Evidence.’ The 2021 Jury split ‘Proceedings and Evidence in Court’ into two more discrete entries to highlight their distinct preservation challenges and risk profiles. This entry includes court proceedings and recognizes that courts have a responsibility to provide robust preservation that ensures the authenticity of these records..

Additional Comments

Standard Records Management processes within designated agencies should be able to take care of the preservation of materials like this but given that evidence is likely to involve complex types of data, such agencies may not be equipped to deliver preservation effectively. It is surprising that courts are not more obvious in the digital preservation community, where solutions now exist.

Recordings of proceedings in court may include the AV recording of the court session, which may pose particular preservation risks associated with the video files.

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