Current Portable Magnetic Media

   Endangered large

Materials saved to magnetic tape, portable hard disks or other magnetic media in the last five years where the reader devices are still supported and can be integrated easily into hardware infrastructure.

Group: Portable Media

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Trend towards reduced risk

Previous classification: Endangered

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 many people and sectors.

Effort to Preserve

It would require a small effort to preserve materials in this group, with the deployment of proven tools or techniques.

Examples

LTO8 tapes; portable hard disks

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Poor storage conditions; encryption; digital rights management; lack of replication; lack of documentation; lack of periodic testing; lack of refreshment pathway; lack of access to readers; out of manufacturers’ warranty or no warranty; storage within paper files.

‘Vulnerable’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Regular review and testing; replication; refreshment plan; comprehensive documentation; high quality storage; regular maintenance of readers; multiple readers available.

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2019 to ensure that the range of media storage is properly assessed and presented. Magnetic media is typically more fragile than optical media because it is susceptible to 'bitrot' and magnetic damage in ways that optical media are not. However, the 2021 Jury commented on how the types of magnetic media used have improved the last five years, notably the use of LTO, increasing good practice and trending towards reduced risk in this respect. It is important to note that LTO tapes come in different generations. Some pose greater preservation risks now (e.g., an organization with no equipment or way of reading content), so the use of LTO is good practice so long as it includes the active management of associated risks.

Additional Jury Comments

This entry is highly dependent on who is looking after the portable media but made more difficult over time. The lack of granularity in the definition means that only general advice can be offered, such as to refresh media. In time, it may yet be more useful to split all storage media (maybe 100 items long) with an indication of how long these can be expected to last. In many cases, specialists can recover obsolete media, but the cost of employing them can become an aggravating condition.

It is important to emphasize that the short lifetime of many storage devices is not a problem to be solved with new long-lasting storage technologies (and indeed, many inventions have come and gone). Cheap commodity storage has been purposely designed to deliver value at a low price for a short time. Therefore, management and preservation processes for monitoring and refreshment need to take these characteristics into account.

Read More

Contractual Documents and Related Records

   Endangered large

Documents, correspondence and other records created in the course of contractual dealings between individuals and agencies, especially where the subjects are of long duration and may be subject to legal scrutiny at undefined points in the distant future.

Group: Digital Legal Records

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

No Change

Previous classification: Endangered

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 many people and sectors.

Effort to Preserve

It would require a small effort to preserve materials in this group, with the deployment of proven tools or techniques.

Examples

Contracts, receipts, correspondence, license agreements, building consent, warranties, and any other document or record that represents a legally binding transaction or permission. Such records may be useful in the avoidance or resolution of disputes whether in court or prior to proceedings. Includes Online Terms and Conditions for e-commerce or end-user agreements for services.

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Loss of context; loss of authenticity or integrity; external dependencies; poor storage; lack of understanding; churn of staff; poorly framed or over-zealous disposal; ill-informed records management; misplaced fears with respect to data protection, encryption.

‘Vulnerable’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Well managed data infrastructure; preservation enabled at the point of creation; carefully managed authenticity; use of persistent identifiers; finding aids; well managed records management processes; application of records management standards

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2019 as a subset of an entry introduced in 2017 for 'Digital Legal Records and Evidence,' which was split into four more discrete entries. There is overlap with Pension Mortgage and Insurance Records entry, but this entry addresses digital records with value over the long term that may not be immediately obvious at the point of creation.

The likelihood of liquidation, mergers or acquisitions means that these records are trending towards greater risk. There was a 2020 trend towards greater risk in light of the Covid Pandemic causing profound dislocation across the economy, placing many companies and agencies at financial risk. The 2021 Jury, however, noted some improvements in record-keeping legislation and regulations and guidance to this area advising what needs to be kept and for how long; while there is still room for improving how legal agreements are managed through records management standards and processes, there is a growing number of agencies with experience of handling this and therefore there has not been a notable trend towards an increased risk for 2021.

Additional Jury Comments

The work and outputs of the EDRMS Preservation Taskforce, such as the EDRMS Preservation Toolkit, may be helpful for guidance as many of these records will be held in EDRMS type systems https://www.dpconline.org/digipres/implement-digipres/edrms-preservation-toolkit.

Read More

Semi-Published Research Data

   Endangered large

Data sets produced in the course of research and shared informally between researchers such as by posting to a website or portal but without preservation capability or commitment. Typically the data remains in the hands of the researchers who have the job of maintaining it.

Group: Research Outputs

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Trend towards reduced risk

Previous classification: Endangered

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 prevent losses in this group, such as the development of new preservation tools or techniques.

Examples

Departmental webservers; project wikis; GitHub repositories

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Originating researcher no longer active or changed research focus; staff on temporary contracts; dependence on single student or staff member; weak or fluid institutional commitment to subject matter; weak institutional commitment to data sharing; complicated or contested intellectual property; encryption; limited or dysfunctional data management planning; web capture challenges that means unlikely to be picked up by automatic crawlers

Vulnerable in the Presence of Good Practice

Data in preparation for transfer to specialist repository; robust data management planning; documented and managed professionally;

2021 Review

This 2019 entry was previously introduced in 2017 under ‘Research Data’, though without explicit reference to semi-published research data. In 2019, the Jury split the ‘Research Data’ entry into a range of contexts for research outputs including this addition. The entry draws attention to represent ‘self-help’ data sharing which is to be encouraged as a means to facilitate open science but shouldn’t be confused with long-term preservation. The 2021 Jury agreed with the endangered classification, noting problems with volume of data being produced but not being kept in meaningful way. Research data is complex and has specific requirements for documentation which may only be known to subject matter experts. However, data creators (e.g. researchers) are not necessarily well placed to sustain data in the long term.

There have also been a few significant changes to the entry in the 2021 Bitlist.

  1. Removal of ‘informally’ from the previous entry description (‘shared informally between researchers’) due to possible misperception or misunderstanding; ‘informal’ may imply researchers would perceive the data as low value and not want it captured. This may be the case, so it is important to consider, and to provide advice and input to researchers who think there is value in their data. 

  2. Two previous entries (Geomagnetic Data and Software and Maritime Archaeological Archives) have been removed as separate entries and incorporated into this broader entry on semi-published research data to highlight the range of content and forms semi-research data can take, and to highlight the need for specialised knowledge and specialist repositories for preparing and/or managing the data throughout the lifecycle

  3. 2021 trend towards reduced risk based the improvements and initiatives towards preservation of semi-published research data since its addition in 2019.

Additional Jury Comments

None

Read More

Recordings of Video Gameplay Uploaded to Online Platforms

   Endangered large

Recordings of game playing and e-sports that show how games are experienced and played, especially multi-user online games and tournaments.

Group: Gaming

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Trend towards greater risk

Previous classification: Endangered

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

Examples

Material uploaded to Amazon Twitch, game channels on YouTube and other playback services

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Controversies around intellectual property rights; lack of offline backup; changing business model of providers; limited recognition of cultural and historic value of game play; over dependence on goodwill subsidy of ad-hoc community; lack of preservation know-how at service providers; dependency on bespoke hardware or interfaces.

‘Vulnerable’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Offline backup; managed intellectual property rights; players and audiences invested in data

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2019 as a subset of an entry made in 2017 for ‘Gaming,’ which the Jury split into four more discrete entries. There are overlaps with the social media entries, except this category specifically draws attention to gaming and e-sports and therefore is a subset of both. By including as a separate entry, the 2019 Jury encouraged greater consideration of the cultural and historic value that such recordings are likely to acquire as well as the technical and economic challenges to preservation. The content is not particularly distinctive in technical terms, but there are aggravating circumstances, namely an almost complete reliance on commercial third parties (Google/YouTube and Amazon/Twitch) for the infrastructure around video capture and hosting. As the majority of this material is experienced and hosted on user-driven and ephemeral platforms such as YouTube and Twitch, it is less 'collectable' than the actual games and is unlikely to exist in private or public collections. Involves platforms that the digital preservation sector does not have much experience working with, e.g., Twitch. For these reasons, the 2012 Trend is towards greater risk.

Additional Jury Comments

Copyright claims on video content by publishers such as Nintendo - while less prevalent now than a few years ago - also complicate things. The significance of loss here is high because recordings, including commentary, and onscreen interactions with other players, seem likely to be the best way of preserving the experience of playing certain games at certain times. We are familiar with the challenges of preserving video, but we need to think about how established approaches will work in the context of the aggravating circumstances outlined above. There is a degree of urgency associated with working out how (legally and technically) preserving the materials that they hold may be preserved.

Important for social context, and from a DP point of view videos should not be too hard, but if we are capturing the experience to inform digital preservation actions and intents, then do not these videos exist in places such as YouTube and wouldn't they be brought in as part of the 'documentary' evidence of DP actions taken on the game or sports that have come into the archive?

Read More

Digitally Published Sheet Music

 

 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 in 2021:

Unanimous Decision

Added to List: 2019

No Change

Previous classification: Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within five years, detailed assessment within three years.

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.

Examples

This entry includes all manner of published sheet music including choral works, orchestral works, scores published in different forms such as PDF, PDF/A and XML.

‘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; legislation in place such as legal deposit enabling copying.

2021 Review

In 2019, this entry was created a subset of a previous 2017 entry, ‘Digital Music Production and Sharing,’ which was split into the to draw attention to the different challenges faced by the different forms. This is recognisably the smallest of the group (compared with ‘Digital music and ephemera shared on social Media’, ‘Master Digital Music and Sound Recordings’, ‘Digital Archives of music production’, ‘Digital recordings published via cloud-based music sharing platforms’) and has connections to PDF and PDF/A as well as E-Book formats which are commonly used to publish music. The 2021 Jury made no changes to this entry classification or trend, but did comment on the importance of legislation (such as legal deposit) in place to manage associated risks.

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 organization 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.

Read More

Orphaned Works

   Endangered large

Digital materials where copyright is uncertain, disputed or unknowable meaning that preservation actions are constrained or prevented.

Group: Orphaned Works

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

Trend towards greater risk

Previous classification: Endangered

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 many people and sectors.

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.

Examples

Photographs, music recordings, literature.

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of documentation; dependencies resulting from hardware, software or media; lack of use resulting in lack of priority; lack of strategic investment in digital preservation; workflows that inhibit preservation of content that has not been licensed; encryption; poor storage.

‘Vulnerable’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Preservation pathway enabled; proven preservation plan applied; active effort to resolve IPR issues; institutional willingness to take risks for preservation.

2021 Review

When this entry was added in 2017, there was little evidence of any renewed effort to address the issue of orphaned work. While there have been improvements to the baseline competence of the archival and library professions in their understanding of copyright and the skills to preserve contents, this alone provides a narrow basis for optimism and the scale of the challenge is likely to have grown just as quickly if not more so as aggravating conditions become more prevalent too. The 2021 Jury added that while content is preservable, preservation of orphans works is a matter of process and risk-appetite. Added to the complexity are changes to copyright legislation in and across different national and regional contexts, particularly for UK institutions post-Brexit as noted in the additional comments below. For this reason there is a 2021 trend towards greater risk.

Additional Jury Comments

The Jury would encourage organizations to take a risk-based approach which would help them preserve collections. Copyright infringements are only likely to become a significant issue in the context of access, and in most cases, the likelihood of any specific action is small. Preservation needs to be presented as a social good, one without which copyright holders would simply be unable to benefit from the property rights they seek to protect.

For UK institutions, the Jury recommends commentary by Naomi Korn on the status of orphan works and the impact of Brexit - that UK institutions are no longer able to make use of the EU Orphan Works Directive and the alternative Orphan Works Licensing Scheme is costly. A list of resources is available at https://naomikorn.com/resources/. For those in the UK, there is also the

UK Copyright and Creative Economy Centre (CREATe) for resources on orphan works and copyright more broadly at https://www.create.ac.uk/resources/.

Case Studies or Examples:

Read More

Legacy Media Art

   Endangered large

Media art in storage or not otherwise displayed but where the artists or technicians are available to support installation

Group: Media Art

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Trend towards greater risk

Previous classification: Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within 12 months, detailed assessment is 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

It would require a major effort to address losses in this group, possibly requiring the development of new preservation tools or techniques.

Examples: Media art in storage

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of documentation to enable maintenance; lack of clarity with respect to intellectual property; complex interdependencies on specific hardware, software or operating systems; lack of capacity in the gallery or workshop; lack of strategic investment; complex external dependencies; loss of institutional memory resulting from staff churn; poor working relationship between the gallery and artist/workshop; lack of conservation assessment.

‘Vulnerable’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Strong documentation; clarity of preservation path and ensuing responsibilities; proven preservation plan; capacity of workshop to support re-installation; capacity of gallery to conserve; capacity of gallery to re-install; retention of institutional memory including archives of correspondence between gallery and artist/workshop; strong and continuing working relationship between the gallery and artist/workshop; regular conservation assessment.

2021 Review

Media Art was introduced in 2017, though with particular reference to historical media art. The 2019 Jury added and scoped this entry to ensure greater specificity in its recommendation. It is intended to represent works held in galleries but no longer displayed, but where there is a continuing working relationship between the gallery and the artist or workshop and reasonable expectation that support for preservation could still be obtained when required. The 2020 review found a trend towards greater risk, given that many museums and galleries, which often rely on visitors for income, have been closed for extended periods. Moreover, any form of digital materials that rely on an individual's knowledge is at particular risk by a pandemic. For similar reasons, the 2021 Jury agreed with the continued trend towards greater risk, noting that digital materials in museums and galleries records are likely to be at greater risk in these circumstances.

Additional Jury Comments

This entry attempts to capture a point in the lifecycle of media art where preservation risks are increasing but not yet critical. There is a risk that preservation issues will not become apparent until the piece is brought out of storage when considered for loan or exhibition - often on timescales that make it too late to address preservation concerns effectively. Galleries should be aware that the range of data/formats/hardware/software embedded in media art can be wide and vary at different speeds.

Sooner action is needed to prevent the material from becoming Critically Endangered once the artist has died or relationships break down. Where the artist is still around, there is a major reduction in the inevitability of loss and its potential to be a potentially newsworthy subject. The loss of it would be just as impactful and significant though

Read More

Electronic Hospital and Medical Records

   Endangered large

Personal medical records and records of hospital treatment are increasingly, if not uniformly born digital. By implication, those records should be retained through the life-time of the patient or in some instances longer as required for intergenerational study; and yet there is little evidence of the medical profession participating in the digital preservation community.

Group: Sensitive Data

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

Trend towards greater risk

Previous classification: Endangered

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 many people and sectors.

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.

Examples

Medical scans; records of treatment and care plans; health advice and notifications;

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Loss of context; loss of authenticity or integrity; poor storage; lack of understanding; churn of staff; significant volumes of data; significant diversity of data; ill-informed records management; poorly developed transfer and integrity checking; poorly developed migration or normalizations specifications; longstanding protocols or procedures that apply unsuitable paper processes to digital materials; encryption

‘Vulnerable’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Well managed data infrastructure; preservation enabled at the point of creation; carefully managed authenticity; use of persistent identifiers; well managed records management processes; application of records management standards; recognition of preservation requirements at highest levels; strategic investment in digital preservation; preservation roadmap; participation in digital preservation community.

2021 Review

This entry was first submitted in 2017 under ‘Medical and hospital records’ but at that time there was limited capacity to address the topic and it was simply published as ‘of concern’ to revisit and review by the 2019 Jury. It was also independently received as a submission to the open nomination process under ‘Electronic hospital and medical records’. The entry covers a broad range of material, and may be useful in future years to split the entry into more discrete entries, but the 2021 Jury agreed to keep the description and classification as is to draw attention to the scale of the digital preservation challenges which arise in hospitals and in the medical profession.

Additionally, the same reasoning for an increased trend towards greater risk in 2020 was used for 2021; there have been placed under significant strain through the Covid pandemic, with resources stretched to meet an overwhelming demand and rigid exacting protocols.  In this environment it is hard to avoid the sense that records are also now at greater risk. The 2021 Jury further commented that hospital records are at greater risk than we think, where there may already be poor maintenance of records during their life-cycle, poor migration planning, etc.

Additional Jury Comments

Increasing sensitivity and awareness of data protection requirements could act inadvertently as a barrier to lifecycle data management. It is striking how little evidence is of the health technology companies participating in the global digital preservation community.

Read More

Digital Music and Ephemera Shared on Social Media

   Endangered large

Digital materials created by musicians and fans as a by-product of performance or recording, shared on websites and other social media platforms.

Group: Sound and Vision

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Trend to greater risk

Previous classification: Endangered

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.

Examples

Fan sites; private or illicit recordings of concerts; informal music sharing between networks such as MySpace and Facebook

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Dependence on social media provider; lack of offline equivalent; infringing intellectual property right; unstable or small community of interest; encryption

Vulnerable in the Presence of Good Practice

Offline equivalent; intellectual property rights conducive to preservation; partnership with collecting institution; availability to web archiving.

2021 Review

In 2019, this entry was created a subset of a previous 2017 entry, ‘Digital Music Production and Sharing,’ which was split into the to draw attention to the different challenges faced by the different forms. This entry has overlaps with other entries relating to social media as well as those relating to community-generated content, but included as a separate entry to emphasize the context in which music is shared and enjoyed – a context which could be lost if our attention were on products controlled by studios or artists. The 2021 Jury discussed content increasingly being shared across multiple platforms, which is both and bad for risk of loss. A multi-platform nature provides an element of protection against total loss, but the role and type of interaction with the content on each platform is also important and this is only expanding with limited attempts at preservation. For this reason the trend has moved towards greater risk with the need for selective approaches given the increasing volume of material.

Additional Jury Comments

The ephemera are increasingly stored on websites that themselves are fragile and are removed, and nothing held on these services can be relied on in archival timeframes.

Web archiving and social media archiving have matured, so a representative sample is probably readily available for particular countries which are more mature in their digital preservation activities as opposed to other countries which are not.

Case Studies or Examples:

Read More

Corporate Records of Long Duration on Network Drives, Intranets and EDRMS

   Endangered large

Records on internal corporate network drives, intranets or document management services where access is limited to a distinct group of users, and in which the lifecycle of the record or the business processes they support is greater than the technology on which they are created or retained.

Group: Sensitive Data

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

Trend to greater risk

Previous classification: Endangered

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 many people and sectors.

Effort to Preserve

It would require a major effort to preserve materials in this group, with the development of new preservation tools or techniques.

Examples

Born digital records of small and medium sized enterprises; fasting-changing internal manuals, advice or policies shared on intranets or EDRMS; records of long-lived products and services; Historic guidelines and manuals which evidence 'best practice'; Documentation supporting long-lived contractual relations; Online terms and conditions; Corporate Slack channels; Google Drives; EDRMS; Email.

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of systematic preservation function; lack of preservation path or plan for data; dependence on proprietary products or formats; poor management of data protection; political or commercial interference; lack of offline equivalent; over-abundance through poor disposal or version control; lack of capacity; lack of commitment; loss or lack of documentation; sector specific software or data types; encryption

‘Vulnerable’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Preservation infrastructure and pathways; replication; appraisal and selection including de-duplication;

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2017 to draw attention to the pressing need for digital preservation in business, especially in small to medium enterprises. The 2020 Jury noted how the Covid Pandemic has caused profound dislocation across the economy and placed many companies and agencies at financial risk.  The likelihood of liquidation, mergers or acquisitions means that these records are trending towards greater risk. The 2021 Jury agrees with the trend towards greater, adding that increased risk is not necessarily because there is no assigned parent archives to take on these materials, but rather because too often they need to sit in these spaces for some time before being transferred to the archives. They are often not well managed or maintained by their creating agencies, putting them at risk of accidental deletion or corruption. There remain increased risks without business continuity and trust.

Additional Jury Comments

Corporate records should form part of organizational records management schemes, and so responsibilities should be clear; however, this may be much more challenging for smaller organizations without dedicated roles or with complex data types.

The work and outputs of the EDRMS Preservation Taskforce over the last year, for example the EDRMS Preservation Toolkit, may be helpful for guidance and examples in this context https://www.dpconline.org/digipres/implement-digipres/edrms-preservation-toolkit.

Read More

Scroll to top