Pre-WWW Videotex Data Services and Bulletin Board Services

   Practically Extinct small

Pre WWW telephone and television information services that allowed a degree of user interaction and data retrieval with modem-based two-way communication.

Digital Species: Sound and Vision

Trend in 2022:

No change No Change

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

Trend in 2023:

No change No Change

Previously: Practically Extinct

Imminence of Action

Immediate action necessary. Where detected should be stabilized and reported as a matter of urgency.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on some people and sectors.

Effort to Preserve | Inevitability

Loss seems inevitable: loss has already occurred or is expected to occur before tools or techniques develop.


Prestel, Minitel, VidiTel and Videotex NL, Alex, BelTel, FidoNet

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Offline backup documented and available for recovery.

2023 Review

This entry was added in 2017, and there has been no evidence to document any change in the initial classification that such data is Practically Extinct. There may be examples residing in offline backups of services taken at the time, but these are likely to have deteriorated rapidly. Therefore, the Jury calls on anyone with such collections to act quickly to stabilize and recover content.

The 2021 Jury agreed with the current classification and description with no change to trend. The 2022 Taskforce noted no change to the trend (they agreed these risks remain on the same basis as before).

The 2023 Council agreed with the classification of Practically Extinct with the overall risks remaining on the same basis as before (no change to the trend). They noted a lower significance of loss but increased imminence of action required as well as the effort to preserve. The need for major efforts to prevent or reduce losses continues, but it is now much more likely that loss of material has already occurred, and will continue to do so, by the time tools or techniques have developed. There is a greater urgency to prioritize the assessment of these materials and develop tools or techniques to prevent or reduce further losses in this group.

Additional Comments

The value of this type of content has been questioned in previous entry reviews. It was noted that loss of this content would impact our understanding of pre WWW digital/electronic communications and whilst the loss in terms of impact on human life would be minimal, from a cultural studies point of view, loss would have a far higher impact.

In terms of preservation, whilst there is no structured collection of this material, many individuals will have their own personal archives and a campaign of the nature of Missing Believed Wiped from the BFI might be effective in collating these disparate collections.

This entry can also be linked to the Community Archives species as early online forums were a place of community development and community creation.

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