Practically Extinct small

Animations, games, and other interactive applets created with Macromedia Adobe Flash Player and Shockwave Flash, along with their accompanying websites. These are primarily .swf files, but they can also include networked collections of .swf files and external assets, as well as the web pages where they are displayed.

Group: Web

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: New Entry

Trend towards greater risk

Previous classification: Critically Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within twelve months, detailed assessment is a priority.

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.


Flash and Shockwave based games; cartoons; interactives

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Migration plan initiated; supported in multiple browsers; security vetted; emulation pathway

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2019. The 2019 jury noted that flash animations and applets was a mainstay of interactive web design from the late 1990’s. Flash animations and interactives are created using tools supplied by the Adobe of the same name.  Although Flash enables the development of sophisticated interaction at low cost over the web, it has had a chequered history in terms of browser support and has been plagued by security concerns.  It is due to be retired by December 2020 and publishers are being encouraged to migrate to alternative formats. 

The 2020 Jury added the trend towards greater risk based on the indication by Adobe for some time that there would be withdrawal of support to Flash Animation which (due for retiral in December 2020), and actions to retrieve Flash Animation are therefore more urgent than in 2019.

As noted by the 2021 Jury, the discontinuation and withdrawal of support did indeed occur. Flash is no longer supported and loss already experienced with Adobe's deprecation of Flash and lack of support in modern web browsers. For this reason, the classification has moved to practically extinct with a trend towards greater risk given the loss of dependence on Flash which has resulted in new aggravating conditions for migration pathway, emulation pathway, source code, lack of capacity or motivation to support, no commercial interest.

Additional Jury Comments

Flash represents a significant amount of the creativity of websites in the early 2000s including net-based art and cartoons. With extinction, archives will need to consider if it is possible to preserve interaction through the development of new web archiving and emulation tools and techniques.

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