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.

Group: Sound & Vision

Trend in 2021:

Unanimous Decision

Added to List: 2017

No change No Change

Previous classification: Practically Extinct


Trend in 2022:


No change No Change


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

Loss seems likely: by the time tools or techniques have been developed the material will likely have been lost.


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

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Offline backup documented and available for recovery;

2021 Jury 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.

Additional Comments

Is there any real value with this type of content apart from nostalgia and understanding the evolution of technology?

I think that this material is Critically Endangered and it will impact our understanding of pre WWW digital/electronic communications. When ranking 'impact,' I considered the loss in terms of impact on human life, which is minimal, but it does have an impact on understanding our history.

From a cultural studies point of view, it is a huge loss.

This is also something that links to community archives and community heritage - early online forums were a place of community development and community creation.

Presumably, a database is sitting behind these types of things and has emulation been tried? Although there is no structured collection of this material, many individuals have archives, and a campaign of the nature of 'Missing believed Wiped' might be effective

Almost impossible to get this data back (we can hope for some disks to show up one day that has traces on them).

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