Geomagnetic Data and Software

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Data, software and supporting paradata relating to Earth's magnetic field and Earth-Sun environment, including current declination, geomagnetic field surveys and observations, field models and magnetic indices, and data from geomagnetic observatories.

Group: Research Outputs

Trend: New Entry

Unanimous Decision

Added to List: 2017

Last update: 2017

Previous category: Of Concern

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 preserve materials in this group, including the development of new tools or techniques.

Examples

Outputs from geomagnetic scanning and measurement sensors both terrestrial and satellite-based, as well as supporting calibration and reference data and software to enable assembly and rectification to co-ordinate systems

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Bespoke or undocumented software; undocumented data cleaning; disassociation with documenting, especially instrument calibration data; Lack of conformance or validation against standards; lack of preservation commitment or planning; no identified repository or lack of capability in repository; lack of storage replication; political or commercial interference; loss of version control; poorly managed intellectual property rights; poor metadata; loss of authenticity.

Lower Risk in the Presence of Good Practice

backup and documentation; use of open formats and open source software; data management planning before fieldwork; licencing that enables preservation; preservation capability in designated repository; resilient to hacking; selection and appraisal criteria; version control; authenticity; resilient funding and recognition of value; technology watch.

2019 Review

This entry was introduced in 2017 but was outside the competence of the judges to assess at that time.  It was scheduled to be assessed in 2019 and additional expertise was invited to the panel to support this assessment: but it was also independently introduced through the open nomination process again in 2019. It is presented as an example of research data, though noting the competences of agencies involved in preserving geo-magnetic data and software it has been classified accordingly.

Additional Jury Comments

Institutions that collect and manage geomagnetic data should strongly consider an assessment against the Core Trust Seal which now incorporates many of the characteristics previously measured by the World Data System.  Researchers intending to create data should examine data management planning tools; and researcher intending to deposit data should assess whether their chosen repository meets the Core Trust Seal Requirements.

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Local Network Storage

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Materials routinely copied or backed up to locally managed data storage facility and able to be restored under institutional service arrangements.

Group: Storage

Trend in 2021:

Unanimous Decision

Added to List: 2019

No Change

Previous classification: Vulnerable

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, requiring the application of proven tools and techniques.

Examples

Institutional or departmental network storage and institutional data centers based on technologies such as (NAS) Network Attached Storage, (RAID) Redundant Array of Independent Disks, (SAN) Storage Area Networks, JBOD (Just a bunch of disks), SPAN and related

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Encryption; lack of routine maintenance; lack of storage replication; over-dependence on single supplier, technology or technician; insufficient documentation; single point of failure; political or commercial interference; failure of dependencies (e.g., power supply, controller software); overly aggressive compression; poor information security; lack of integrity-checking; lack of strategic investment; lack of warranty; unenforceable warranty, encryption.

‘Lower Risk’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Backup to different technology; backup to diverse locations; documentation of assets; integrity checking; preservation planning; refreshment planning; export functionality; resilient to hacking; selection and appraisal criteria; version control; resilient funding; technology watch; enforceable warranty; disaster planning and documentation.

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2019 to ensure that the range of media storage is properly assessed and presented. The 2021 Jury agreed with the Vulnerable classification with no trend towards greater or reduced risk.

Additional Jury Comments

See also: Digital Preservation Coalition (2016) ‘Storage’ in Digital Preservation Handbook (Second Edition), online at https://dpconline.org/handbook/organizational-activities/storage.

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Pension, Mortgage and Insurance Records

Pension, Mortgage and Insurance Records

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Records of transactions for long-lived financial products and services contracted between individuals and corporations. These records typically contain or depend on significant amounts of personal information and outlast the infrastructure on which they were created.

Group: Sensitive Data

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

No Change

Previous classification: Vulnerable

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, requiring the application of proven tools and techniques.

Examples

Applications, correspondence and ancillary records relating to pensions, mortgages and insurances and other contracts of long duration. This includes corporate databases, email, web archives and EDRMS and may require some co-ordination of paper, microfiche, born digital and digitized records. These records often include the scope and duration of the contract as well as any agreed changes during the lifetime of the product. It may also include evidence of mis-selling or other sharp practice which only becomes apparent after the fact. This entry pertains to the corporate records rather than personal records.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of corporate preservation planning; lack of preservation within procurement of corporate systems; companies conflating backup with preservation; loss of integrity and authenticity; loss of context and connections to provide meaning; lack of preservation capability within agencies; lack of preservation voice at executive level; poor planning and roadmap for corporate infrastructure; proliferation of legacy systems; slapdash procurement or migration of new systems; mergers and acquisitions leading to confusion of corporate systems; lack of compliance, audit or accountability at operational levels; encryption.

‘Lower Risk’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Backup and documentation; use of open formats and open source software; considered data management planning; licencing that enables preservation; preservation capability in designated repository; resilient to hacking; selection and appraisal in place; authenticity and integrity of records managed; resilient funding and recognition at executive level; technology watch; regular preservation audits; accreditation and participation in professional preservation community.

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2017 but was outside the competence of the judges to assess at that time. It was assessed in 2019 with additional expertise invited to the panel to support this assessment, and reviewed again in 2020. The 2021 Jury agreed with that 2019 assessment and subsequent 2020 review which classifies these digital materials as vulnerable with no trend towards greater or reduced risk.

Additional Jury Comments

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

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Cloud Storage

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Materials routinely copied or backed up to an independently managed, off-site data storage facility and able to be restored under contractual terms.

Group: Storage

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Trend towards greater risk

Previous classification: Vulnerable

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, requiring the application of proven tools and techniques.

Examples

Remote network storage provided by a third-party service under contract, such as DropBox, Amazon, Microsoft Azure, Dell EMC, Google Cloud Platform, Google Drive, IBM, Intel, Rackspace, Iron Mountain, SAP, and others

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Encryption; lack of routine maintenance; lack of storage replication; over-dependence on single supplier; insufficient documentation; lack of local alternative; political or commercial instability; overly aggressive compression; poor information security; lack of transparent integrity-checking; lack of strategic investment; lack of migration plan; lack of exit strategy; unenforceable penalties; unstable pricing; unpredictable removal costs

‘Lower Risk’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Backup to different technology; backup to diverse locations; documentation of assets; integrity checking; preservation planning; export functionality; resilient to hacking; version control; resilient funding; technology watch; enforceable contract; disaster planning and documentation, stable pricing; budgeted removal costs.

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2019 to ensure that the range of media storage is properly assessed and presented. The 2021 Jury noted increased risk in light of greater reliance on the cloud and localized disruptions to cloud services over the pandemic. The 2021 trend towards greater risk is based on the wider (global) dependence on these services, especially Google Drive, for record keeping and business workflows. The impact of loss increases with much more reliance on cloud services leading to greater risk; however, this should not deter people from using cloud storage. Therefore, the vulnerable classification stands so long there are safeguards in place.

Additional Jury Comments

The history of digital preservation suggests that the risk of vendors going out of business or shutting down services is the key issue here, over and above any specific technical solutions or risks.

Case Studies or Examples:

See also: Digital Preservation Coalition (2016) ‘Storage’ in Digital Preservation Handbook (Second Edition), online at https://dpconline.org/handbook/organizational-activities/storage.

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Current Hard Disk Technologies

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Materials saved to storage devices with a variety of underlying magnetic or solid-state (flash) technologies that are hardwired into a computer still under warranty or supported: typically hard disks that are less than five years old.

Group: Storage

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Trend towards greater risk

Previous classification: Vulnerable

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, requiring the application of proven tools and techniques.

Examples

Direct Attached Storage (DAS) such as Magnetic or solid-state drives integrated into individual laptop or workstations and into smaller scale storage facilities.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Encryption; poor handling; poor storage; lack of consistent replication; failure of external (dependencies e.g., suppliers, security); political or commercial interference; failure of internal dependencies (e.g., power supply, disk controller); overly aggressive compression; poor information security; lack of integrity-checking; lack of strategic investment; lack of warranty; unenforceable warranty; encryption.

‘Lower Risk’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Backup to different technology; backup to diverse locations; documentation of assets; integrity checking; preservation planning; refreshment planning; export functionality; resilient to hacking; selection and appraisal criteria; version control; resilient funding; technology watch; enforceable warranty; disaster planning.

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2019 to ensure that the range of media storage is properly assessed and presented. It was reviewed in 2020 with no noted change towards greater or reduced risk. While the 2021 Jury agreed with the current Vulnerable classification, they added a trend towards greater risk in light of the continued shift towards reliance on cloud storage with computers increasingly reducing hard disk for solid-state storage and commercial motivations for less support. As people increasingly select other storage methods such as cloud, they are less likely to maintain existing content on portable hard disks, which means the portable hard disks are more likely to be overlooked or ignored (e.g., left in drawers) rather than checked and refreshed.

Additional Jury Comments

See also: Digital Preservation Coalition (2016) ‘Storage’ in Digital Preservation Handbook (Second Edition), online at https://dpconline.org/handbook/organizational-activities/storage.

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Recently Commissioned or Completed Media Art

Recently Commissioned or Completed Media Art

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Media art currently displayed in a gallery or in the process of being displayed.

Group: Media Art

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Trend towards greater risk

Previous classification: Vulnerable

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, requiring the application of proven tools and techniques.

Examples

Media art recently acquired by galleries that utilizes specific hardware and software in order to be accessed or exhibited.

‘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

‘Lower Risk’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Strong documentation; clarity of preservation path and ensuing responsibilities; proven preservation plan; capacity of workshop to support artwork at de-installation; capacity of gallery to conserve after de-installation; capacity of gallery to re-install work

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2019 as a separate entry, but it was previously introduced in 2017 under ‘Media Art’ with particular reference to historical media art which was categorised as ‘critically endangered’. It was added for greater specificity in its recommendation, to represent works commissioned in the last five years where there is a reasonable expectation that documentation has been produced or could still be obtained. While the 2020 Jury found no change in trend, the 2021 Jury discussed on how prospects for long-term preservation depend entirely on whether the artwork is collected post-commission and by an organisation with the resources to care for it.

The imminence of action is  time-sensitive, requiring working with the artist to get the documentation from them about their work and what is needed before it is too late. Furthermore there remains vulnerability for the smaller museums or the ones that do not take media art as seriously. For these reasons it the Jury agreed that the classification remain vulnerable but trend changed towards greater risk.

Additional Jury Comments

By the time digital art, time-based media, etc., has entered into the permanent care of a stewarding institution, many of its technologies are already end-of-life, unsupported, or the hardware components have deteriorated. Often the expertise to maintain these many interacting components sits outside the host organization, with a technical supplier to the gallery, and this is in itself vulnerable to business change. Although there are a few exceptions, there is a need for greater capacity within the museum and gallery sector to address the challenges.

There have been new initiatives for guidance and examples of institutions taking wider sectoral responsibility for standards, which have helped with the effort to preserve, such as Matters in Media Art information resource and guidance. See: http://mattersinmediaart.org/

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PDF/A

PDF/A

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Materials contained within PDF/A; a format derived from the PDF 1.4 variant but with additional requirements that reduce external dependencies. Includes more recent variants (PDF/A2 and PDF/A3)

Group: Formats

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

Trend towards reduced risk

Previous classification: Vulnerable

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 preserve materials in this group, requiring the application of proven tools and techniques.

Examples

Documents stored offline, or online in repositories or EDRMS including as reports, agenda, minutes, correspondence, contracts, essays, articles, or research papers.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of conformance or validation; Lack of preservation commitment or planning; Lack of storage replication; Poor management of data protection or intellectual property rights; Political or commercial interference; loss of version control; use beyond the design capability of the standard; complacency; poor metadata; disassociation from context; loss of authenticity; encryption.

‘Lower Risk’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Backup and documentation of media assets; validation on creation; part of preservation plan; export functionality; licencing enables preservation; preservation capability in repository or EDRMS service; resilient to hacking; selection and appraisal criteria; version control; authenticity; resilient funding and recognition of value; technology watch

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2017. PDF/A has become more stable and reduces dependencies, and thus curtails preservation risks for certain types of content. The 2021 Jury agreed and added that there is also now PDF/A-4, moving the trend towards reduced risk. However, this alone is not sufficient enough to ensure preservation, and therefore users should be warned against complacency. PDF/A has sometimes been misunderstood or misrepresented as a generic solution to all digital preservation requirements. In the eyes of the BitList juries, it can only offer a preservation solution when embedded within a wider preservation infrastructure.

Additional Jury Comments

Vulnerability also depends on if the PDF file conforms to the specific PDF/A standard or not. This is caused by a combination of 1) not conforming to the standard and 2) collection managers assuming that the file is resilient simply because it purports to be a PDF/A. This risk is less with the format and more with the understanding and experience in data management. Moreover, materials embedded in or attached to PDF/A-2 and PDF/A-3 may be at risk.

See also: Fanning, B (2017) Preserving with PDF/A (Second Edition), DPC Technology Watch Report 17-01 online at http://doi.org/10.7207/twr17-01.

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Published Research Papers

Published Research Papers

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Completed research papers published in serials, monographs or theses which fall under specific collecting policies of research libraries or archives and are managed through dedicated repository infrastructures.

Group: Research Outputs

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

Trend towards reduced risk

Previous classification: Vulnerable

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 preserve materials in this group, with the deployment of proven tools or techniques.

Examples

Scholarly E-Books, Electronic Journals, E-theses, Electronic Monographs.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of documentation; lack of clarity with respect to intellectual property; embedded complex objects; unstable funding for repository; lack of strategic investment; complex external dependencies; lack of persistent identifiers; bespoke formats; lack of legal deposit mandate.

‘Lower Risk’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Strong documentation including intellectual property rights; clarity of preservation path and ensuing responsibilities; credible preservation plan; proven capacity of repository; legal deposit preservation copying; post-cancellation access service; persistent identifiers used consistently; non-proprietary formats used and validated; minimal or well managed external dependencies.

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2017 under ‘Published research outputs’, though without reference to the capacity of the repository infrastructure. The 2019 Jury amended it to presume the existence of repository infrastructure and noted that the aggravating conditions which introduce risks and good practice enhancements which reduce it are mostly relevant to repository operations. While the 2020 Jury found no change in trend, the 2021 Jury agreed it should remain vulnerable, but discussed improvements and initiatives towards preservation of research data and outputs leading to the trend towards reduced risk.

Additional Jury Comments

See also:

Resources and recent outputs from Public Knowledge Project (PKP) Preservation Network, which developed to digitally preserve Open Journal Systems (OJS) journals, online at: https://pkp.sfu.ca/pkp-pn/

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Research Data Published through Repositories

Research Data Published through Repositories

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Research data published through digital repositories or other services providers with specialist skills to manage the data and an ongoing commitment to ensure preservation.

Group: Research Outputs

Trend in 2021:

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Trend towards reduced risk

Previous classification: Vulnerable

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

Recognized data repositories in specialist disciplines; institutional data repositories in subject specialist centres and partnerships

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of long-term commitment; lack of user community; lack of visibility to potential depositors; lack of institutional commitment

‘Lower Risk’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Certification and documented good practice; effective documentation requirements for depositors; proven financial sustainability; skilled staff; participation in the digital preservation community

2021 Review

This entry was added in 2019 as a separate entry, but it was previously introduced in 2017 under ‘Research Data’, though without explicit reference to the capacity of the repository infrastructure. In 2019, the Jury split the ‘Research Data’ entry into a range of contexts for research outputs including this addition. It was classified as vulnerable; the preservation of research data published through a well-founded repository with the capacity and commitment to ensure preservation and the capability in part through their own professional development activities, makes it a ‘lower risk’ outcome for research data.  The 2021 Jury agreed with this classification but commented on the improvements and initiatives towards preservation of research data and outputs, leading to a trend towards reduced risk.  

Additional Jury Comments

See also: L'Hours, Hervé, Kleemola, Mari, von Stein, Ilona, van Horik, René, Herterich, Patricia, Davidson, Joy, Rouchon, Olivier, Mokrane, Mustapha, & Huber, Robert. (2021). FAIR + Time: Preservation for a Designated Community (01.00), online at: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4783116  

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