Added on 3 November 2022

official notice stampThe DPC has released a new 2022 interim report on the ‘BitList’ of Digitally Endangered Species today for World Digital Preservation Day on 3rd November.

The Global List of Digitally Endangered Species (The BitList) offers an accessible snapshot of the concerns expressed by the global digital preservation community with respect to the risks faced by diverse types of real digital content in varied real-life conditions and contexts. It provides an elementary assessment of the imminence and significance of the dangers faced by different, and at times overlapping classifications of digital materials. By identifying the urgency of action and significance of content, the BitList draws attention to those digital materials that, in the view of the global digital preservation community, require urgent action to remain viable.

Since 2017, the BitList has been updated substantially every two years to review existing entries and add new at-risk digital materials nominated by the digital preservation community. The new 2022 BitList report builds and reflects upon the last substantive review undertaken in 2021 to provide updates and commentary on trends and contextual changes over the preceding 12 months.

“The review has identified thirteen cases where the trends associated with each entry have significantly changed since 2021. There are eight cases where entries are now trending towards even greater risk and five cases with noticeable material improvement where trends towards reduced risk have accelerated,” explains Dr Amy Currie of the Digital Preservation Coalition, who coordinated the production of the interim report for 2022.

“This reflects how the state of the art in digital preservation has advanced over the last year, but also how there remain external conditions which continue to aggravate or ameliorate risk profiles.”

These external forces are especially important in 2022 as the state of the art has been disrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic. Significant other external aggravating factors include Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the political instability in Iran which are ongoing at the time of publication. 2022 has been a period of significant economic turmoil with rapid rises in inflation and interest rates around the world, as well as instability in currency and trade. Ongoing ecological and environmental challenges also continue to amplify the risks faced by digital resources.

By maintaining and reviewing the BitList again in 2022, the DPC aims to elicit action: explicitly, the DPC calls on its members, partners and colleagues globally to take four steps in response:

  • Enable the preservation of digital materials emerging as a form of protest in the context of political upheaval.

  • Address the gaps treaty provision that would enable the preservation of digital cultural heritage at a time of conflict, such as envisaged in the 1954 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

  • Remove and reduce barriers to the preservation of social media, enabling reasonable preservation actions by trusted and legitimate actors.

  • Continue to expand the research and provision of digital preservation capability.

Managing and maintaining the BitList is just one of the ways the DPC supports the digital preservation community. An international charitable foundation which supports digital preservation, the DPC helps its members around the world to deliver resilient long-term access to digital content and services through community engagement, targeted advocacy work, training and workforce development, capacity building, good practice and standards, and through good management and governance. Its vision is a sustainable future for our digital assets.

Read the 'Bit List' of Digitally Endangered Species Interim Report 2022.


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