Old or non-current video games

   Critically Endangered small

Older video games designed and played on platforms and devices that are no longer supported, especially those with complex but obsolete rights management or system dependencies. This group includes also older editions of games still published in newer editions

Group: Gaming

Trend: New Entry

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Last update: New Entry

Previously: New Entry

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within twelve months, detailed assessment is now 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.

Examples

Civilization; SimCity; Sonic the Hedgehog; EA Sports; Doom; Wolfenstein 3D; Lemmings

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Complex hardware dependencies or bespoke hardware; dependence on obsolete, low usage operating systems with no emulation pathway; complex intellectual property rights; use of older magnetic media; free distribution on magazines; loss of underlying code or gaming engine; limited or no commercial interest; dependency on remote servers that are closed.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Emulation pathway; source code; trusted repository; large user community;

2019 Review

This is a subset of an entry made in 2017 for ‘Gaming’ which the Jury has split into four discrete entries.  This entry for older games encourages greater consideration of the technical complexities which arise from preservation of software and hardware environments as well as the historic value which games have acquired.  There is an active specialist market for older games which enables, preservation but skews it to commercial interests. The meaning of ‘older’ is open to interpretation but certainly any version more than 10 years from release should be included here, even if and perhaps especially if there are more recent releases

Additional Jury Comments

Focussing on offline gaming here - it’s difficult to distinguish these from the related ‘Offline gaming’ entry but there are additional complexities in terms of systems dependencies that need to be considered. It is one thing to be able to get older software running on a different CPU architecture (emulation), but another thing entirely to recreate the peripherals (Wiimotes, plastic guitars, steering wheels, even bongo drums!) that are required to play the games as intended. There’s a sort of kinaesthetic issue: one could perhaps use the accelerometers in modern smartphones to simulate the functionality of a Wiimote, but it will feel different in the hand.

It might be possible to sub-divide between games that have a dependency on communication with servers that no longer exist (loss has already happened) and others where the dependencies are to do with old hardware/software where there is more potential to preserve the interaction.

It’s unclear who is responsible for preserving what and games may be falling between the cracks.

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Open source intelligence sources of current conflicts

   Critically Endangered small

Open source social media and web content which supports crowd-sourced investigation and fact-checking to verify or refute claims of state agencies and rebel groups in the context of current political or military conflict.

Group: Digital Legal Records

Trend: New Entry

Unanimous Decision

Added to List: 2019

Last update: 2019

Previous category: New Entry

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within twelve months, detailed assessment is now 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.

Examples

Social media sources relating to current conflicts, such as in Yemen or Syria.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Offline backup captured by journalist or investigating authority;

2019 Review

This is a new entry received through open submission in 2019 and subsequently split into three elements by the Jury, relating to current, recent and historic sources.  This entry relates in particular to materials relating to current and ongoing conflicts.  Social media companies have a policy to take down or suppress content that they consider to be propaganda for terrorist groups.  This has had the unintended consequence of deleting or supressing content that was being used in open source investigation or fact checking for journalistic or judicial purposes, and which may therefore be an impediment to refutation or prosecution.  However a new generation of cloud based services, such as Hunchly have emerged in the last few years which allow investigators to copy and stabilise content to private accounts in the process of investigating it: so the ethical requirements of social media companies and the integrity of investigation are both served. The Jury notes that the such content remains at risk, and the process of investigation is slower than algorithmic deletion.  Nonetheless there is a notable difference in the investigation of current conflicts than historic ones where evidence has been lost.

Additional Jury Comments

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Politically Sensitive Data

   Critically Endangered small

Digital content where the knowledge to preserve exists and there is no threat to obsolescence, but where political interests may be served by elimination, falsification or concealment.

Group: Political Data

Trend: No Change

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

Last update: 2018

Previously: Critically Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within twelve months, detailed assessment is now 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.

Examples

EG: Online News; Social media and web-based campaigning; Social media relating to 2016 UK/EU referendum; Promises made in Scottish independence referendum 2014; US Environmental Data; UK Public Finance Initiative (PFI) documents; Recordings of Leinster House; Politwoops; DeletedbyMPs; 4chan.org.

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Opaque terms and conditions that facilitate deletion or obfuscation; lack of access to web-harvesting; significant lobby interest; change of administration; data resides in single jurisdiction;

reputational risk to collecting institution

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Robust political archives; robust preservation services for investigative journalists

2019 Review

The nature and extent of political campaigning online continues to become more apparent.  This has drawn attention to the manipulation of digital media but not explicitly the issue of deliberate deletion, alteration or concealment. GDPR provides a pretext for the disposal of records. The increased capability of archives to secure the content from outgoing governments and ministers is a source of encouragement, such as in Canada accusations that the incoming Liberal government had wiped the memory of the outgoing Conservative government were shown to be unfounded.  Nonetheless there is a pressing need for a deep and comprehensive assessment of the risks faced by politically sensitive data and the impact which such deletions have on the public good. That another year should have passed without such an assessment is a matter of grave concern, suggesting that the trend is towards significantly greater risk

Additional Jury Comments

Maybe it is not the duty of archives or libraries to preserve the falsification but to preserve the constituent pieces to allow researchers to infer elimination, falsification or concealment. Web harversting orgs will pick up web and possibly some social media. Will others pick up the rest?  Risk is high because some of the data will be in difficult to reach platforms. Some inevitable loss.

Is there a technological path to capturing and protecting this information before deletion or manipulation? This could well be the basis for crowd funding and/ or crowd implementation.

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Records of Local Government

Records from local government (ie below the state level) which are required for transparency and may be in many diverse forms, but in which the local authority may lack the capacity to manage the complex digital preservation requirements that arise.

Critically Endangered small 

Group: Public Records

Trend: New Entry

 

Added to List: 2019

Last update: 2019

 

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, with detailed assessment in 12 months

Significance of Loss

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

 

Examples

Born digital records of small and medium-sized agencies; fasting-changing internal manuals, advice or policies shared electronically; records of care services; Documentation supporting long-lived contractual relations like Public Finance Initiatives; Organizational Slack channels; network drives; EDRMS; Email.

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of preservation infrastructure; conflation of backup with preservation; loss of authenticity or integrity; Long-lived business processes; poor storage; churn of staff; significant volumes or diversity of data; poorly developed digitization; ill-informed records management; poorly developed migration or normalization; longstanding protocols or procedures that apply unsuitable paper processes to digital materials; encryption; political instability; lack of sustained funding.

Vulnerable in the Presence of Good Practice

Well managed data infrastructure; preservation enabled at the point of creation; carefully managed authenticity; use of persistent identifiers; finding aids; well managed records management processes; recognition of preservation requirements; strategic investment in digital preservation; preservation roadmap; participation in digital preservation community.

2019 Review

This is a new entry which the Jury introduced in 2019 based on an earlier larger entry for ‘Records of long duration from Local Government or Other Government Agencies’.  The split is intended to allow greater concentration on the challenges that these different types of agency face. Local government typically operates across a broad range of digital formats and services but it is unclear, and unlikely that relatively small archival agencies are properly funded locally to support the wide range of digital preservation requirements that arise.

Additional Jury Comments

Significant research by the UK National Archives into Local Government Archives in England underlines the digital skills shortages that exist, especially with respect to preservation.

There may be a benefit from splitting into a) legally required public record and b) additional information that may enrich our digital preservation of society. My assumption was that the roles and requirement for records management is clearly defined, but if this is not the case and there is inadequate resource to match the requirement then the risk goes up.

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Records of Non-Governmental Agencies

 

 Critically Endangered small

Records of independent agencies and contractors that act on behalf of the state in the delivery of public services, and which may be present in many diverse forms, but for which the NGO or contractors may lack the capacity to meet the complex digital preservation requirements that arise, or may have a business motive to minimize or ignore requirements for the maintenance of the record

Group: Public Records

Trend: New Entry

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Last update: 2019

Previously: New Entry

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, with detailed assessment in twelve months.

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 major effort to prevent losses in this group, such as the development of new preservation tools or techniques.

Examples

Born digital records of small and medium-sized agencies; fasting-changing internal manuals, advice or policies shared on intranets or EDRMS; records of care services; historic guidelines and manuals which evidence 'best practice at the time'; Documentation supporting long-lived contractual relations like Public Finance Initiatives; Organizational Slack channels; network drives;

EDRMS; Email

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of preservation infrastructure; conflation of backup with preservation; loss of authenticity or integrity; Long-lived business processes; poor storage; churn of staff; significant volumes or diversity of data; poorly developed digitization specifications; ill-informed records management; poorly developed migration or normalizations specifications; longstanding protocols or procedures that apply unsuitable paper processes to digital materials; encryption; political instability; lack of sustained funding; denial of responsibility; failure to include archives within contract from commissioning agency.

Vulnerable in the Presence of Good Practice

Well managed data infrastructure; preservation enabled at the point of creation; carefully managed authenticity; use of persistent identifiers; finding aids; well managed records management processes; application of records management standards; recognition of preservation requirements at highest levels; strategic investment in digital preservation; transfer protocols to public archive; participation in digital preservation community.

2019 Review

This is a new entry which the Jury introduced in 2019 based on an earlier larger entry for ‘Records of long duration from Local Government or Other Government Agencies’.  The split is intended to allow greater concentration on the challenges that these different types of agency face. Non-governmental organizations typically operates across a broad range of digital formats and services acting on behalf of public sector.

Additional Jury Comments

There may be a benefit from splitting this into legally required public record and additional information that may enrich our digital preservation of society. This assumes that the roles and requirement for records management is clearly defined, but if this is not the case and there is inadequate resource to match the requirement then the risk goes up.

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Smart Phone Apps

 

 Critically Endangered small

Apps created for smartphones. Many are deprecated quickly but others survive through multiple update cycles.  It is hard to maintain version control and often dependent upon the company that publishes them. There is no clear agency or mandate to record or collect.

Group: Apps

Trend: no change

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

Last update: 2018

Previously: Critically Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within 12 months, detailed assessment is now a priority

Significance of Loss

The loss of data, tools or services within this group would be felt globally.

Effort to Preserve

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

Examples

London 2012 app; BBC Olympic app; Apps published for Apple iOS 10 or earlier

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Device dependence; poor documentation; uncertainty over IPR; short term contracts; lack of skills, commitment or policy from corporate owners; rapid churn of OS; shifting business requirements of app resellers; dependence on exotic or obsolete formats or OS processes;

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Strong documentation; version control for code and compiled app; emulation enabled; designated repository taking preservation responsibility and capable to deliver

2019 Review

This entry was submitted in 2017 and has been retained to draw attention to the challenges of software preservation and the extraordinary velocity of the market for apps. Given the speed of change it is hard to see how digital preservation efforts can keep pace.  It may help to split this entry into different groups based on the platform though the risks would be largely the same.

Additional Jury Comments

Old versions of apps are completely lost to most users: once you upgrade an app you typically can't go back.  Perhaps ios is more critical - at least with Android you can often get .apk from the internet separate from the marketplace. The NSRL contains hundreds of thousands of mobile applications which are not being actively preserved but could be if a mandate existed. An extension to Legal Deposit might be possible.

The faster we act the less we will lose. It is unlikely that there will ever be one agent with mandate to collect and different apps available in different countries so a network of national organisations would be needed. The companies that create these apps are the key to the licensing challenges and conversation with them is necessary, though would need to happen immediately in order to negotiate the right to preserve/escrow both apps, operating systems, documentation, and phone development emulators.

Apps often provide a secondary view on the primary data and in many cases that data is more important, and arguably easier to preserve.  So, although this is an eye-catching entry it is not as significant as others. 

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Unpublished research data from US Govt researchers

   Critically Endangered small

To prepare data for long-term archiving requires quite a bit of time, and offices being shut down or moved with little warning don't have time.

Group: Research Outputs

Trend: New Entry

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Last update: 2019

Previous category: New Entry

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within 12 months, detailed assessment is now a priority

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 major effort to prevent losses in this group, such as the development of new preservation tools or techniques.

Examples

Agencies that have closed or have had funding withdrawn from research initiatives.

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Lack of access to archival services; sudden or un-anticipated closure; loss of implicit knowledge from destabilised or demoralised staff; encryption

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Archival responsibility well developed; documentation; published through research channels.

2019 Review

This is unusual entry was submitted through open nomination process and assessed by Jury before being included.  It has significant overlaps with other entries in the research outputs group but has been retained to draw attention to two realities: firstly that research outputs are not simply a matter for academic institutions and that government is in fact a major producer of research data; and secondly that politically instability and threats to the continuity of government services are a significant preservation risk.  The significant fact that this entry relates to the US does not mean that other jurisdictions are immune from political instability. Instead it alludes to a concern expressed by the Jury that politically inconvenient research outputs face particular and immediate threats of which the digital preservation community should be cognisant.

Additional Jury Comments

The Jury offered no other comments on this entry, and a number of members did not participate in this assessment.

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Web domains with no legal deposit

   Critically Endangered small

Web archiving is a recognized specialism within digital preservation, able to capture large quantities of material with routine and standards-based tools.  But there are significant issues of intellectual property rights associated with website capture and republication.  In many jurisdictions, but by no means all, those obstacles are overcome by regulations that enable a national library or other ‘legal deposit’ agency to copy and preserve content.  Where no such permission exists, there is a significant risk of loss.

Group: Web

Trend: New Entry

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Last update: 2019

Previous category: New Entry

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within 12 months, detailed assessment is now a priority

Significance of Loss

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

Effort to Preserve

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

Examples

Domains registered without a country code; domains with a country code but weak or unenforceable legal deposit permission to harvest.

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Rapid churn of websites; lack of access to Internet Archive harvest; contentious content; encryption; digital rights management; non-standard content management

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Permissive approach to Legal deposit;

2019 Review

This entry came about by Jury deliberation on entries to the open nomination process.  It is characterised by regulatory barriers rather than technical ones, though the pace of change in web technologies as well as the growth of web content mean that significant technical challenges still exist.  The Jury also notes that local conditions are also a significant factor.  For example, web sites often also fall under public records legislation or are important elements of corporate records: and so important parts of the web are harvested even when there is no explicit legal deposit legislation. Moreover the Jury particularly recognizes the work of the Internet Archive to capture and preserve content.  Even so there are significant gaps in web archiving and in too many cases it is regulation that is the barrier.

Additional Jury Comments

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