Adobe Flash animations and interactive applets

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Animations, games, and other interactive applets created with Macromedia Adobe 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: New Entry

Consensus Decision

Added to List: New Entry

Last update: New Entry

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 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

Flash based games; Flash cartoons; Flash interactives

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Dependence on older (unpatched) versions of Flash Player; lack of migration pathway to HTML5 or cognate technology; lack of capacity or motivation to export; execution in older browsers.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Migration plan initiated; supported in multiple browsers; security vetted

2019 Review

This is a new entry received from the Open submission process and reviewed by the Jury.  Flash animations and applets was a mainstay of interactive web design from the late 1990’s. Flash anmimation 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. 

Additional Jury Comments

Flash represents a significant amount of the creativity of websites in the early 2000’s including net-based art and cartoons.

Extinction is imminent for flash viewers: web archives will need to consider if it is possible to preserve interaction in newer browsers, or rely on a much more highly selective WebRecorder approach.

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Born Digital Images Held Offline on Portable Storage Devices

 

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Digital images with no analogue equivalent stored offline on portable storage devices or on hard disks, especially where there is no refreshment plan or no replication.

Group: Portable Media

Trend: No change

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Last update: 2018

Previously: Critically Endangered

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, 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

Offline photo collections on CD or DVD

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

dependence on obsolete or proprietary formats or processes; no replication; no archival function;

lack of preservation capacity; lack of skills; single points of failure; lack of clear stewardship or sense of ownership old or obsolete media; lack of refreshment plan; lack or loss of documentation; overabundance; primary storage is camera or phone

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Refreshment pathway; routine error checking; replication; resource scaled to size of collection; preservation responsibility understood;

2019 Review

This entry was originally submitted in 2017 and remains on the list though with relationships to a number of other entries, especially in relation to different kinds of portable media.

Additional Jury Comments

Highly dependent on who is looking after the offline media but more difficult over time. There is a lack of granularity in the definition of media so only generic advice is possible such as "make sure you're moving your data to new forms of storage every 5 -10 years". It would be possible to split into different storage media (maybe 100 items long).

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Community generated content in arts and heritage

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Digital materials produced and shared in the by ad-hoc community art and heritage projects, typically through digitization, where the creation of digital materials was a significant purpose of the initiative.

Group: Community Archives

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 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

Locally organised programmes associated with public remembrance and celebration such as World War One centennial commemorations; City of Culture; Olympic Games; World Cup

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Poor documentation; lack of replication; lack of continuity funding; lack of residual mechanism. dependence on small number of volunteers, lack of preservation mandate; lack of preservation thinking at the outset; failure of digital legacy planning; conflation of backup with preservation; conflation of access and preservation; inaccessible to web archiving

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Residual archive with residual funding able to receive and support collections; strict adherence to digitization guidelines; quality assurance; active user community; intellectual property managed to enable preservation.

2019 Review

The jury created this entry in 2019 as a subset of ‘Community Archives and Community-Generated Content’ which has been split into two to provide greater specificity in recommendations.

Additional Jury Comments

Local archives address these collections on an ad hoc basis.

This entry has a high ‘star quality’ because it provides cultural insights into parts of society not addressed by collecting policies with a focus on the famous.

Difficult to state whether national or international impact since it largely depends on the content and how widely it is used. I think this also depends on the identity group represented by the community group such as events around Black History Month.

Loss seems likely because of the precarity of the funding streams, of lack thereof, for these projects. Once digitisation has been carried out, many projects do not know what to do with them or have the means to make them accessible. Often a lack of understanding of copyright is barrier to sharing.

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Correspondence and records of research

 

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Correspondence and other records which describe the configuration and delivery of research but which are ancillary to the core research outputs, including reviews, drafts and correspondence between researchers.

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 three years, 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

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

Examples

Email boxes of senior academics; social media posts; personal spaces on institutional networks

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Originating researcher no longer active or changed research focus; staff on temporary contracts; dependence on single student or staff member; weak or fluid institutional commitment to subject matter; weak institutional commitment to data sharing; complicated or contested intellectual property; encryption

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Recognition of value of correspondence; integration with CRIS; routine use of EDRMS; documented and managed professionally; separation of personal and corporate identies

2019 Review

Research data has been an entry in the BitList since 2017 so the Jury this year has tried to spell out the different complexities that arise in the preservation of research outputs more generally.  This entry represents archives behind research which is available from previous generations of researchers in physical form but which are now electronic.

Additional Jury Comments

In ideal circumstance, correspondence should be stored in EDRMS systems separately from research data and subject to different retention schedules i.e. 10-20 years.  There may be challenges connecting the EDRMs holdings to the research data and vice versa.

Advocacy and research re the scale of the problem may be required to encourage academics to use EDRMs for example for correspondence and integration with CRIS. Simplified tools and workflows to move data from CRIS to Repository to Preservation systems

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Data posted to defunct or little-used social media platforms

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Older or less widely used social media platforms to which content has been uploaded but for which no guarantees have been made about the longterm

Group:  Social Media

Trend: New Entry

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

Last update: 2017

Previous category: Of Concern

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, 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

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

Examples

BeBo, MySpace, Google Buzz and others

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Closure of platform; lack of offline equivalent; lack of export functionality; no preservation undertaking from service provider; unstable business plan from service provider.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Offline Replication; clear notice periods and alerts; committed ongoing maintenance of service

2019 Review

The judges have revived this entry from initial submission in 2017 that they were not able to assess at that time. It emphasizes the different threats faced by social media users.  Because these services are older, the need to act is more urgent than for others.

Additional Jury Comments

It is to be hoped that some of these have been archived via traditional web archiving and so the remnants of these sites can be found in bits and pieces in various web archives, but it may be too late to save some of the content that is likely already be lost. If some of this is still available there may be hope in trying to preserve but it may be difficult if the platforms aren't willing to share data or work with preservationists. ArchiveTeam has stepped in here too. There is undoubtedly a story here which could be used as a call for arms to raise awareness about the preservation of current social media platforms too

Need to decouple the content from the platform. Critically endangered if the availability of the content is based on non-public access therefore the best you can ever do is sample some content from people who are willing to provide access.

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Digital Archives from Public Enquiries and Commissions

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Data from public enquiries and reconciliation commissions which can be traumatic, politically uncomfortable and contested, typically comes in many different forms and formats.  It is not always possible to identify an archival authority to look after the resulting evidence and proceedings, and these need carefully managed to ensure their integrity and accessibility into the future. Data protection issues and cultural sensitivities only amplify the challenge to preservations.

Group: Digital Legal Records

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

The Tunisian Truth and Dignity Commission to investigate human rights violations committed prior to 2012; enquiries into historical child abuse; Bloody Sunday Enquiry (Saville Inquiry); East Timor Tribunal;

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

risk of falsification; fragile or obsolete media; dependence on proprietary formats or products; lack or loss of documentation; inaccessible to web harvesting technologies; lack of version control; lack of integrity checks or integrity records; poor chain of custody;

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Strong sense of archival responsibility; carefully constructed rules around information privacy that retain robust and appropriate preservation capabilities

2019 Review

This entry was received in 2017 but has been split into a series of more discrete entries this year.  This entry represents a small group of very specific but also highly significant recommendations jury which each have their own challenges but which have sufficient similarities to be taken as a group.  The Jury noted that there is in fact considerable evidence of good practice emerging from some of the examples where clear archival responsibility has been the key to progress.

Additional Jury Comments

The submissions from which this entry is made seem like the tip of an iceberg.  Hard to see how to segment it but necessary to raise awareness.

Case files and correspondence are one thing. Retention of these should be clear, but may differ widely between jurisdictions and/or levels of government. If retention is not long term or permanent, risk of loss may not be so critical. Retention of 'unused' or 'potential' evidence is likely a different matter altogether. It may not even been considered a record, and certainly isn't a record of the court. Should it be returned to the suspect or accused? Are their rights being considered here - not just in terms of preservation, but also simply disposition? There are legal and ethical issues around this which need to be fleshed out in conjunction with assessing its preservation risk.

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Digital archives of community groups

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Digital materials including ephemera, correspondence and campaign materials created as a by-product of small scale or ad-hoc community action groups

Group: Community Archives

Trend: New Entry

Consensus 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 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

Archives of smaller and ad-hoc political and campaigning organisations; environmental protests; sports clubs; smaller religious groups; amateur music or drama; fan groups

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Poor documentation; lack of replication; lack of continuity funding; lack of residual mechanism; dependence on small number of volunteers, lack of preservation mandate; lack of preservation thinking at the outset; conflation of backup with preservation; conflation of access and preservation; inaccessible to web archiving; dependence on social media providers; distrust of ‘official’ agencies.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Residual archive with residual funding able to receive and support collections; active user community; intellectual property managed to enable preservation.

2019 Review

The jury created this entry in 2019 as a subset of ‘Community Archives and Community-Generated Content’ which has been split into two to provide greater specificity in recommendations.

Additional Jury Comments

Typically born digital material is more at risk - community groups simple don't know about the risk of loss. Many are unaware of digital preservation terminology. It is the ad-hoc nature of these groups and projects which is of great concern.

Significant need to raise awareness and provide a "home” but also to do so with sufficient sensitivity so as to ensure community groups remain in control of their own material.

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Digital Archives of music production

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Digital materials created by musicians and fans as a by-product of performance or recording, not otherwise published or shared

Group: Sound and Vision

Trend: New Entry

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Last update: New Entry

Previous category: New Entry

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within three years, assessment within 12 months

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

Pre-production notes; demo recordings; photography; correspondence.

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

fragile or obsolete media for offline content; service provider preservation capability for online content; dependence on proprietary formats or products; lack or loss of documentation; uncertainty over intellectual property rights; lack of version control; lack of policy or mandate

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Replication; clarity of intellectual property rights; preservation agency involved and capable of looking after content

2019 Review

This entry has been split out of the previous entry for ‘Digital Music Production and Sharing’ though it has overlaps with other entries including ‘Pre-production TV and Movie materials’.  A separate entry has been included to emphasise the inherent and value of the archival materials relating to the recording process over and above the recordings themselves.

Additional Jury Comments

Inevitable loss of existing data but it would require major effort to fix in terms of identifying organizations who are preserving this content. Not clear that this is being done already

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Digital Evidence and records of investigation prior to court

 

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Digital materials assessed by police and other authorities in the course of investigation and retained as evidence of due process such as case files and correspondence, including materials not submitted to court

Group: Digital Legal Records

Trend: New entry

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Last update: 2019

Previous category: New Entry

Imminence of Action

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

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

CCTV; Email; 3d scanning; social media interactions; police records; court records; text messages.

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Poor chain of custody; fragile or obsolete media; dependence on proprietary formats or products; lack or loss of documentation; inaccessible to web harvesting technologies; lack of version control; lack of integrity checks or integrity records; poor chain of custody.

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Meticulous transfer and disclosure processes

2019 Review

This entry is a subset of an entry made in 2017 for ‘Digital Legal Records and Evidence’ which the Jury has decided to split into four more discrete entries this year.  This category includes evidence prior to court that may form part of an investigation or gathering of evidence but which are not formally submitted as evidence.  It recognizes that police and other investigating authorities are not limited in the types of evidence that they need to administer, but that this creates an almost unbounded limit of preservation requirements to ensure authenticity and admissibility.

Additional Jury Comments

Case files and correspondence are one thing: retention of these should be clear but may differ widely between jurisdictions and/or levels of government. If retention is not long term or permanent, risk of loss may not be so critical. Retention of 'unused' or 'potential' evidence is likely a different matter altogether. is it even a record? certainly it isn't a record of the court. Should it be returned to the suspect or accused? Are their rights being considered here - not just in terms of preservation, but also simply disposition? There may be legal and ethical issues around this which need to be fleshed out in conjunction with assessing its preservation risk.

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Family or Personal Records

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Digital content and communications generated for personal consumption in a domestic setting and which may be of limited general interest but highly valuable to family members and genealogy.

Group: Personal Archives

Trend: No Change

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2017

Last update: 2018

Previously: Critically Endangered

Imminence of Action

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

Significance of Loss

The loss of data, tools or services within this group would have a localised impact.

Effort to Preserve

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

Examples

childhood photographs and videos; School or graduation photos; wedding photos and movies; electronic correspondence (email, messenger, WhatsApp)

‘Practically Extinct’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

storage on portable media or poor storage; dependence on devices or processes; dependence on obsolete or proprietary formats; storage media out of warranty; single copies; inappropriate dependence on service provider; inappropriate encryption or password protection; lack of awareness or planning; loss or lack of documentation; over-abundance; inability to act in a timely manner; confusion over intellectual property

‘Endangered’ in the Presence of Good Practice

Replication; action in a timely manner; open formats; selection and appraisal; archival agency

2019 Review

This was introduced to the BitList in 2017.  Although research and advice on preservation of personal records have been available for some time, outreach and training has not reached the audience and there has been no material improvement in the risks faced by this category since 2017.  It is reasonable to assume that the number of digital objects in this category has increased thus the consequences of loss have expanded. 

It is also a very large category and may be usefully broken into a series of components to represent the complexity more effectively and present a more nuanced action plan.

Additional Jury Comments

A strong overlap with community archives, except noting that responsibility is even more localised. Some loss is inevitable.

This matter needs awareness raising. Education is needed, such as digital preservation as a survival skill for teenagers. Also simple and cheap tools or pathways to preservation are needed.

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