Digital Preservation Coalition Publishes Bit List

A ‘Bit List’ of the world’s most at-risk digital materials has been unveiled for the first time today in conjunction with the inaugural International Digital Preservation Day. The list is part of an international campaign to raise awareness of the need to preserve digital materials.

Coordinated and published by the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), the Bit List identifies a number of data, software and storage types that, if appropriate action is not taken, could become ‘practically extinct.’ The full press release from DPC may be found at this link.

While the United Kingdom-based DPC list has an international focus, there are a number of entries that resonate with the DPN membership. One such critically endangered category is research output. Without immediate attention to preserving research data, the ability to verify research conclusions and to base future research on sound results will be uncertain. Time-based media (including audio, video, and digital art) is another endangered type of digital information that spans several of the categories on the Bit List. DPN is working to develop solutions for the preservation of these types of files that present a significant challenge to the community.

Chair of the DPC Laura Mitchell observes, “We have been warning about the need for digital preservation for years and in the past, we worried about a ‘digital dark age.’ But by compiling and maintaining the Bit List over the coming years, the DPC can begin to celebrate great digital preservation endeavors as entries become less of a ‘concern,’ whilst still highlighting the need for efforts to safeguard those still considered ‘critically endangered.’”

The International Digital Preservation Day aims to raise awareness of the strategic, cultural and technological issues that make up the digital preservation challenge. The full Bit List may be found at this link.