On World Digital Preservation Day (November 2), the Digital Preservation Coalition released the 2023 edition of the “Global ‘Bit List’ of Endangered Digital Species” – an open, community-created resource listing the most at-risk digital materials. The list this year consists of 87 entries, with new entries including “First Nations Secret/Sacred Cultural Material.”
From the post announcing the resource, titled “Is data loss a choice?”:
“The most noticeable thing about the 2023 edition of the Bit List is actually how little has changed,” explains Dr. Amy Currie, Bit List Co-ordinator for the DPC. “The Bit List Council made only marginal changes from the recommendations in 2021 so, in this sense, the 2023 report has validated the broad conclusions of previous years, updating them rather than setting them aside. With a few honourable exceptions, there has been little or no improvement in the overall risk profile of digital assets.”
The Bit List 2023 is published in the shadow of a global pandemic, during a land war in Europe and a time of heightened tension and possible war in the Middle East. These threats to digital content coincide with a crisis of knowledge and fog of disinformation. Cyber-warfare can make battlefields and hostages of almost any connected device and data, and technical inter-dependency means that economic shocks threaten the digital memory of the world in ways we have barely begun to comprehend.