Examples of archive or data service loss?

15 Aug

For our economic sustainability work, we would quite like to get some more information about examples of loss of digital archives, or digital information services that held content. Two good examples that we know of were the closure of the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS), and the closure of Geocities.

We would like to know more information about these closures, and to learn about other closures. We’re not just interested in formal archives or digital preservation services; we’re interested in various kinds of service where content is held in which the public has an interest.

The sorts of questions we’d like answered would include:

  • What service was lost?
  • What was the notice period for closure?
  • What were the reasons for closure? Obviously the publicly announced reasons are important, but suggestions on underlying reasons (even if only speculation) could be helpful too.
  • What were the hand-off arrangements? Again, any official hand-off arrangements (to move content to some other service) are important, but we would very much like to know also about any informal arrangements, even “get your own stuff out this way”.
  • How much is known to have been saved, and how much is known to be lost? Really, we’d like to get a picture of the outcome in terms of data loss and how (if at all) it was avoided. If content is known to have been saved, is any accessible at original web addresses (eg through redirection)?

That’s a lot of questions, and there are probably not many who know all the answers, but even a few partial answers could help us. This isn’t a survey with forms to fill in; at least in the first instance, could you leave some comments on this blog, or on twitter, or by email (initial.surname at the G place). Thanks in anticipation…

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