Data at Risk Task Group

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The Data at Risk Task Group (DARTG) defines "data at risk" as data that is not in formats that permit full electronic access to the information they contain. Such data may be inherently non-digital (handwritten or photographic), on near-obsolete digital media (magnetic tapes), or insufficiently described (lacking metadata). Born-digital data can also be considered at-risk if they cannot be incorporated into managed databases due to inadequate formatting or lacking metadata. Data that are regarded as unusable tend to be regarded as useless, and hence risk being destroyed. Most of the non-electronic scientific and technical data in at-risk predate the digital era.  In cases where they complement modern data collections by providing a much longer time-base they are essential, sometimes vital, for studies of long-term trends of natural systems. Climate data is one prime example.