Urgency or likelihood of loss is part of the Collection Risk Assessment Framework. It is a summary of preservation factors. How urgent is it that the preservation be carried out? What is the likelihood of loss?

The technical considerations for an item’s preservation, summarised as Urgency, have been divided into four factors: Fragility; Longevity; Format Obsolesence and Holdings. Each of these technical factors have been given a ranking of one to five: one being the most at risk to five the least at risk.

Susceptibility to damage by handling or storage e.g. accidental damage

1 – Treat as Glass
2 – Very Fragile
3 – Breakable
4 – Needs Some Caution
5 – Hardy Medium

Treat as Glass – lacquer discs; wax cylinders

Longevity or Remaining Life Expectancy
How long from the present the item is expected to last under Archival storage conditions?

1 – Very Short: 1-5 years
2 – Short: 5-20 years
3 – Medium: 20-50 years
4 – Long: 50-100 years
5 – Very long: 200 years

Very short – compact disc recordable (CDR) 1-5 years

Format Obsolesence
No longer in use or falling into disuse, affecting the ability to be copied

1 – Obsolete
2 – Not Standard > 5 years
3 – Just Finished < 2 years
4 – Soon to be Obsolete – 2 years
5 – Current Media (can buy)

Obsolete – wax cylinders

How well do additional copies play a role in reducing risk?

1 – Highest Risk: One copy only held
2 – High Risk: No purpose made or unblemished copies
3 – Medium Risk: Any purpose made or unblemished copies
4 – Low Risk: Any high quality purpose made or unblemished copies held
5 – Negligible Risk: Many high quality copies held

Fragility + Longevity + Format Obsolesence + Holdings = Urgency

Urgency or Likelihood of Loss incorporates the physical preservation risk factors outlined above – this gives us a summary of the technical aspects, such as survival of the media and possible loss of content to inform our preservation decision making.

See the individual Glossary entries for more detail on each concept.