Documenting Scientific Data-at-Risk and Data Rescue

What is the Data-at-Risk Inventory (DARI)?

The Data-at-Risk & Rescue Inventory (DARI) is an initiative that:
1. Catalogs valuable scientific data that are at risk of being lost to posterity
2. Represents data rescue missions

What is "Data at Risk?"

"Data at Risk" is scientific data that are not in formats that permit full electronic access to the information they contain. Such data may be non-digital (e.g., handwritten or photographic), on near-obsolete digital media (such as floppy disks), or insufficiently described (lacking metadata). Some born-digital data are considered "at risk" if they cannot be ingested into managed databases because they lack adequate formatting or metadata. Data that are not in a useable format may be regarded as useless, and hence risk being destroyed.

What is a “Data Rescue Mission”?

A “Data Rescue Mission” is any effort to preserve data at risk. Rescue missions can come in the form of digitization, format migration, treating damaged materials (e.g., water or mold), adding metadata or any action taken to make data accessible in the long term.

How Can I Contribute?

Currently, DARI is looking for scientists, researchers, librarians, or others who know of scientific data that could be at-risk, and are willing to contribute a description of that data to the inventory. If you are interested you can contact us or go to the Submit a Dataset Description page.


DARI is a descriptive inventory of data at risk that is held by both individuals and research institutions; those who submit descriptions to DARI store the actual data. DARI’s partnership includes the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), Data at Risk Task Group (DARTG), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Metadata Research Center at the School of Information and Library Science and ibiblio.