Digital Assets, Accounts and Devices

Here is our list of types of Digital Assets, Digital Accounts and Digital Devices that could comprise your digital legacy. The list is not exhaustive, is evolving and will change over time. Remember that these assets, could be categorised as business, personal or jointly owned.

If you spot an error or there is an asset, account, device or software you feel we need to list, then please use our Contact Us form to let us know.

The lists are in alphabetical order.

  • The asset itself, usually taking the form a of a physical file on a storage medium and usually something that can be backed up or copied from one location to another.
    Asset TypeComment
    Compressed or Archive Filesoften hold multiple digital assets in a compressed format, sometimes with a password for additional protection.
    Documentssuch as MSOffice (XLS, DOC), Adobe (PDF) etc
    E-Bookse-books come in a variety of different formats. Some are generic and are readable on multiple devices, for example the EPUB format, whereas some are propriety, such as Amazon’s Kindle e-books and can only be read using Amazon’s Kindle software.
    Graphicsthese assets may be created from Desktop Publishing software such as Quark Express, Adobe Pagemaker or Corel Draw etc. They are propriety formats and will usually require the original software that created them to be used to view or amend them. You may have created newsletters for your family, club or business.
    Images (Bitmap)The most common type of bitmap image files include JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG, RAW and TIFF etc. Your digital photos are likely to be in one of these formats. These images consist of pixels. Re-sizing or editing them often results in some information loss.
    Images (Vector)The most common type of vector image files include SVG, AI, EPS, CDR, WMF, PSD, etc. These files are composed of shapes, lines, paths, objects and fills rather than pixels. They can usually be scaled with no loss of definition. If you are a creative type and enjoy creating illustrations, you may have many of these.
    Musicmusic files come in a variety of different formats which very much depend on the way in which you listen to your digital music. Common generic formats include MP3, AIFF, WMA, OGG, M4P, WAV, MIDI etc. These files may constitute your library of digital music you have bought and listen to, but could equally be something that you created yourself and therefore has greater value; perhaps an interview with a past relative, or even a song you created that never quite made it.
    Texta Comma Separated Variable (CSV) file or a simple file of text. Probably not particularly valuable, but you never know.
    Videoe.g. MP4, AVI, could be stored on computer, mobile device or other online services such as YouTube, Vimeo
  • An asset that cannot generally exist by itself.


    Asset TypeComment
    Contactscontacts with address, telephone number, email addresses and other details can be held on multiple devices; computer, laptop, mobile devices etc. Formats tend to be available only in a proprietary format as a record, but can often be exported to a more generic and transportable format such as VCard. VCard formatted contacts can often be imported into other contact systems allowing for moving from one device to another. Business contacts could have significant value.
    ChatMessages between individuals or groups of individuals. These can sometimes be exported, but often not as they are held in proprietary systems. Chat messages may also contain files, such as photos or documents.
    Domain Namean internet domain name such as
    Emailthe content of an email accessible through webmail, Outlook and other email clients. Emails tend to be available only in a proprietary format, but can sometimes be exported to a more generic and transportable format such as EML. EML can sometimes be imported into other email systems. Sorting through to find the important ones however may be very time consuming if you intend to find and store particular email conversations.
    Gaming Characterssuch as those characters created in World of Warcraft.
    Meta-Datadata which describes other data.e.g. the Exif data held within an Image.
    Recordsuch as as a customer record in a business contact database or bank account
    SMS Txtsthe content of a SMS sent by mobile phone
    Socialsuch as messages on Twitter, Facebook, product reviews, Likes etc
  • A group or collection of digital assets


    Digital Asset GroupsComment
    Applicationcould be an App for a mobile device or an application that runs off-line or on-line such as an accounts package. The application would typically consist and make use of multiple asset types including perhaps a database.
    Databasedatabase assets will be less common to the majority of us, but nonetheless something to consider, particularly perhaps if it is a business asset. More prevalent from a consumer perspective may be databases created using Microsoft Access.
    Websitea collection of media, text, a domain and (usually) a database. Websites include social media sites, blogs and other internet services, such as a train timetable, Dropbox and banking websites. Some will require registration to use, some will not.
  • The account or channel through which you gain access to an asset. Access is usually associated with a login id and password. The may be some overlap within the account types.


    Account TypeComment
    Cloudsuch as Dropbox or Apple’s iCloud used for online storage. And if you’re a business, don’t forget you may be using Amazon S3
    Digital Legacyyou may have already set up an account to manage your Digital Legacy. Some examples are listed here
    Emailsuch as Yahoo, Hotmail, or POP3, IMAP and SMTP email accounts
    Financial Servicessuch as banking, credit card or financial trading accounts
    Gamingsuch as those used to access World of Warcraft, Microsoft’s Xbox or Sony’s Playstation
    Hosting Servicesyou may be hosting a website or a blog and have set up an account with the hosting company
    Music Servicessuch as Ebay, Spotify or Google Music etc.
    Video servicessuch as Amazon Instant Video or Netflix
    Online Shopif you sell online, you may have set up an account to trade on Ebay, Etsy or through an online shop provider such as Big Commerce or EKM Powershop.
    Password Managementsuch as Password Box or KeePass
    Shoppingany account you may have set up to buy from online retailers. For example, John Lewis or Ebay.
    Social Mediasuch as Facebook, Ello, LinkedIn etc.

    You may also like to consider under which of the following financial types each of the above might fall:

    Financial TypeComment
    Free to useno financial commitment required, such as social media sites, email accounts, blog notification services etc
    Pay to userequires a financial commitment to use, perhaps as a single payment or through a monthly subscription. For example, use of additional buy storage from iCloud.
    Financialfree to hold and use, but used to conduct financial transactions. Would include Banking and Shopping accounts etc.




  • The storage medium on which the asset actually resides.


    Storage MediumComment
    Blue ray diska digital optical disc data storage format designed to supersede the DVD format, being capable of storing high-definition video at a resolution of 1080p (1920×1080 pixels). The disc is the same size as a DVD or CD storing 25Gb for a single layer disk (dual layer 50Gb) with later versions capable of storing up to 128Gb.Released June 2006
    CDa digital optical disc data storage format originally created for music. Later adapted to store data (700mb).Released October 1982
    Cloud storageOften holding multiple types of digital assets; e.g. video, photos, documents, text files etc. Services, include Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud and many, many others.Cloud services typically operate a “Freemium” model with users provided with limited free space and being charged for increased storage if required.
    Compact Cassette Tapeprincipally used to hold music with a capacity of 30 to 120 minutes.
    DVDis a digital optical disc storage format, originally created to hold video/movies. Later available to consumers and business users to store data using DVD writers. Typically stores 4.7 Gb (single sided) or 9.4Gb for double sided, dual layer). Also includes mini format DVDs often used in Camcorders for home movies.Released 1995
    E-ReaderA portable device such as Kindle, Nook and Kobo used to render e-books to a screen. Usually optimised for reading. These devices are capable of storing thousands of digital books. The Kindle was released in 2007 and continues as the leading brand of e-book reader.
    Floppy Diskis an early disk storage medium. Depending on format will hold 360Kb to 1.44Mb.Release commercially in 1976, but from early 2000 usage declined rapidly as alternatives, such as CDs and DVDs became ubiquitous.Released 1976
    Hard drive – Internala data storage device used for storing and reading digital data using rapidly rotating platters coated with magnetic material. Typically found inside a desktop, laptop computer or server.Capacity from 15Mb through to multiple Terrabytes.Been around since 1962 in various formats.
    Hard drive – Externalas Internal Hard Drive, but external and often connected via a USB port to a laptop or desktop either to extend capacity or used for backup purposes
    Iomega Zip Drivea super-capacity floppy disk delivering into a niche market at initially around 100Mb, increasing to 750Mb over time. Never really caught on with CDs and DVDs providing larger capacities.Released 1994.
    Legacy Mobile PhoneLegacy mobile phones might have some old txt messages stored on them, although the battery may no longer fire up the phone. Software to retrieve them onto another device format may no longer work on your current devices.
    Memory Cardsuch as Compact Flash, Memory Stick, SD Card etc. Often found in mobile devices or digital cameras and video recorders. Memory sizes started out very small, but these days, 512Gb can be seen.Released 1990s
    Smartphonee.g. the current crop of phone running operating systems such as Windows Mobile, Apple’s IOS or Android.Storage of around 512Mb to around 64Gb (and steadily iincreasing). Storage typically supplemented by inserted memory cards.
    USB Memory Sticka data storage device using flash memory integrated with a Universal Serial Bus.A memory device that plugs into the USB port of a device, typically a laptop or desktop computer. Sizes introduced were around 8Mb with sizes now increasing to 512GbReleased December 2000
    VHS TapeNot actually digital, but analogue. Mentioned here for completeness. Used to hold movies or recorded TV shows. Early video cameras used this format to record home movies. You may have some of these hidden in your loft.Tape deteriorates after a while. Finding a working player could prove challenging. Specialist services may well be required to transfer anything you have from this format to digital.Released 1977 but format no longer in use.
    Video TapeVarious formats including miniDV and Digital 8 (digital) and other non-digital formats such as VHS-C, Video 8, Hi8, used in consumer video cameras for home movies.
  • A physical device may be required to playback or record to particular storage medium. As storage media changes, finding a working device to access the asset can become quite a challenge. If possible, assets that exist on deprecated media should be copied and moved to alternative, ubiquitous and perhaps new formats.


    Blue ray player/writerreads and writes Blue Ray disks.Current
    CD player/writerreads and writes Compact Disks. Can be found in computers and cars (read only)Current
    Compact Cassette Tape Playerreads and writes cassette tapes to record music.Limited
    DVD player/writerreads and writes DVDs. Can be found in computers, games consoles, camcorders etcCurrent
    E-Readerreads and renders e-book files. Often capable of other functions such as playing movies or music.Current
    Floppy Disk Drivereads and writes floppy disksVery Limited for 1.4Mb format. Earlier formats unavailable.
    Hard drive – Internalreads and writes digital assets. Typically found inside a computer or laptop. Not portable, but can often be moved between devices, although rights to access the data could be an issue if the original device on which the hard disk existed is unavailable. Current
    Hard drive – Externalreads and writes digital assets. Can be easily moved from one device to another with appropriate connectivity, such as a USB, Firewire or other connection type. Current
    Iomega Zip Driveread and writes digital assets to a Zip disk.No longer available.
    Legacy Mobile PhoneIf it can be started, SMS messages could be retrieved. Probably of limited value.Current but old models constantly superceded
    Memory Card Slotreads and writes digital assets. often found in laptops, computers, cameras and video cameras.SD format current, but older formats becoming obsolete.
    SmartphoneContent on Smartphones can often be transfered and read by newer devices. For example, iPhone content can be transfered using iTunes to a newer device. Current
    USB Memory Stick Readerreading and writing USB sticks usually performed using a computer, but other devices capable of reading (or in some cases even writing) these devices include music amplifiers, in car stereos, smartphones, cameras etc. This capability makes it very easy to move content from one device to another providing great flexibility. Current
    VHS Video Recorderread and write tv or/or videos Obsolete
    Video Tape PlayerDepending on the format of the tape, typically will be read or written to by a camcorder. Tape is now more frequently being replaced by SD memory cards.Current but becoming obsolete, so players may soon be difficult to obtain.
  • The software you need to access or read the asset.


    3D Graphics Software
    Archive software
    Backup Software
    Desktop Publishing Software, such as Quark Express, Corel Draw or PagePlus etc
    E-Book Reader software
    Music Creating Software
    Music Playing Software
    Office Software, such as Microsoft Office, Open Office etc