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Wynken de Worde

libraries and climate change

Today is the Global Climate Strike. I don’t know how anyone can look at the world around them and not be worried about how the climate is changing and how we are not taking action to prevent disaster.

About a year and a half ago I started thinking more seriously about the relationship between libraries and archives and climate change, due largely in part to the ongoing work and activism from archivists Eira Tansey and Ben Goldman. So when I was invited to give a talk about whether digitization is a form of preservation at the Society of American Archivists meeting in August 2019, I jumped at the change to consider our complicity with the coal industry. I’m reviving that brief call to arms today to mark the climate strike. The talk itself is short. Take five minutes to watch (or listen) to the video below. And then browse through some of the resources about the environmental impacts of digital preservation.

Your ark is causing the flood: Digitization is not preservation

a small selection of further readings:

Goldman, Benjamin Matthew. 2018. “It’s Not Easy Being Green(e): Digital Preservation in the Age of Climate Change.” In Archival Values: Essays in Honor of Mark Greene. Society for American Archivists. https://scholarsphere.psu.edu/concern/generic_works/bvq27zn11p.

Goldman, Ben, Eira Tansey, and Whitney Ray. 2018. “Gathering and Documenting Archival Repository Location Data.” RBMS, New Orleans, LA. https://repositorydata.wordpress.com/2018/06/29/rbms-2018-presentation/.

Lischer-Katz, Zack. 2017. “Studying the Materiality of Media Archives in the Age of Digitization: Forensics, Infrastructures and Ecologies.” First Monday 22 (1). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v22i1.7263.

Maughan, Tim. 2015. “The Dystopian Lake Filled by The World’s Tech Lust.” BBC Future. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150402-the-worst-place-on-earth.

Pendergrass, Keith, Walker Sampson, Tim Walsh, and Laura Alagna. 2019. “Toward Environmentally Sustainable Digital Preservation.” The American Archivist. https://doi.org/10.17723/0360-9081-82.1.165.

Staniunus, David. 2019. “Our Carbon Footprint in the Archives.” Presbyterian Historical Society. https://www.history.pcusa.org/blog/2019/09/our-carbon-footprint-archives.

Tadic, Linda. 2016. “The Environmental Impact of Digital Preservation.” AMIA Conference. Pittsburgh, PA. http://www.amiaconference.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Advocacy-3-1-Environmental-Impact-Tadic.pdf.

Tansey, Eira. 2015. “Archival adaptation to climate change.” Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy. 11, no. 2.

Winn, Samantha R. 2019. “Dying Well In the Anthropocene: On the End of Archivists.” Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies. https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/90177.