The Necessity of Environmentally Sustainable Digital Preservation and its Effects on Preservation Workflow
Durham, Curtis J.
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This essay is an investigation into which aspects of digital preservation affect Global Warming and how cultural heritage institutions can mitigate their participation in the Climate Emergency while maintaining good preservation standards and practices. It describes why an awareness of the environmental impacts of digital preservation is necessary, and what those effects are. It describes which aspects of digital preservation affect an institution’s carbon footprint and how. It then explores which climate-mitigating aspects of digital preservation are within an institutions ability to control and which they are advised to take. In doing so, an assessment of which options are most suitable for small and mid-sized institutions is discussed, and the likely effects these alterations will have on preservation workflow. This research is based on a review of literature on the effects of digital storage and ICT infrastructure energy consumption, and on information obtained by the author in personal communications with officials at selected cultural heritage institutions in Baltimore City, Maryland.