HOTB2020 Panel 2.1: Models of Sustainability



Panel 2.1: Models of Sustainability

“Virtual Conferences on the Brink: Critical Reflections on Research-Creation and Digital Collaboration in Times of Crisis”

Emily Roehl, Anne Pasek, Caleb Wellum (University of Alberta)

“Sustainability Studies and the Unsustainable University: A View from the Brink”

Dan Platt (Graceland University)

“Against the Day: HathiTrust, Arks, and the Emergency of the Present”

Heather Christenson, Eleanor Koehl, and Graham Dethmers (HathiTrust)

Q & A

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5 replies
  1. Heather Christenson says:

    Hello all, My HathiTrust colleagues and I welcome all of your questions and comments on our presentation. Given the success and challenges that we describe, what content you think is especially important for libraries to digitally preserve and provide access to 100 years from now?
    Interested to hear what you think! –Heather C

    • Anne Pasek says:

      Hi Heather! Thanks to you and your colleagues for the interesting presentation. It’s really valuable for researchers to hear more about the practical and relational problems that stand behind their research resources.

      I have a slightly divergent question to you and your colleague: has anyone at HathiTrust through about the environmental impact of digital archives? Or non-digital ones, for that matter? This is a problem I’ll soon be tackling in a media lab I hope to get running in 2021. Provisionally, we hope to host most of our outputs on a solar powered server, following the example set by Low-Tech Magazine ( But this will likely require dithering images and using plain text, to reduce file size (and therefore our energy requirements).

      I guess this is all to say that I’m interested in the ‘how’ as well as the ‘what’ re: digital archiving 100 years in the future and am curious about your thoughts regarding the materiality of storage.

    • Angela Acosta says:

      Thank you for discussing how HathiTrust services have successfully met the research needs of scholars and researchers during the pandemic and where the service is headed in the future. Your presentation made me think more about the precarity of physical objects like books and how digital archives are an invaluable resource when those materials could be destroyed or otherwise rendered unusable in the next 100 years. There is certainly an urgency to digitally preserve texts by lesser-known writers and texts stored in locations that could be impacted by natural disasters. I study early 20th century Spanish women writers and I know that many of those materials 80-100 years out are hard to find given the limited number of copies and would hope that scholars 100 years from now have access to the same amount of, or more, materials as I do now.

  2. Katie Reschenhofer says:

    @Dan Platt: Thank you for this incredibly important and insightful presentation! Discussing invisible labour and taking a critical look at the “Campus Pastoral” definitely sounds like a valuable addition to the curriculum.
    The internship you mentioned sounds like a good way to engage the students. In how far would the internship differ from a hands-on seminar? It certainly sounds like a promising way to get students involved in the bigger picture.

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