Green Bytes: Sustainable Digital Preservation TwitterVerse

A panel discussion titled “Green Bytes: Sustainable Approaches to Digital Stewardship” was held this morning at the Library of Congress‘s Digital Preservation 2013 meeting. On the panel were David Rosenthal (Stanford University), Kris Carpenter (Internet Archive), and Krishna Kant (George Mason University and National Science Foundation), with panel organizer and chair Joshua Sternfeld (National Endowment for the Humanities).

The panel took up questions of how we think about making digital preservation more sustainable. As we realize that digital information is not ephemeral, but requires significant resources of time, money, and energy, how will we make sure that we can still be able to access, read, and use the information that we create?

Here are a few of my favorite (mostly my favorites) tweets during the panel. The first are about the deeper questions: what are we preserving? Why? How?

These tweets mention some of the panel ideas:

A quote from Krishna Kant’s slides:

Kris Carpenter mentioned some uses of data center heat that the Internet Archive staff has mentioned:

Here’s an excerpt from the panel abstract, as linked from the announcement on The Signal:

As our digital cultural and scientific heritage grows at an exponential rate, it is often easy to overlook the underpinning material costs. Data, of course, are not “virtual” or “ephemeral”; rather, every byte requires resources to ensure its reliable storage and accessibility. Recent reports suggest that data management currently taxes upwards of 2% of total global energy consumption. The data center is quickly emerging as a counterpart to the “analog” storage facility as one of the central infrastructural components of our preservation ecosystem.

Current research into the sustainability of data centers, especially in the commercial sector, would suggest that there is plenty of room to improve energy efficiency. The greening of data centers has led to innovations in every facet of their operations, from retrofitting buildings in order to recalibrate air flow and cooling, to adopting computational strategies that reduce the load on spinning hard drives. This panel will explore how approaches to achieving green sustainability already underway in otherindustries could be adopted by the digital preservation community.

David Rosenthal’s remarks can be found here at his blog.