What kind of practices are we using today to manage and preserve our digital cultural heritage? Can we make them more sustainable? How can we reduce our environmental footprint? Can new tools such as Generative AI help us to embrace a climate-friendly digital transition?
Today, cultural heritage institutions face these fundamental questions and many others in relation to their environmental sustainability. In order to help professionals to answer them, the Environmental Sustainability Practice Task Force of the Europeana Network Association Climate Action Community has launched a survey to evaluate the sustainability of digital information management and preservation practices in European cultural heritage institutions. We need your participation to better understand our collective practice, and help shape approaches to address the climate emergency and the environmental impact of our work within the cultural heritage sector.
Something for today - to have tomorrow
With the first week of July being recorded as the hottest week on record, we urge the cultural sector to take a stand by taking concrete actions aimed at mitigating, as much as possible, the impact of its activity on the planet. Indeed, many are already taking such steps and we hope that our survey can contribute to these actions.
How we are digitally managing and preserving our heritage for the future represents an essential part of this task and a major collective challenge. It is crucial to know what kind of practice the sector is carrying out in this area, in order to be able to identify how we safeguard and ensure access to our heritage for present and future generations.
A survey designed to support assessment of your own work
To this end, and in line with the work plan of the Climate Action Community, the Community’s Environmental Sustainability Task Force has designed a survey which aims to find out how professionals working in digital preservation or management of digital content are working, what challenges they face, and how can we support them to respond. The survey was designed by a group of experts from different backgrounds but with a common belief in the climate urgency and the power of collective intelligence. It is coordinated by Chair of the Task Force, Evangelia Paschalidou.
The survey takes 12 minutes to complete, and addresses key aspects of digital preservation practices in European cultural heritage, with questions including:
What is your understanding of environmental sustainability and how is it discussed within your organisation?
What kind of practices are you carrying out to appraise, digitise, preserve, and make accessible your analogue, physical, or born-digital cultural heritage collections in a digital format?
How do you involve users of your digital collections and services mediated by your organisation?
What kind of actions and initiatives is your organisation planning or would like to implement in the near future with regard to the environmental sustainability of your information management (Green ICT) and preservation practices?
Only the beginning
The survey should be considered as the first step to building a solid and proactive community around this challenge. It will be processed and analysed by the Environmental Sustainability Practice Task Force and the main results and key learnings will be published in a report to be made available by the end of autumn 2023.
To recognise your time and effort in responding to this survey, if you respond you will receive access to the interim report to preview the findings. You will also have a priority place at a workshop, discussing the current state of digital practices of European cultural heritage institutions, and the potential for paradigm change.
This is an initiative in which it is important that we all participate. Every contribution is important for sustainable and environmentally friendly digital heritage.
Take the survey now
If you feel that you and your institution can contribute to this effort, please respond to this survey by Friday 13 October 2023, and share your ideas, experience, and challenges. Your feedback is essential to inform the work of the Climate Action Community, including awareness-raising and advocacy actions for climate-conscious working practices in the digital cultural heritage sector, to minimise our environmental impact.
If you have questions please contact the Environmental Sustainability Practice Task Force at firstname.lastname@example.org.