Fellows' Ernst Posner Award: Keith Pendergrass, Walker Sampson, Tessa Walsh, and Laura Alagna

Keith Pendergrass, digital archivist at Harvard Business School, Walker Sampson, assistant professor and digital archivist at the University of Colorado Boulder, Tessa Walsh, software developer at Artefactual Systems, and Laura Alagna, digital preservation librarian at Northwestern University, are the 2020 recipients of the Fellows’ Ernst Posner Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award recognizes an outstanding essay dealing with some facet of archival administration, history, theory, and/or methodology that was published during the preceding year in SAA’s journal, American Archivist. 

Keith Pendergrass, Walker Sampson, Tessa Walsh, and Laura Alagna are being honored for their article, Toward Environmentally Sustainable Digital Preservation, which appeared in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of American Archivist (vol. 82, no. 1). The authors provide a framework for the cultural heritage profession to move toward environmentally sustainable digital preservation. First, they review the literature for differing uses of the term “sustainability” to establish the long history of this work in the cultural heritage field. Second, they provide a more holistic view of digital preservation’s environmental impacts than has appeared in the cultural heritage literature by examining the full life-cycle effects of information and communication technology. Then, the authors offer stopgap solutions for reducing digital preservation's negative environmental impacts through altered technology use. Finally, taking into account digital preservation’s full life-cycle impacts, they argue that creating environmentally sustainable digital preservation requires critically examining the motivations and assumptions that shape current practice and propose explicitly integrating environmental sustainability into digital preservation practice by shifting cultural heritage professionals’ paradigm of appraisal, permanence, and availability of digital content.

The SAA Awards Committee noted that the article “is beautifully and clearly written, covering a broad swath of professional thought and practice through the lens of digital preservation. The recommendations for achieving sustainability in digital preservation efforts, at the macro and operational levels, are cogent and compelling.”

1 Comment(s) to the "Fellows' Ernst Posner Award: Keith Pendergrass, Walker Sampson, Tessa Walsh, and Laura Alagna"
Glyade says:
They contend that in order to

They contend that in order to create digital preservation that is environmentally sustainable for stone retaining wall, it is necessary to critically analyze the assumptions and reasons underlying current practices.