Arabesques n°109

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Towards digital sobriety: libraries in action

april-may-june 2023

The environmental impact of human activities is a growing concern. Among the pollutants generated by these activities, those linked to the digital sector are steadily increasing. According to the European Commission, the digital sector will account for between 5% and 9% of the world's electricity consumption in 2021, and if no action is taken, it could account for 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

Faced with this situation, adopting a sober digital approach is becoming essential. As this new Arabesques dossier illustrates, more and more libraries are taking this approach and translating it into concrete action, both to improve their own operations and to raise awareness among their publics. For example, in September 2022, Lyon 1 University's documentation department created a sustainable development mission, while Lyon's Bibliothèque municipale has included a policy of digital sobriety in its library project.

Among these challenges, research data management is a specific area of reflection that documentation professionals would do well to address, in order to help reconcile the imperatives of digital sobriety and those of open science, which are more interdependent than opposed, as demonstrated by a collective article in this issue.

Digital sobriety also means looking at all the impacts of the digitalization of society on our lifestyles, and in particular the question of attention. We urgently need to move from an economy of attention to an ecology of attention," stresses Florian Forestier, head of diversity and social innovation at the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

To support their approach, from reflection to implementation, documentation professionals can draw on a substantial arsenal of resources and initiatives provided by institutions and associations, most of which are mentioned in this dossier.

Enjoy your reading!