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Hello,

I am currently working on my MLIS capstone and wanted to ask for advice. I’m researching the role of waste in possible transitions from MARC to BIBFRAME. How can future standards and practices be less wasteful?  Surveying institutions using both, I’m trying to analyze the role of environment in cataloging though policies and interviews with people at OCLC, LC, and related institutions.

Does anyone here know of any related research taking cataloging and metadata standards on one hand and the environment on the other? Or any research posing the question of what green cataloging would look like?

I know that the BIBFRAME pilot catalogs in both MARC and BIBFRAME and while this can be conceived of as wasteful, it is also “necessary” costs for continued record production and learning to improve the ontology.

I have also learned that the Library of Congress (I’m not sure about the other institutions in the pilot) have no particular environmental standards, except for more general policies and legal regulations for government employees to avoid waste.

BIBFRAME is itself sometimes framed as a “greener” process. Instead of storing strings, only URIs are stored. It seems to be part of a trend to, instead of transcribing ten different ways of saying something, a cataloger just links to an authority record.

This brings me to my greatest concern with the imbrication of cataloging technologies and the environment, the relation of physical data centers and continued colonization. Histories of ontologies and cataloging industry seem interwoven with displacement of Indigenous persons in the United States, and an epistemic oppression, intimately connected with exploitation of resources.

I would appreciate any advice on information science literature critiquing “greening” transitions in library systems. Or how to make steps towards distributing shares in knowledge production/indexing, or making space for decolonizing ontologies. Or how threads of colonialist histories and environmental impacts matter to ontology design. 

Thanks and best wishes,
Colin