Details of the Keynotes and Paper Sessions on 16 and 17 Nov 2022
Wednesday, 16 Nov 2022, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (SINGAPORE TIME)
9:25 am – 10:20 am (inclusive of Q&A)
At the Heart of Sustainability
Karen Chan, Executive Director, Asian Film Archive
Sustainability as a matter of survival was hotly discussed when the digital format first descended upon moving image archives. In recent years, green visions are playing a greater prominence in the policies of archival institutions. What used to be separate considerations – the environment and preservation - are now becoming regarded as important factors toward the viability of archives. However, the sheer magnitude of having to juggle between the defining crisis of the 21st century, the impact of a dramatically disruptive global pandemic, and the continued struggle with digital preservation are immensely daunting.
How can we be girded for this task?
This keynote puts together some ideas taken from across industries, even borrowing from science fiction, to stretch the imagination and to innovate from a range of perspectives for archives to tackle the complexity of sustaining the environment and saving our moving images.
Karen Chan has been the Executive Director of the Asian Film Archive (AFA) since 2014. In the last 24 years, she has worked in various heritage institutions and government agencies including the National Archives of Singapore, the National Arts Council, and the Natural History Museum in New York City.
Since joining the AFA as an archivist in 2006, Karen has focused on the development and access of film collections, increasing film literacy, and advocating for preservation. Under her leadership, the AFA is establishing a reputation for its innovative programming and for creating a new life for films through its restoration and facilitation efforts. Throughout the pandemic years, she has ensured that the AFA innovated to continue its engagement with stakeholders, audiences, and users. From commissions to collaborations, the AFA has supported filmmakers, interdisciplinary creatives and provided avenues for dialogues and learning.
As part of the AFA’s push for film education, Karen devises and teaches film literacy and preservation talks, workshops, learning journeys for secondary to tertiary students, using these opportunities to expose a new generation to Asian cinema and to appreciate the value of film as heritage. Additionally, she publishes articles and presents at industry and academic platforms such as with the EYE Filmmuseum Amsterdam, Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA), and the International Film Industry Conference.
Karen is the current President of the Southeast Asia-Pacific Audiovisual Archive Association (SEAPAVAA) and serves on the Singapore Film Commission advisory committee.
SESSION 1A: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm (inclusive of Q&A)
10:30 am – 10:55 am
Can Digital Go Green? The Myth of Sustainable Digital Preservation
Jan Zastrow, Archivist, Independent Consultant, USA
World leaders are calling for transformational technologies that can help reduce CO2 greenhouse gas emissions and slow down or reverse the effects of radical climate change. As conscientious information professionals, we must address environmental sustainability in libraries and archives, not only with “green” buildings, paper recycling and virtual conferences, but in how we create, manage and preserve digital collections.
Our current digital preservation strategies rely heavily on server farms and cloud storage. Given the extraordinary amount of electricity required to operate data centers and the water to cool them, is this environmentally responsible? Strategies such as LOCKSS—Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe—worked fine in the dawning age of the Internet and digitization but 30 years on, we are drowning in data and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions resulting from its preservation.
This presentation considers the environmental cost of digital preservation and questions its sustainability going forward in the future.
Jan Zastrow is a Hawai’i-trained, Washington-based librarian, futurist and Certified Archivist. Earning her MLIS and Political Science master’s degrees at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Jan joined the University of Hawai’i Library faculty to head the Congressional Papers Collection and establish the Archives & Manuscripts Department. She subsequently relocated to Washington to serve as archivist, records manager, researcher, and historical consultant for five United States senators.
Jan serves as a mentor and journal peer reviewer, contributes features to library and archival publications, sits on professional association boards, is a frequent conference speaker, and writes the “Digital Archivist” column for Computers in Libraries.
10:55 am – 11:20 am
Digital Preservation’s Impact on the Environment
Linda Tadic, CEO, Digital Bedrock, USA
Digital content is created and collected by everyone: libraries, archives, museums, government agencies, corporations, media companies, artists, and individuals. Keeping digital content viable requires not only energy use, but also refreshing the digital storage media and technologies. This presentation will explore the energy consumption and e-waste generated in current digital preservation infrastructures and actions, and review the environmental impact embodied in the full lifecycle of these infrastructures. It will include recommendations for actions and policies to mitigate digital preservation’s impact on the environment.
Linda Tadic is Founder/CEO of Digital Bedrock, a managed digital preservation service that helps libraries, archives, museums, producers, studios, artists, and individuals preserve their digital content. She is also a Lecturer in UCLA’s Department of Information Studies, teaching a course on Digital Asset Management. She was previously an adjunct professor in NYU’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program. Her over 35 years’ experience includes positions at HBO, Artstor, the Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, and Pacific Film Archive. Linda consults and lectures on digital asset management, audiovisual and digital preservation, metadata, and the impact of digital preservation on the environment. She is a founding member and former President of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA), and is currently on the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) Coordinating Committee. Linda is the recipient of the 2021 SMPTE James A. Lindner Archival Technology Medal.
11:20 am – 11:45 am
Sustainability: Adaptation and Mitigation in Archival Institutions
Dr. Lois M. Evans, Graduate, University of British Columbia, Canada
In 2015, the United Nations published Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a universal agenda consisting of “a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity” encompassing 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets. This common global framework seeks to address the climate emergency across national, provincial, municipal, organizational, and functional contexts.
This presentation considers climate action (SDG 13) in the archival context, where preservation and access represent the primary functions of our institutions. First, we will look at a climate ontology to understand climate terms and the relationship between sustainability, adaptation, and mitigation. Next, we will focus on practical concerns, drawing on archival literature and research from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom to see how archivists can begin to respond to the climate emergency. More specifically, we will tie geographic analysis to disaster preparedness and connect carbon-footprint calculators to mitigation.
Located in Vancouver, Canada on Musqueam traditional territory, Lois M. Evans received her Doctor of Philosophy in Archival Studies from the University of British Columbia in May 2022. Her doctoral research focused on reducing the impact of information and communication technology on the environment. She is a UBC Sustainability Scholar and a founding member of the Association of Canadian Archivists’ Environment Special Interest Group. Her report, Digital Climate Change: Leveraging Retention and Disposition to Reduce Climate Impacts, is available at www.loismevans.com
SESSION 1B: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm (inclusive of Q&A)
10:30 am – 10:55 am
Boundary crossing: strengthening disaster management during climate change
Dr Heather Brown, Assistant Director, Artlab Australia
The increased severity of disasters posed by climate change heightens the pivotal role played by disaster management. A range of international peak bodies such as UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre section on Climate Change and World Heritage (2021) have highlighted the elevated risk of disasters associated with extreme weather and cascading events that pose heightened risks to all of our cultural collections.
In an international landscape of climate change, limited resources, and rapidly expanding collections effective disaster management is critical, as disasters can result in the loss of highly significant cultural heritage. However, a major Australian research project, undertaken in the context of Australian national state and territory (NSLA) libraries, has uncovered that the approaches to disaster management are largely divided and uncoordinated between the physical and digital domains. Although our heritage collections typically comprise physical and digital resources, the disaster management approaches for these hybrid collections are largely uncoordinated and disconnected.
The outcomes of the research project have demonstrated the feasibility of boundary crossing, integrating disaster management across physical and digital collections to coordinate and strengthen the overall approach. A practical application of the research has resulted in the updating of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) disaster resources in an integrated approach that crosses the boundaries between the two domains. The ALIA disaster resources assist staff in coordinating and collaborating across the physical and digital domains, helping them to plan ahead, build their confidence and resilience and to strengthen their response when the next disaster strikes their collections.
Dr Heather Brown has a dual role as an Assistant Director at Artlab Australia, one of Australia’s leading conservation organisations, and as Education and Sector Standards Librarian at the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). She also delivers lectures to students in the Library and Information Management program at the University of South Australia on aspects of digital and physical preservation management. More broadly, she has delivered presentations and training on preservation issues to colleagues across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India.
Heather’s research interests are in the interrelationships between physical and digital preservation and in an integrated approach to disaster management of physical and digital collections. She has co-authored the ALIA disaster management guide and template plan that provide a flexible framework for integrated collections disaster management.
10:55 am – 11:20 am
Ring of Fire as an Evaluation of Determining the Location of Archive Center Buildings in Indonesia (Analysis of the Location of the Archive Center in Indonesia which is Prone to Disasters)
Siti Samsiyah, SS.M.Si, Head University Archiv / Lecturer Diploma IV Archiv Science
Universitas Terbuka (Open University ), Indonesia
Indonesia as a ring of fire region places its position very vulnerable to disasters. 2021 BNPB (National Disaster Management Agency) recorded 3,092 events dominated by hydrometeorological disasters. The most frequent disasters are floods with 1,298 events, 804 extreme weather events, 632 landslides, 265 forest and land fires, 45 tidal waves and abrasion, 32 earthquakes, 15 droughts and volcanic eruptions. This data shows that the Indonesian region has the potential for disasters to occur at any time. Archive storage in the majority of archive centers are in vulnerable areas. Indonesia’s position in the ring of fire area causes earthquakes to occur frequently. The purpose of this research is to find solutions to prevent archive destruction and the actions that need to be taken if a disaster occurs. The research method is a qualitative research location in Jakarta, Bogor, Banten. The data collection techniques in this study were interviews and other supporting documents according to the research objectives. The results showed that the occurrence of earthquake disasters that caused landslides, floods, fires, permanent land damage caused disasters as well as archives, namely damaged archives that could not even be saved because of the location or position of the building where archives were stored which were prone to disasters. Efforts that can be made are to create a system that is able to detect when a disaster will come, procedures for handling archives during a disaster, and when a disaster occurs and after a disaster.
Keywords: climate change, ring of fire, disaster archive
Siti Samsiyah is the head of the University Archives Division at the Open University (Universitas Terbuka – Indonesia) which the head office is located at Jakarta. Apart from being the head of the University Archives Division, She is also a lecturer in the archives IV diploma study program. Experience in working as coordinator of library communication and network services for two terms. First, as head of the Archives Diploma IV study program in 2007 – 2011. For the second one is at 2011-2015. During her time as a lecturer and as head of the university archive, she’s actively participated in national and international seminars in the fields of archives, information, libraries and distance education. Dozens of studies have been carried out and manifested in seminars and books. Several books have been written and also used by students as literature for research, knowledge purposes and conventional lessons studies (online and offline). As a lecturer, she also performs knowledge services for the community, including revamping the archives in the government province environment, school environment and not only that, Siti samsiyah is sourceful person in various seminars and technical guidance on archive matters. The role as head of the University Archive division, is to coordinated all archival activities from providing technical guidance on archives, monitoring archives, monitoring archive activities and shrinking archives at the head office of open universities and in all regional open university offices in all Indonesian province. Currently the focus is on compiling the oral history archives of the pioneers of the open university, examined local archival values through research, revamping video, audio record, photo, and microfilm archives. Achievements that have been achieved include the acquisition of the best paper in one of the national seminars, and as the head of the 1st best study program at the Universitas Terbuka (Open University).
11:20 am – 11:45 am
Impact of disasters on archival collections and facilities and the archives’ response
Saw Nan Nwe, Deputy Director General, National Archives of Myanmar
Archival materials are vital and delicate. The way they are handled can affect the life span of the records contained in them. Records must be preserved and conserved for future use. The process of encoding and recording information has evolved over a thousand years. They are vital access to learning and information, in the future sustain knowledge and allow interpretation of the past. Every archives, library, museum, large or small should have a well-defined programme for preserving the materials which it houses.
Nowadays, there are many disasters all over the world. There are also two kinds of disasters: natural disasters and manmade disasters. Natural disaster damages to archival materials can be caused by earthquakes, fire, flood or water. Manmade disasters are fire, war and thief, flood/ water (leaking of pipe) because of unconsciousness or intention of people. Now, our country Myanmar has been facing unstable political situation, some of public offices are fired in local area. Some important public records are losing. Our Archives has implemented for disaster planning and mitigation strategies. It is also the preservation and conservation of archival collection but some public offices in local area are not able to do. Our Archives has been collecting and transferring public records of local area as much as we can every year. The National Archives of Myanmar has been threatened by that unstable political situation. We have been doing proactive action for those man-made disasters – security for information, security of staff, security of Archival collections, firefighting, digital preservation and backup etc. That is why impact of manmade disaster makes our Archives challenged.
I am Ms. Saw Nan Nwe working for the National Archives of Myanmar for twenty nine years since I have got my first degree. I have got Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Yangon University of Economics in 2017. I haven’t got any diploma and degree in Archival studies but I have learned that from my seniors and in job training since I joined my job. Some of my seniors have got degree at Master in Records and Archives Management from abroad. In addition, my seniors were trained by experts from American, Canada, UK, Malaysia and India in 1982 according the UNDP Program. Now all of seniors were retired. As I have mentioned above, I have been learning archival studies from my seniors and short term training course from National Archives of Malaysia, Singapore and Korea. Besides, I attend International Seminars searching about National Archives of different countries from their website and reading publications of ICA that all about is my learning experience. Then, I contribute my experience and knowledge to our staff and other staff from public offices.
SESSION 2A: 12:40 pm – 2:10 pm (inclusive of Q&A)
12:40 pm – 1:05 pm
What is the True Carbon Footprint of a Virtual Archives: Re-thinking Environmental Impact and Sustainability in the Context of Emerging Technologies
Dr. Eugenia Kim, Artist/researcher, Hong Kong
The volume and variety of multimedia content to be preserved has increased exponentially since the mid-2010s. Digital archivists are now faced with electronic records that defy categorization, content creators range from enthusiastic amateurs to highly trained experts, and vast amounts of cloud storage is now ubiquitous. When assessing the carbon footprint of generating and storing digital content, it is essential to consider the environmental impact of factors such as electricity, networking and computing technologies, and socio-economic privilege. Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence/machine learning, blockchain, metaverse, and extended realities have changed existing industries and generated new disciplines. These new technologies also affect how content is visualized and put an increased emphasis on the experience of interacting with that content.
The author uses several case studies from contemporary new media art, performing arts, and virtual cultural heritage to highlight the complexity of defining “sustainability” when creating and maintaining virtual archives. These case studies are drawn from areas such as eco-art, generative art, and virtual reality to demonstrate how emerging technologies are or can be used to build repositories of experiences rather than simple static objects. The main rationale for selecting from the arts and humanities is that they offer unusually complex scenarios that eventually have implications for other fields. Insights from the research of digital preservationists such as David Bearman and Colin Post will be used as the lens through which to assess the feasibility of maintaining these new types of repositories over time.
Eugenia S. Kim is a Korean-American transdisciplinary creator and researcher who uses movement and multimedia technology to create narratives and visualize various types of lived experiences. Her doctoral research proposed the use of dance and somatic movement practices, motion capture and virtual reality (VR) for creating illness narratives about bipolar disorder. From 2001-2017, she mainly created and performed in live dance works for the stage before switching her focus to motion capture, VR, and the metaverse. She was also a digital archivist/humanist/librarian from 2011-2016 with a focus on digital dance preservation. Her current research focuses on using mocap data and metaverse platforms to create embodied archives about living with chronic pain. Eugenia is an editor for the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices, a board member of the Somatic Practices and Chronic Pain Network, and an artist with the Augmented Materiality Lab (School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong). She holds a PhD in Creative Media from the City University of Hong Kong, MS in Information Science from University at Albany, and BS in Electronic Media, Arts and Communications from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
1:05 pm – 1:30 pm
Archival preservation: risks and benefits to the future of the planet*
Prof. Robyn Sloggett, Director, Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation and Cripps Foundation Chair in Cultural Materials Conservation,
University of Melbourne, Australia
The overlap between the preservation of the environment and the preservation of archives is more than linguistic. In both cases preservation aims to minimise the rate of change and halt, or at least slow, deterioration. Nevertheless, it remains the fact that the preservation needs of archives, and other cultural heritage, are not carbon neutral and lead to increases in greenhouse gas emissions. This in turn means that in preserving cultural heritage there is a cost to the preservation of the environment. In the long term this is a counter-productive cycle that needs to be modelled, assessed and managed in ways that are sustainable and may even provide carbon drawdown opportunities for the preservation of archives to contribute to the preservation of the planet. This paper explores this dichotomy, the risks in not understanding the carbon cost of archival preservation, and the possibilities that exist for sustainable preservation practices that will provide for effective carbon drawdown.
Robyn Sloggett AM is Cripps Foundation Chair and Director of the Grimwade Centre, the University of Melbourne. Her research interests include cultural material and climate change; the investigation of artists’ materials and techniques; attribution and authentication; collection development and history; community engagement in conservation; and the preservation of cultural materials in Australian Indigenous communities. Her awards for contributions to the profession and the preservation of Australia’s cultural heritage include the Bathurst Macquarie Heritage Medal (2016); International Council of Museums Australia Award for International Relations (2013); AICCM Award for Outstanding Research in the Field of Material Conservation (2012); and AICCM Conservator of the Year (2004)) and member of the Order of Australia (2015). She is passionate about research and education programs that support the next generation of conservators and build recognition of the importance of cultural heritage for the future.
SESSION 2B: 12:40 pm – 2:10 pm (inclusive of Q&A)
12:40 pm – 1:05 pm
Preserving the Cultural Heritage of the Ifugaos of the Cordillera Administrative Region in the Philippines Amidst the Threats of Climate Change and Natural Disasters**
Mary Grace P. Golfo-Barcelona, Assistant Professor, University of the Philippines School of Library and Information Studies (UPSLIS)
Indigenous sacred spaces and associated Indigenous practices are threatened by climate change that endangers the environment where these spaces are located. Indigenous peoples who continue to live on their traditional lands, are uniquely sensitive to climate change impacts because their livelihood systems and cultures are dependent on their environment’s ecosystem (Ford, n.d., p.13-14). According to Crate and Nuttall (2009), from an anthropological point of view, “climate change is ultimately about culture because intimate human-environment relations, integral to the world’s cultural diversity, lose place” (p. 12). They further explained that on top of the changes in the ecosystem that affect their livelihood, the need to relocate humans, animals, and plant populations to adapt to climate change “entails a loss of human-environment relationships that not only ground and substantiate Indigenous worldview, but also work to maintain and steward local landscapes” (p.12).
The research will look into the documented efforts of the Ifugaos in preserving and maintaining their sacred spaces and the attending Indigenous practices associated with these sacred spaces. The Ifugaos are one of the oldest Indigenous upland communities in the world which can be found in the Cordillera Administrative Region. They are also one of the very few Indigenous communities in the Philippines whose traditional cultural identities have remained untouched and preserved despite waves of colonization. The researcher will examine existing archives and highlight the preservation efforts adapted by the Ifugaos as they strive to maintain their culture and tradition amidst the worsening threats of climate change.
Mary Grace P. Golfo-Barcelona is a graduate of Master of Library and Information Science from the School of Library and Information Studies, University of the Philippines Diliman (UP SLIS), and Joint Masters Program in Archival Studies from the University of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg under the Department of History. She is presently a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at the University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, Canada. Her doctoral research focuses on the archiving of intangible and tangible cultural heritage of selected indigenous communities affected by the worsening natural disasters in the Philippines. She is also an assistant professor at the UP SLIS teaching courses on collection management for libraries, records management and basic archival principles and practices.
1:05 pm – 1:30 pm
Determining and Integrating Environmental Values into Community Archiving
Grace Ann Buenaventura, Librarian, UP Center for Ethnomusicology, Philippines
Dr. Iyra S. Buenrostro-Cabbab, Associate Professor, University of the Philippines School of Library and Information Studies (UPSLIS)
Martin Julius V. Perez, Communications and Records Officer (Attache), Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of the Philippines
Recent work and initiatives related to community archives have been challenging the traditions surrounding the archival practice, including its methodologies. While archivists may have an idea about the operationalisation of the concept of community archiving, the actual members of communities involved must be given the chance to reflect on their own culture and values that should be evident on the archives that will represent them. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic hinders the usual on-site engagements in community archiving. There is a need, therefore, to develop new approaches on how to start and maintain engagements with the community despite doing it virtually, and at the same time integrating important indigenous and community values especially those that are closely linked to their environment.
In this presentation, the authors will present a community archiving project done with a select group of volunteers in Sagada, Mountain Province – a mountainous region in the Philippines populated by the Kankanaey whose main livelihood is largely dependent on the utilization of natural resources and the environment (i.e. agriculture and tourism). Originally, the project was supposed to be done face-to-face, but due to the pandemic restrictions, the authors needed to re-examine and adjust the approaches that would suit the needs of the community. Different creative methods of community engagement were utilized during the online synchronous and asynchronous sessions. The participants exhibited how they valued their culture and their environment, making their personal environmental values as a major defining value and principle that shape them as a community. Integrating these values helped the group (authors/archivists and community members) identify community-specific requirements, stories, and ways to represent themselves in and through their archives.
GRACE ANN BUENAVENTURA finished her Bachelor’s Degree in Library and Information Science (BLIS) in 2010 and her Master’s Degree (MLIS) in 2022 at the School of Library and Information Studies, University of the Philippines Diliman (UP SLIS). Her capstone project involved the establishment of a community archives in Sagada, Mountain Province, Philippines, with Assoc. Prof. Buenrostro-Cabbab as her adviser, and Mr. Perez as consultant/team member. At present, Grace is working as a Librarian for the UP Center for Ethnomusicology (UPCE), a center for music research in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Apart from this regular post, she serves as Project Coordinator for the UPCE Publications and is Managing Editor of the Center’s annual peer-reviewed journal titled Musika Jornal.
IYRA S. BUENROSTRO-CABBAB is an Associate Professor of Library and Information Science, and Archival Studies at the School of Library and Information Studies, University of the Philippines Diliman (UP SLIS). She obtained her PhD in Information Studies from Nanyang Technological University as a Research Scholar, and both her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in LIS from the UP SLIS. Her research areas include archival theory and practice, photographic archives, archives and collective memory, oral history and community archives, and qualitative research methods in LIS. She is the Graduate Program Coordinator of the UP SLIS, and also the current Editor-in-Chief of the Philippine Journal of Librarianship and Information Studies (PhJLIS), the first and longest-running academic journal in LIS in the Philippines. Aside from research, teaching, and administrative activities, Iyra is also mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in conducting research and projects – one of which is this community archiving project in Sagada.
MARTIN JULIUS V. PEREZ is a communications and records officer (attache) of one of the embassies of the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), wherein he has been involved in records and archives management in the agency since 2014. He is also a part-time lecturer on archives and records management in the UP School of Library and Information Studies. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in LIS (magna cum laude) in 2011, and is currently working to finish his master’s degree in LIS at the UP SLIS. Martin is a licensed librarian, and formerly worked for the Sto. Domingo Convent Archives and Library, the Far Eastern University Library, Carlos P. Romulo Library of the Foreign Service Institute, and the DFA Archives.
1:30 pm – 1:55 pm
Preserving Family Records using Technology for Constructing Collective Memory
Indah Novita Sari, Lecturer, Archives and Records Program Study Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia
Rina Rakhmawati, Lecturer, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia
Titi Susanti, Lecturer, Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia
An archival institution has many responsibilities, especially on managing and protecting collective memory about individuals, governments, cities, and a nation. Before archivist can manage their archives, they should ensure creator’s participation in recordkeeping. Nowadays, more studies about recordkeeping is conducted in an institutional context, although family records are also crucial because they can contribute to sharping social memory in the future. This paper aims to discover a problem in managing family records in the digital era and explain some advantages of using technology to preserve family records in a rural area in Indonesia.
In the first step, the researcher develops a new application called AKAR (Arsip Keluarga). The methodology used was qualitative descriptive with the setting at Punukan Village in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Primary data were collected through interviews and focus group discussions with the women empowerment community. The result of study indicates some problems in managing family records that is organizing electronic records, storing digital records on many devices, and capturing genealogy. Using AKAR application, technology can help society in an accessibility context and reduce frequency when using physical records. It has a broader purpose that diminishes lost and damage risk. People can participate in protecting their crucial information containing in a photo, video, document, and registering family tree. Hence, it can be valuable resource for our future generation.
Keywords: preservation, collective memory, family records
Indah Novita Sari is a lecturer and Head of Laboratory at the Archival Science Department, Universitas Gadjah Mada. She holds a master degree in Information and Library Science from Universitas Airlangga and Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia. Her research interests are vital records, record centres and the development of library science.
Rina Rakhmawati is a lecturer in applied bachelor degree of records and archives management study program, vocational school of Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She is a part of archival conventional laboratory of vocational school, Gadjah Mada University. Her research interest were digital public service, appraisal and disposal records, and archival human resource management.
Titi Susanti works as an Assistant Professor in Gadjah Mada University the field of Records Management. Currently, she takes PhD program in Department of Public Policy Management. Her research interests is digital preservation of family records based on community in the rural area. This research can be used to develop memory collective of communities by families.
SESSION 3A: 2:10 pm – 3:40 pm (inclusive of Q&A)
2:10 pm – 2:35 pm
The Paradox of Digital Sustainability
Dr. Annet Dekker, Assistant Professor Archival and Information Studies, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
It is clear that rapid and radical transformation towards a low-carbon society is needed to prevent the increase of further environmental disasters. But what happens to the increasing footprint that is left when considering the future of the digital present? Since the advent of digital technology, heritage is created, stored and preserved by heritage and archival institutions. Consisting of different technical layers, digital heritage’s functioning relies heavily on the migration, emulation or virtualization of technical equipment and infrastructures. A tension emerges between the need to keep digital material safe for the future and the continuing need to update technical tools, methods and skills to enable these projects to function. While recognizing the value of recent sustainability efforts to minimise the carbon footprint in museum and archival institutions, for an archival ecological paradigm shift to occur, also socio-cultural adaptation is needed. I will discuss the paradox of ‘digital sustainability’ in relation to the preservation of digital art, and address another potential area where digital preservation can become more sustainable: the concept and practice of ‘networks of care’. This notion proposes to extend care by letting digital heritage evolve, in which the ‘original’ may be decaying over time (Desilvey 2017). Such an approach requires a collaborative model of shared governance in which digital preservation will depend less on continuous technical innovation in favour of the engagement and preservation of social relations and low-tech solutions, thereby reducing vulnerability, creating greater socio-cultural awareness and moving towards a resilient and sustainable management of digital heritage.
Annet Dekker (http://aaaan.net) is Assistant Professor Archival and Information Studies at the University of Amsterdam, and Visiting Professor and co-director of the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image at London South Bank University. She has a long career in working as a researcher and curator for international organizations, festivals and galleries where she organizes exhibitions, workshops, artists-in-residencies, and conferences. She publishes regularly in numerous collections and journals and is the editor of several volumes, most recently, Documentation as Art: Expanded Digital Practices (Routledge, 2022, co-edited with Gabriella Giannachi), Curating Digital Art. From Presenting and Collecting Digital Art to Networked Co-Curating (Valiz 2021), Lost and Living (in) Archives (Valiz 2017). Her monograph, Collecting and Conserving Net Art. Moving Beyond Conventional Methods (Routledge 2018), is a seminal work in the field of digital art conservation.
2:35 pm – 3:00 pm
Kelly McCauley Krish, Senior Preventive Conservator, National Museum Cardiff, UK
Risk assessment in cultural heritage has long used a framework based on the levels of control (ex. CCI-ICCROM “A Guide to Risk Management of Cultural Heritage”). Working from the object outwards, the enclosure or support, storage furniture, room, building, site, and region all represent opportunities to use policies, maintenance, passive and active means to reduce the risks of deterioration and loss to collections by avoiding, blocking, and reducing harmful agents to the extent possible, and detecting and responding where needed.
This talk demonstrates that the same framework can be useful for identifying opportunities that address and further both preservation and sustainability in the most effective way at any institution. Examples will be presented that draw from laboratory experiments, field tests at institutions, and published case studies to showcase: the effectiveness of enclosures in mitigating environmental extremes, particularly high relative humidity; the ability to implement energy-saving mechanical operation with no change or improvement to preservation; and heat and moisture load reduction on a building envelope.
The goal of this talk is to show that preservation of cultural heritage does not have to be at odds with becoming more sustainable as an institution: there are many activities at every level of control that further both quality preservation and sustainability goals. While not every action is feasible or desirable at every institution, the benefit of the framework is that it can be used to discuss where an institution can examine its practices and work towards enhancing its sustainable preservation actions.
For more than 35 years, the Image Permanence Institute (IPI) has conducted laboratory research to increase understanding of how to optimize preservation environments: that is, to achieve the best possible preservation of collections with the least possible consumption of energy. This research then informs IPI’s work at museums, libraries, and archives across the United States through +60 consulting projects and long-term educational programming.
Kelly McCauley Krish served as the Preventive Conservation Specialist at IPI for over six years, providing information and guidance on best practices for sustainable environmental management through outreach and consulting projects at a range of cultural institutions. She has recently accepted a position as Senior Preventive Conservator at the National Museum Cardiff, a part of Amgueddfa Cymru- Museum Wales. Kelly has a MSc in Art Conservation from the University of Delaware, and is a LEED Green Associate.
3:00 pm – 3:25 pm
Digital Preservation sustainably for sustainability
Dr. David Giaretta, Director, Giaretta Associates Ltd and PTAB Ltd, UK
Teo Redondo, CTO and Head of Research & Development, LIBNOVA, Spain
Ahmed Asim, Local Consultant, National Archives of Maldives
Every day, every nation’s government, commerce, legal, social and cultural activities create vast amounts of digitally encoded information. Much is of transitory interest, but a very large amount must be preserved for re-use. Societies could not function without being able to reuse such information; much simply needs to be printed or displayed, but increasing amounts must be used in complex software, for example for financial planning purposes or computer aided design.
This paper will describe how the vast amounts of digitally encoded information can be preserved in a way which does not just ensure the bits are unchanged but also in a way which ensures that it can continue to be used in the way required.
But computers and disks require energy which may generate Green House Gases (GHG). The system we describe allows one to monitor and control the amount of GHGs which are being used, to ensure preservation is being done sustainably.
As time passes things change, and Climate Change, largely caused by GHGs, is raising sea levels. The response of governments will determine by how large this rise will be. Many coastal towns and cities will be flooded. More importantly many island states could be completely submerged.
We will describe how digital preservation can preserve the information which describes and is vital for each one of these island states, as well as its geography and culturally important landmarks, songs, dances and languages. This information will be vital to re-build and sustain such societies in the worst-case scenario.
Through his extensive work, experience and knowledge, David Giaretta has led developments of standards in digital preservation (ISO 14721), in particular audit and certification of repositories (ISO 16363 and 16919). From these he developed practical and coherent solutions and services that will help repositories seeking ISO certification while adding value to their holdings. His organisation, PTAB, provides ISO16363 certification in a process of continuous improvement to ensure that repositories’ valuable information remains safe and usable.
Teo Redondo is the CTO and Head of Research & Development at LIBNOVA, where he leads several innovation projects about Digital Preservation solutions for Libraries, Archives and Museums, and Research institutions, and also leads LIBNOVA Research Labs for the areas of future functionalities, most around implementing Artificial Intelligence techniques for better handling of research data and content.
The National Archives of Maldives (NAM), since its inception eleven years ago, has being reliant on traditional records management to handle and preseve records produced by the government and state institutions. Ahmed Asim recently started his work at the NAM as a local consultant to propose a plan and implement a modern digital archival repository for its advancement. Coming from a business and education background Ahmed Asim has been working in the higher education sector for more than 20 years.
SESSION 3B: 2:10 pm – 3:40 pm (inclusive of Q&A)
2:10 pm – 2:35 pm
FLOOD DISASTER: WE CARE, WE RESCUE
Muhd Syazreen Bin Suhaili, Archivist Officer, National Archives of Malaysia
Archival materials are vulnerable to many disaster forces ranging from unthoughtful negligence, cyber security threat to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and landslides. A disaster is an event that will cause loss of life, property, records as well as disrupt and impair the business operations or activities of an organization. Climate change impact on archival materials is one of the global issues discussed at large. Located in tropical region, Malaysia experience monsoon seasons which brings along heavy rainfall almost throughout the year. Flood occurs periodically in Malaysia and affected many official records and documents in latest massive floods that hit the country on 18 and 19 December 2021. Due to the negative impact of floods, National Archives of Malaysia (NAM) has a vital responsibility in proactively ensuring all records are protected from the threat of floods. Disaster management under NAM involves four phases which consist of prevention/mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. These are the crucial factors that determine readiness and call for action by the government agencies to face the aftermath. The guide from NAM’s Records Disaster Action Plan, usage of technology and latest Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for managing flood disaster have been effectively applied by NAM’s Disaster Response Team (DRT) to assist the affected agencies. By sharing the DRT’s skills particularly on conservation of records through consultation and hands on program, it helps to educate and improve their flood management knowledge. Indeed, the awareness and readiness of government agencies in facing the flood disaster are keenly important to control and minimize damage of the records.
Muhd Syazreen Bin Suhaili graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah in Bachelor of Social Science with Honours (History). He started with the National Archives of Malaysia (NAM) in 2021 and is currently serving as an Archive Officer at the Conservation and Reprography Section. Responsible to identify affected government records by disasters that can be rescued and recovered in accordance with appropriate procedures. Involved in the operation to save government records affected by flood disaster especially at the end of 2021. A total of 70 government agencies in Klang Valley, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang were affected by the floods and the records were successfully carried out by the Record Disaster Response Team. Involved in providing advisory services on early actions in rescuing records affected by disasters, especially for government agencies. Also involved in meetings and studies to ensure the existing action plan to save disaster records is always efficient and effective.
2:35 pm – 3:00 pm
The Drowned and the Saved: Archives during the 1966 flood of Florence and their Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP)
Elena Gonnelli, PhD student, University of Florence, Italy
Lorenzo Sergi, PhD student, University of Cagliari, Italy
In 1966 the flood of Florence was one of the most catastrophic events for Italian cultural heritage: the Arno River inundated the city, submerging everything under six meters in height. A great deal of cultural properties - for our case archives and books - was buried by several cubic meters of torrential water, mud and substances that the river collected on its way. News of this event went around the world, prompting several people to offer their support to help the city and its cultural heritage. Such heroic volunteers are still remembered as the “mud angels”.
This proposal aims not only to give an historical context for reference, but also to analyze the archival procedures that were put in place before, during and after the disaster. Aspects that today constitute an important area for the discipline, giving correct directions for the maintenance and administration of archival preservation buildings. For this reason, the example of two case studies (the State Archives of Florence and the Historical Archives of the University of Florence) will allow us to reflect on the preventive interventions adopted or to be adopted, the methods of recovery, and the procedures for the restoration of documentation.
Looking at past experience will help build a stronger foundation for the future. Appropriate planning and prevention activities could constitute a new chapter in the relationship between man and the environment. Building on the examples of the past, it is desirable to reflect on the tenuous balance between geographical context and cultural preservation.
Elena Gonnelli. PhD student in Archival Studies at the University of Florence. After a first second degree in Modern Literature at Alma Mater of Bologna, she obtained a second one in Archival Science, continuing her education with a diploma from the school of Archival, Paleography and Diplomatics (State Archives of Florence). She has worked within public and private archives as a freelancer, participated in local, national and international research projects. She has published inventories such as Arte e artigianato. L’Archivio della Manifattura Chini. Introduzione - Inventario, Lucca, Civita Editoriale, 2020 and L’Archivio di Gianfranco Bartolini. Riordino e inventario, Florence, Edizioni dell’Assemblea - Consiglio Regione Toscana, 2018; he has also written several articles related to authorship archives, political archives, and business archives.
Lorenzo Sergi is a PhD student at the University of Cagliari and has done a period abroad as a visiting researcher at the Universitat de Barcelona. From 2016 onwards he completed a master’s degree in archival sciences and a two-year second level master’s degree in contemporary archiving. He also obtained a certificate from the School of Archival, Palaeography and Diplomatics at the State Archive of Florence. He has been a research fellow at the Historical Archives of the University of Florence and has participated in several other projects. His research interests mainly concern documentation of the 19th and 20th centuries, mainly university, municipal, ecclesiastical and private archives. On these topics he has published monographs and contributions in books, journals and conference proceedings.
3:00 pm – 3:25 pm
Sustainability and Conservation Are One and The Same. Caring for Your Archives Without Costing the Earth*
Lorraine Finch, Director, LFCP, UK
Sustainability and Conservation Are One and the Same will start with an explanation of why preservation and sustainability are two sides of the same coin. It will demonstrate this by outlining how archives have been impacted by climate change, using examples of climate affected archives from across the globe and by discussing the role archives play in the climate and environmental crises both as progenitors of and resolvers of the crises. Sustainability and Conservation Are One and the Same will review the results of survey of sustainability action in cultural heritage. The survey, carried out by LFCP in 2022, aimed to discover what was preventing cultural heritage professionals from taking sustainability actions and what they need in order to implement sustainability actions in their archive.
The results will be reviewed and discussed.
The majority of Sustainability and Conservation Are One and The Same will be focussed on providing low cost/no cost tips and hacks that everyone can put into action in their archive.
The tips and hacks will cover:
· Equipment and Material
· In the studio, in the office and in the archive
· Travel and Transport
· Inspiring others
The tips and hacks are simple, clear and easy to follow; they can be taken straight away, and will have an immediate effect. All those attending will leave with a hoard of tips and hacks to improve the sustainability of their archive and so reduce its impact on the climate and the environment.
Lorraine has been described as a ‘hippy tree hugger’. She’s this plus an activist, social entrepreneur and accredited conservator. She is founder and director of LFCP, which is accelerating the cultural heritage sector’s climate and environmental actions through research, knowledge sharing and resource creation.
Lorraine is a sustainability advisor in cultural heritage. As Director and founder of LFCP, she provides remote and onsite consultation, training opportunities and mentoring to organisations and individuals to help them work sustainably and to help them meet their sustainability goals.
Lorraine is a Director and Trustee of the Institute of Conservation [Icon]. She is co-founder and Chair of the Icon Environmental Sustainability Network.
SESSION 4A: 3:50 pm – 4:55 pm (inclusive of Q&A)
3:50 pm – 4:15 pm
A Conflict of Duty: Preservation and Environmental Sustainability
Georgina Robinson, Archivist, Eton College, UK
In 2020, I conducted research into Climate Action in UK archives. For this study, a survey was distributed to information professionals that asked for opinions about professional duty to environmental sustainability and actions taken in response to climate change.
This talk would detail my research into climate action, including literature reviewed, duty to the environment, climate action and barriers to action, as published in the Records Management Journal, here: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/RMJ-10-2020-0036/full/html
The majority of those surveyed felt they had a strong duty to the environment. Few, however, had been able to translate this into sector-specific climate action. There were a number of barriers to action identified including financial cost, corporate apathy, lack of training/knowledge in this area and lack of support from sector leads.
From this study there also arose a contradiction. A changing climate poses many threats to archival records. Therefore, a duty to the environment underpins our overarching duty to preservation and the security of records. However, some surveyed felt that by acting on this duty to the environment, we may undermine our duty to preservation. For example, if we were to turn off air conditioning in a storeroom because of its impact on the environment through energy consumption, we would change the temperature in the storeroom and may cause damage to the records. From this comes the title of this proposal, ‘A Conflict of Duty’.
Georgina Robinson is an archivist at Eton College Archives and Chair of the ARA Environmental Sustainability Group. She is interested in the intersection between records and the environment and wrote her MA dissertation on attitudes and efforts to implement climate action by UK information professionals in 2020, which was adapted for publication in the Records Management Journal in a special issue on records management in the Anthropocene issue 3, 2021).
4:15 pm – 4:40 pm
The UK and Ireland’s ARA Environmental Sustainability Group
Amy Cawood, Secretary, Group Secretary, ARA Environmental Sustainability Group
In April 2022, the ARA Environmental Sustainability Group was formed by the UK and Ireland’s Archive and Record Association (ARA). The ARA believes that the information professional has a duty to minimise the adverse effects of their work on the environment. The purpose of this new group is to advocate for environmental sustainability in the record-keeping sector and to provide the tools and resources to help members of the ARA enact their professional duty to the environment.
The main aims of the group relate to four areas: research, training, advocacy and collaboration. Although this group mainly aims to provide practical advice, training and resources, there will be scope for original research in the following areas:
a) To research the environmental impact of analogue and digital record-keeping practices and how negative impacts can be mitigated.
b) To research responding to environmental changes and disaster planning.
c) The group also aims to identify and provide resources on the best means of communicating the significance of environmental sustainability and climate action to both external and internal stakeholders, including senior management.
The proposed topic for the SARBICA International Symposium will feature research currently engaged in by the group in one of these areas of research and their plans for the future.
Amy Cawood is Corporate Records Manager at the National Health Service (NHS) Forth Valley based in Larbert, Scotland. Amy is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Public Records (Scotland) Act and advising on the management of NHS records throughout their lifecycle, until destruction or transfer to archive. She is an active member of the NHS National Records Management Forum and completed her MSc in Records Management and Digital Preservation in 2016. She has worked in a wide range of sectors: university libraries, special collections and in the Civil Service as an Information Assurance Officer. Through her varied experience she has seen that there is a rapidly increasing awareness of our role as custodians of records and archives and the potential impact of what we do on the environment. Amy is therefore keen to understand more about my personal and professional role in sustainability and the environment and believes that there is no better way than participation in the new ARA Environmental Sustainability Group.
SESSION 4B: 3:50 pm – 4:55 pm (inclusive of Q&A)
3:50 pm – 4:15 pm
Powering Green and Sustainable Development in Libraries
Priscilla Pun, Head of Technical Service of the University Library, University of Macau
IFLA ENSULIB’s aim is to encourage librarians to inspire their communities into a more environmentally sustainable way of action, by providing materials on green librarianship, giving voice to green librarians and library projects worldwide, leading by example, and offering a discussion forum. ENSULIB has published an updated definition of a “green library”, which is a library taking into account environmental, economic and social sustainability. Green and sustainable libraries may be of any size, but they should have a clear sustainability agenda, which includes green buildings and equipment, green office principles, sustainable economy, sustainable library services, social sustainability, environmental management and commitment to general environmental goals and programs. IFLA Green Library Award initiated in 2016 by ENSULIB helps increase awareness and encourage the activities and communication of green libraries globally. The winners and runners-ups in the past years serve as benchmarks for developing and enhancing green library initiatives locally, regionally and worldwide. They inspire other libraries in different contexts, culture and limitations. Award evaluation criteria was published and can also be used as guidance. By following the criteria, libraries can understand more about the principles used to develop the best green and sustainable library. The green library checklists, toolkits and calculators assist libraries in validating the efforts done for the sustainability goals. The IFLA ENSULIB Newsletter, published twice a year, provides a platform for presenting recent interesting stories, events or projects from libraries all over the world, which follow a clear green and sustainable commitment.
Priscilla Pun is the Head of Technical Process Unit of the University of Macau Library, Macao, China. She holds a master’s degree in business administration. Her areas of expertise include collection development, metadata management, information literacy and research support services. She is the Chief Supervisor of the Macao Library and Information Management Association, Executive Member of Macau Documentation and Information Society, and Member of the Information Literacy Professional Committee of Library Society of China. She has been serving for IFLA since 2018 and is currently the Information Coordinator of Environment, Sustainability and Libraries Section of IFLA.
4:15 pm – 4:40 pm
Inspire, engage, enable, connect
Harri Sahavirta, IFLA ENSULIB Chair / Chief Librarian, Helsinki City Library
IFLA’s keywords are “inspire, engage, enable and connect” but IFLA also emphasizes that sustainability is libraries’ business. Sustainability has become an essential part of IFLA’s mission. Libraries are seen as exemplars, educators, and enablers which promote sustainability in their own communities.
UN’s Sustainable Development Goals take a broader approach to sustainability which includes economic, social, and environmental aspects. This enforces libraries to reconsider what sustainability means in library framework – and this not always clear.
ENSULIB was established in 2009 when the topic was not as central. For ten years ENSULIB has promoted sustainability, published books, and launched IFLA Green Library Award. These activities have been in accordance with the present IFLA theme “inspire, engage, enable and connect” as well as SDGs.
ENSULIB, like the library field, are facing challenges. The concept of sustainability has broadened. Originally, Green library movement was established by architects who were interested in library buildings, but the present conception is much wider:
• Sustainability is not restricted to environmental sustainability, but also economic and social aspects are relevant.
• Sustainability is not only about library buildings, but must penetrate all activities, including collections and services.
• SDGs introduce new perspectives and libraries should consider how they contribute to goals, like Good Health and Wellbeing, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Reduced Inequalities, Responsible Consumption and Production.
Consequently, libraries must interpret these objectives in the library framework – what do they mean to public or university libraries, in different parts of the world and cultures. The IFLA Green Library Award winners offer good examples how libraries have answered the challenge.
Harri Sahavirta, Helsinki City Library, Finland.
Ph.d. Harri Sahavirta is the chief librarian in Arabianranta and Vallila libraries, Helsinki City Library. He has served as project manager in many national projects, like ”Environmental Sustainability in Public Libraries to 2020s”, “Changing soundscapes of Public Libraries” and “Public libraries as promotors for adult reading”. He has also worked in environmental projects in Helsinki City Library. He has been active member of Environment, Sustainability and Libraries IFLA Special Interest Group (ENSULIB) since 2011 and was the convenor of the group 2015-2019 and secretary in 2020. He is the chair of the ENSULIB section 2021–2023.
Thursday, 17 November, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm(SINGAPORE TIME)
9:10 am – 10:05 am (inclusive of Q&A)
Where does the balance lie and are we there yet? Archival values versus saving the environment
Dr. Valerie Johnson
Director of Research and Collections, The National Archives, United Kingdom
With their collections, expertise, spaces and audiences, archives along with other heritage organisations are well placed to play a significant role in tackling climate change to achieve a sustainable future. Through implementing evidence-based changes in our thinking and practice, archives can and have been reducing their climate footprint and inspiring others to take action along the way. The National Archives of the United Kingdom has been doing this for over a decade. However, following the release of our Sustainability and Climate Action Statement and our joining of the Climate Heritage Network in 2020, we are stepping up our own work on environmental sustainability. In doing so, we support the UK Government’s sustainability targets to secure global net zero targets and keep 1.5°C within reach, whilst continuing our role in protecting, preserving and providing access to our collections.
In November 2021, we were delighted to announce our new partnership with the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property’s Our Collections Matter Initiative (ICCROM OCM.) Based around the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, this initiative has created a growing online toolkit of freely accessible resources to help cultural heritage organisations ‘to accelerate, increase, and amplify activities that support sustainable development, through the use, development, and conservation of heritage collections’.1 Through this partnership we are using resources from the toolkit to review the sustainability of aspects of our own conservation practice and feedback to ICCROM to help improve the toolkit for others.
We are also developing our own innovations. The environmental management of our 16 on-site repositories uses considerable resources to keep to our target conditions. We continue to use the pioneering demand-led environmental management strategy that we developed and implemented in 2010 to replace the 24/7 air conditioning operation. Along with our continued strategic investments in our plant in which sustainability is a key factor, this ground breaking work has reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by over 80% since 2010 and has been instrumental in the development of new standards that have encouraged energy-saving collections management across the sector and worldwide.
In addition to our own operations, we lead the archive sector in England and are increasingly aware of a growing appetite for leadership innovation on environmental sustainability for archives of all kinds. Last year, we hosted a twoday, climate action focussed event for the first time – ‘Archives supporting environmental sustainability’ – which was received with real appetite and enthusiasm. And in June this year, we launched our first sustainability-themed round of Testbed Funding to support archives in England in using ICCROM’s Our Collections Matter toolkit to address their sustainability challenges.
As our event in 2021 showcased, excellent work is already being done in the sector. Nonetheless, serious challenges and contradictions remain in fundamental areas of our operations. These must be addressed in order for us to achieve a sustainable future. This keynote speech will discuss how finding our way through these challenges requires a collective international response from organisations and individuals, as well as a pooling of expertise and resources, and re-evaluating our ways of working and thinking as a sector. Fundamentally, sustainability has to become part of everyone’s role and responsibility to make the progress that we need to avert the worst that climate change can bring. With this in mind, The National Archives of the United Kingdom is working to strategically embed sustainable practices across all our operations, whilst also influencing the sector. In doing so we hope to provide both the means and inspiration for others so that together, we can create a sustainable future in which archives remain key assets to a thriving society.
As Director of Research and Collections at The National Archives, Dr Valerie Johnson is responsible for leading and co-ordinating its innovative research, heritage science and conservation programmes. She aims to further The National Archives’ engagement and collaboration with researchers across the cultural heritage, higher education, academic and archive sectors.
As part of its leadership role for the archive sector, Valerie is also responsible for The National Archives’ active support for archives of all kinds, to secure the best possible long-term future for their collections and services.
Prior to this role, Valerie was Head of Research at The National Archives, having previously worked on a funded history project based at the University of Cambridge History Faculty. She is a qualified archivist, holding an MA with Distinction in Archive Administration for which she was also awarded the Alexander R Myers Memorial Prize. She won the Coleman Prize for her PhD thesis, ‘British Multinationals, Culture and Empire in the Early Twentieth Century’. She has worked as an archivist and historian in the academic, corporate and public sectors.
Valerie is a Registered Member of the Society of Archivists, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
SESSION 5A: 10:15 am – 11:45 am (inclusive of Q&A)
10:15 am – 10:40 am
Sustainability Principles applied on Archivistic Practice
Roberto Ricardo Carlos Grosse Junior, Manager of the Archive Preservation and Conservation Service, Senate of Brasil
Brazil is a global standard regarding the use of renewable energy sources. The country has one of the cleanest energy mixes in the world. The Federal Senate, as one of the pillars of the Brazilian Legislative Branch, is a body traditionally committed to the best practices and administrative management, among which the adoption of sustainability principles stands out.
In 2016, the Senate drafted a Charter of Commitments in which it commits to perform its activities within the sustainability principles, document preservation, and information transparency.
As far as the Archive Coordination is concerned, several measures have been adopted and implemented over recent years regarding document preservation. The Senate has deployed the ICA-ATOM as a repository of documents and research channel. Thousands of documents have been digitalized and are available on the web without the need to access the originals, which provides greater durability to the medium.
The computerized conduct of proceedings (electronic document management system) was also implemented in the whole Senate, which means a decrease of approximately 90% in the production of paper-based documents. The Federal Senate has its own digital certification, and each civil servant has their own digital signature, which guarantees the authenticity and reliability of documents.
The process of document elimination and disposal is another action that associates very well the concepts of document preservation and sustainability. After the legal and administrative retention period is over, the documents must be eliminated to make room for new ones. After the legal proceedings, all paper-based documents are shredded and properly recycled. The resulting material is sold, thus generating income, reusing the paper medium, and minimizing environmental impact.
These and other actions make the Federal Senate a standard in the so-called “green practices”, by means of the continuous association of good public management with the sustainability principles.
Roberto Ricardo Carlos Grosse Junior is an Archivist with the Senate of Brazil and an Environmental Management Specialist. He is responsible for Archive Conservation and Preservation Service, and the Restorers’ team. He is studying for a Master in Ecology degree.
10:40 am – 11:05 am
A Green Inquiry on the Records Disposition Program for Public Records in the Philippines
Martin Julius V. Perez, Communications and Records Officer (Attache), Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of the Philippines
Andrea Denise Gapan, College Librarian I, University of the Philippines School of Economics
As we draw near 2030, UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are still vital to our next steps in securing a better future for all. Our fight for Sustainable Cities and Communities (Goal 11) and Climate Action (Goal 13), directs a concerted effort into creating better decisions and policy making. With changing times come changing needs, our environment is now in its desperate call for care. This presentation intends to identify and to pose an inquiry on the sustainable and green practices on records management in the public sector in the Philippines, particularly that of the records disposition program.
Records disposition program in the Philippine government is governed by Republic Act No. 9470 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), and overseen by the National Archives of the Philippines. These cover the national government agencies to local government units and even embassies and consulates abroad. This presentation will look into the analysis of policies and guidelines on this records disposition program and provide insights in these practices and to guide for their further environmental sustainability practices.
MARTIN JULIUS V. PEREZ is a communications and records officer (attache) of one of the embassies of the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), wherein he has been involved in records and archives management in the agency since 2014. He is also a part-time lecturer on archives and records management in the UP School of Library and Information Studies. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in LIS (magna cum laude) in 2011, and is currently working to finish his master’s degree in LIS at the UP SLIS. Martin is a licensed librarian, and formerly worked for the Sto. Domingo Convent Archives and Library, the Far Eastern University Library, Carlos P. Romulo Library of the Foreign Service Institute, and the DFA Archives.
ANDREA DENISE GAPAN is a college librarian at the UP School of Economics Library. Her research work and interests revolve around archives and records management, and their relationship with people, culture, and history. She graduated with a Bachelor of Library and Information Science degree from the UP School of Library and Information Studies, where she is currently trying to finish her masters. She worked as a graduate school librarian at CEU Manila, and eventually, as Librarian I at the University Archives, UP Diliman.
11:05 am – 11:30 am
INTENDENCIA BUILDING: HERITAGE BUILDING AS SUSTAINABLE HERITAGE
VICTORINO MAPA MANALO, CESE, Executive Director, National Archives of the Philippines
The concept of sustainability refers to the ability to meet our needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This concept usually applies to the use of limited natural resources which are gradually depleting due to wasteful use.
In this paper, the concept of sustainable heritage is presented. This is illustrated by the restoration and conservation of the Intendencia Building in Intramuros, Manila, Philippines as the permanent home of the National Archives of the Philippines (NAP).
The main ideas presented in this paper include:
1. The concept of records continuum as sustainable. The continuity of records management to archiving is symbolic of the sustainability aspect of heritage. It can be seen that a cycle is observed in handling records. The said cycle represents sustainability. Business operations run smoothly when the cycle is followed, but may cause adverse effects when breached.
2. The restoration and conservation of the Intendencia Building is symbolic of sustainable heritage. The adaptive reuse of the building presents a sense of humility, i.e. evidence-based design, nothing extravagant was incorporated. The building also has specific features which are deemed sustainable i.e. materials recovery facility, rainwater harvesting facility, open courtyard design.
VICTORINO MAPA MANALO, has been the Executive Director of the National Archives of the Philippines since 2011. As Executive Director, he is also a member of the Board of Commissioners of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts as well as the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
He holds a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University, and a Post Graduate Certificate for Archival Studies from Hongkong University.
In December of 2013, he was the topnotcher for the Career Executive Service (CES) Eligibility examination administered by the Career Executive Service Board.
He is former Assistant Corporate Secretary of the Metrobank Foundation as well as Museum Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila and Cultural Center of the Philippines.
He also worked with private organizations such as the United Nations Education Culture and Science Organization (UNESCO), where he reviewed and assessed museum programs, and developed and managed workshops on Education for Sustainable Development in Korea, China and Mongolia. He developed exhibits, tours and programs for a community museum in Dauis parish in Bohol province.
He is a writer who has won national prizes like the Don Carlos Palanca Award for Literature.
SESSION 5B: 10:15 am – 11:20 am (inclusive of Q&A)
10:15 am – 10:40 am
Opportunities for improving sustainable practices and preservation at the Alexander Turnbull Library, New Zealand
Dr. Vesna Živković, Senior Conservator - Preventive Conservation, National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Laura Van Echten, Conservation Technician, Alexander Turnbull Library, New Zealand
The Alexander Turnbull Library’s collection stores are maintained at stringent temperature and humidity levels as an obligation to preserve the collections in perpetuity. As a consequence of upholding these conditions, the mechanical systems for climate control in the stores consume around 80% of the total energy used in the National Library building.
Better understanding of the environmental impact on collection materials and decay has led to more nuanced approaches to environmental management, involving collaboration and planning based on the principles of risk management. Moreover, it was recognised that there are opportunities to optimise the operations of the mechanical systems to lower energy consumption and costs.
In response to a shift towards more sustainable environmental management, ATL established the Environmental Management Team (EMT) with the aim to institute and maintain a strategic approach to sustainable energy use while ensuring the long-term preservation of collections. The Team includes representatives from Collection Care, Property Services, the Sustainability Working Group, as well as engineering and building consultants. This cross-team collaboration allows research, communication and the sharing of expertise to make decisions on testing and implementation of practical, energy-saving strategies. Furthermore, it gives perspective on how this initiative fits in the broader outlook on sustainable development within Aotearoa New Zealand.
This paper will focus on the activities of ATL’s EMT on implementing changes to managing its collection environments. These changes include mechanical systems shutdowns, adjusting seasonal set points for temperature and relative humidity, reducing the introduced fresh air and adjusting fan speeds in collection stores.
Vesna is a preventive conservator and risk management professional, at present working in the National Library of New Zealand as Senior Conservator - Preventive Conservation. She is a subject matter expert on preventive systems and processes used for collections preservation and provides advice on the development of preservation policy and strategy for Alexander Turnbull Library collections.
Before joining ATL Vesna worked at the National Museum, Belgrade, as curator for preventive conservation. She was also responsible for the Centre for the Preventive Conservation in the Central Institute for Conservation in Belgrade and has been instrumental in developing preventive conservation services and activities in Serbia.
Laura Van Echten is currently working as a Conservation Technician in the Preventive Conservation Team of the Alexander Turnbull Library. She recently completed her Masters in Preventive Conservation from the University of Northumbria. She was drawn to conservation through two archaeology degrees and previous positions at Archives New Zealand and the National Library. Her work is focused on collection protection in storage, but she is branching out into environmental management and using risk-based approaches to address issues in conservation.
10:40 am – 11:05 am
Exploring the use of a value-based approach to implement a more sustainable strategy for storing and displaying the National Collection at the Heritage Conservation Centre (HCC) in Singapore
Christel Pesme, Chief Conservator, Heritage Conservation Centre, National Heritage Board, Singapore
Miki Komatsu, Head of the Textile Conservation Section, Heritage Conservation Centre, National Heritage Board, Singapore
The Heritage Conservation Centre (HCC) is an institution of the National Heritage Board (NHB), Singapore: it is the repository and conservation facility for the management and preservation of the National Collection. The paper presents how HCC is exploring the use of a value-based method to implement a more sustainable storing and display strategy of the National Collection, especially considering the challenging regional climatic conditions. The model used in which five ‘pillars’ -social, societal, operational, environmental, and economic- are considered to assess the sustainability of a decision related to collection care will first be presented (Saunders 2022).
Defining an item’s Collection lifespan according to its `Collection Value’ is the cornerstone of the value-based proposed method. The system implemented within NHB since 2011 to classify the National Collection will be presented along with the derived care decision framework. How this existing frame could be used to generate categories of ‘Value at Risk’ specific to each agent of deterioration will be discussed. To illustrate the approach, it will be described how material evidence obtained by assessing the specific dose-response functions of an item can be used to define a set of lighting conditions on one end and of environmental conditions on the other according to item’s ‘Value at Risk’ to light and to incorrect environmental conditions, respectively. It will be finally presented how these results can be used to ensure a careful yet more sustainable storing and display of the National Collection and the method adjusted to any institution caring for a collection.
Christel Pesme is Chief Conservator/ Deputy Director (Conservation Service) at the Heritage Conservation Centre (HCC), part of the National Heritage Board of Singapore. Christel graduated from the Master program in conservation of works on paper at the University of Paris 1-Panteon-Sorbonne in Paris. She worked at the GCI’s Preventive Conservation Science Group from 2008 to 2012 in the team of Jim Druzik. She has since lectured extensively on the use of Microfadometry to formulate more sustainable display recommendations by integrating an evaluation of the item’s cultural values in the risk assessment framework. Prior to her current position, she has held the position of Senior Conservator at M+ Museum in Hong Kong. For the last couple of years, she has focused her efforts on developing practical ways to implement more sustainable practices of collection use and care, especially in hot and humid climates.
Miki Komatsu joined HCC in 2008 and has headed the Textile Conservation Section since 2010. She graduated with a MA in Textile Conservation from the Textile Conservation Centre at the University of Southampton, UK. She also obtained a MA in Apparel Science Study from the Kyoritsu Women’s University, Japan. She was the textile conservator-in-charge for several special exhibitions and revamps including Pattern of Trade: Indian textiles for export, 1400-1900 held at the Asian Civilizations Museum (ACM), the inaugural of Indian Heritage Centre, and the ACM permanent gallery revamp. Her research interests are fibres and dyes, using technical analysis to identify dyes used in historical textiles, and microfadometry.
SESSION 6A: 11:55 am – 1:25 pm (inclusive of Q&A)
11:55 am – 12:20 pm
Greening of Singapore
Lim Tin Seng, Senior Librarian, National Library of Singapore
This paper examines the greening of urban Singapore over the course of about 150 years. Contrary to the narrative in existing literature, it argues that the greening of the island’s urban landscape did not begin after the Garden City vision was introduced in 1967. Rather it started during the colonial period when the municipality was not only systematically planting different varieties of roadside trees for shade and aesthetics, but also creating open spaces for recreational activities. After independence, the greening of urban Singapore received a significant stimulus after it became a matter of public policy following the launch of the Garden City vision. During the initial stage, large-scale roadside tree planting was carried out using “instant trees”. This was followed by the creation of parks from the mid-1970s in order to meet the recreational needs of an increasingly affluent society. By the end of the first decade of the new millennium, Singapore had at least one million trees and over 300 parks, prompting the country to launch the “City in a Garden” campaign followed by today’s “City in Nature” vision.
Lim Tin Seng is a Senior Librarian at the National Library of Singapore. He works with the Singapore and Southeast Asian Collection, specialising in the urban transformation and environmental history of Singapore. He writes regularly for BiblioAsia and is the co-editor of Roots: Tracing Family Histories – A Resource Guide (2013), Harmony and Development: ASEAN-China Relations (2009) and China’s New Social Policy: Initiatives for a Harmonious Society (2010).
12:20 pm – 12:45 pm
Mapping Sea-Level Change in Time and Space
Prof. Benjamin P. Horton, Director, Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University
Future sea-level rise generates hazards for coastal populations, economies, infrastructure, and ecosystems around the world. Its projection relies on an accurate understanding of the mechanisms driving its complex spatio-temporal evolution, which must be founded on an understanding of their history. We review the current methodologies and data sources used to reconstruct the history of sea-level change over geological (Pliocene, Last Interglacial, and Holocene) and instrumental (tide-gauge and satellite altimetry) eras, and the tools used to project the future spatial and temporal evolution of sea level. We summarize the understanding of the future evolution of sea level over the near (through 2050), medium (2100), and long (post-2100) terms. Using case studies from Singapore, we illustrate the ways in which current methodologies and historical data sources can constrain future projections, and how accurate projections can motivate the development of new sea-level research questions across relevant timescales.
Professor Benjamin Horton is Director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore and a Professor in Earth Science at the Asian School of the Environment in Nanyang Technological University (NTU). He has been appointed the AXA-Nanyang Professor in Natural Hazards.
Prior to joining NTU, Professor Horton was Professor in Marine Science at Rutgers University and Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Horton obtained his BA with honors from the University of Liverpool, UK, and PhD from the University of Durham, UK.
Professor Horton has won a number of awards in his career. In 2019, he was appointed the President’s Chair in Earth Sciences at NTU for outstanding achievement. For excellence in research he received the Plinius Medal from the European Geosciences Union, the Voyager Award from the American Geophysical Union, and the W. Storrs Cole Award from the Geological Society of America. He was elected Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union.
Professor Horton actively contributed to the COP26 conference: he led the COP26 report on managing disaster risks from natural hazards in ASEAN. He was also appointed Mentor for the Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort to guide a group of researchers working towards solutions for climate-vulnerable communities in the lead-up to COP26. He is a Review Editor for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Assessment Report and was an author of the 5th Assessment Report. Professor Horton’s research was cited by President Obama in his 2015 State of the Union Address at the United States Capitol on January 20th 2015.
Professor Horton has published over 230 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including 30 articles in high profile journals such as Science, Nature, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Professor Horton is supervising or has supervised 27 students to the degree of PhD and 23 postdoctoral scientists, of which 17 now have permanent academic positions. His H-index is >70 and he has >15,000 citations. Professor Horton has been awarded $20 million in research funding.
Professor Horton’s research concerns sea-level change, with the aim of understanding and integrating the external and internal mechanisms that have determined sea-level changes in the past, and which will shape such changes in the future. His research impacts upon important ecological, ethical, social, economic and political problems specifically facing coastal regions.
12:45 pm – 1:10 pm
Pigs & Fishes in the Archives: Observations & Opportunities from Researching Singapore’s Recent Agricultural Past
Choo Ruizhi, Senior Analyst, National Security Studies Programme, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
While the implications of the global climate crisis are indeed sobering, renewed public and institutional interest in environmental issues such as sustainability and climate-resilience presents historical researchers with new opportunities to tell important, previously-overlooked stories from the archives. Historical research into Singapore’s post-independence experiences has traditionally focused on the political and socioeconomic dimensions of the nation’s development. In recent years, however, growing public interest in environmental issues such as natural heritage, sustainable development, and climate change has been matched by a corresponding growth in exhibitions, festivals, and lectures with environmentally-related themes, organised by local memory institutions such as the National Library Board and the National Heritage Board. The COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian-Ukraine war have also rekindled long-running anxieties around issues of food security and resource-resilience. These interesting times represent opportunities for historians, archivists, and other allied professions to contemplate how they can contribute to such contemporary discourses. In this presentation, I share my experiences as a historical researcher at a local think-tank, working at the intersections between Singapore’s environmental past and present policymaking. By sharing my experiences conducting archival research into the histories of pig farming and marine fisheries in Singapore for public service audiences, I reflect on the challenges and opportunities of rendering archival research relevant and meaningful to government stakeholders primarily concerned with contemporary issues such as environmental sustainability, food security, and climate-resilience.
Choo Ruizhi is a Senior Analyst at National Security Studies Programme in the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He holds a Master of Arts (History) from the National University of Singapore. His research interests include the environmental histories of Singapore and Malaya in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Presently, he is conducting research on the porcine and piscine aspects of Singapore’s post-independence agricultural histories.
SESSION 6B: 11:30 am – 1:00 pm (inclusive of Q&A)
Land, Air, and Water: an Environmental History Perspective on Archival Research
This panel brings together three historians of the environment, each with an interest in Singaporean and Southeast Asian history. Through a close lens into some of their latest work, they explore the sources available for doing environmental history in Singapore, along with some of their methodological and resource-based challenges.
A Nineteenth-Century Environmental Crisis and the Archives in Singapore
Dr. Timothy P. Barnard, Associate Professor, National University of Singapore
As colonialism became ensconced in Singapore after 1819, the landscape and society transformed to fit the needs of an expanding imperial power. One of the primary outcomes of these developments was the expansion of cash crop cultivation until it encompassed the entire island within a few decades. This resulted in massive deforestation and a variety of problems, many of them related to the water supply. To counter these developments, colonial officials would solve a problem they had created through tree-planting programs to reforest the interior as well as the development of a much-needed water reservoir. This presentation will discuss how deforestation and a subsequent environmental crisis played a role in the creation of a modern, imperial city and how records of these developments are present and – at times – hidden in the archives as historians work to understand the dynamics of a British trade port in Southeast Asia in the nineteenth century.
11:55 am-12:20 pm
El Niño and the human-environment nexus: drought and vulnerability in Singapore 1877-1911
Dr. Fiona Williamson, Associate Professor, Singapore Management University
In 1877, 1902, and in 1911, Singapore and much of the world were hit by record droughts. The events were not as serious here as in other parts of the world yet, they revealed stark social vulnerabilities and a lack of preparedness for water shortages. Records from Singapore can help tell the story of the droughts from social and governance perspectives, showing how water supply was inadequate for the growing population, despite investment in engineering and infrastructure. However, the sources also help us to understand the droughts from a climatological perspective. Each of the years 1877, 1902 and 1911 have been identified by scientists as strong El Niño events globally, most likely part of protracted episodes which tend to have stronger impacts than ‘classical’ El Niño event. This paper seeks to explore how the historic record can help make sense of the meteorological record, to gain a holistic understanding of risk, resilience, vulnerability and extreme weather.
12:20 pm-12:45 pm
The hungry city: A history of Singapore’s fish supply from ikan siakap to Asian seabass
Anthony D. Medrano, Assistant Professor, National University of Singapore (NUS) Presidential Young Professor of Environmental Studies at Yale-NUS College
From trade flows to cultural exchanges, historians have long explored how the seas, straits, and rivers of Singapore connected—if not also partly made—the world we know. Often drawing on primary sources and published records, this important scholarship has narrated Singapore’s watery past as urban and circulatory, revealing the industrial and itinerant ways in which an island port became a global city. In contrast, this paper finds and charts a different kind of water story anchored in the archives. It centers a history of ecological and economic life through Singapore’s evolving fish supply. More than any other animal protein, fish fed the island’s demographic transition from kampung to town, and from crown colony to city-state. In thinking with fish across physical collections and digital repositories, this paper recovers an environmental tale that speaks as much to changes in the land as it does to changes in the water. In doing so, it shows how the entanglement of species, mangroves, estuaries, reefs, migrants, and monsoons was central to provisioning the hungry city in the past and continues to be relevant to feeding Singapore in the present.
Timothy P. Barnard is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the National University of Singapore, where he specializes in the environmental and cultural history of island Southeast Asia. His most recent books are Nature’s Colony (2016) and Imperial Creatures (2019).
Fiona Williamson is Associate Professor in Environmental History at the College of Integrative Studies, Singapore Management University. She works on the environmental history of Malaysia and Singapore with a particular focus on the historic climate of Southeast Asia and East Asia. She has worked extensively on expanding the current record of historic climate observations for Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong, working with scientists from across the world. In so doing, she has developed a record of historic extremes – especially those related to precipitation - and has explored the relationship of flood and drought to natural climatic events, including the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). She also works on exploring the human-environment-climate nexus in creating nature-induced disasters through processes of risk, resilience, and vulnerability.
Anthony D. Medrano is the National University of Singapore (NUS) Presidential Young Professor of Environmental Studies at Yale-NUS College with a joint appointment in NUS’ Department of History. He’s also a Research Affiliate at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, a Research Associate at the Asia Research Institute, and PI of the MOE-funded (SSRTG) project titled “Linking the Digital Humanities to Biodiversity History in Singapore and Southeast Asia.” His teaching and scholarship focus on the histories and intersections of economic life and biodiversity change in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Most recently, he’s the editor of Lala Land: Singapore’s Seafood Heritage (Epigram Books, expected in 2023).
SESSION 7A: 2:00 pm – 3:55 pm (inclusive of Q&A)
2:00 pm – 2:25 pm
Finding the Balance: Hotter and Muggier; Older and Rarer
Dr. Koh Tieh Yong, Associate Professor, Singapore University of Social Sciences
Global climate change due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is well known. The air gets hotter and its moisture content rises over the next hundred years. In Singapore, we are already used to meeting the challenges of record preservation against high temperature and humidity. However, we might be less prepared for devastation by uncertain flash floods in a changing climate. Just imagine storm-water runoffs cascading down Fort Canning Hill next to National Archives Singapore.
Mitigation of climate change underscores disruption to our economy and society. SkillsFuture Singapore views the Digital, Green and Care economies as pillars of national development. Some see contradiction in a digital-and-green economy: data centres are notorious consumers of energy and incur huge carbon footprints. How do we balance greater demands for electronic access with greater pressure to reduce carbon emissions? Singapore has pledged towards carbon neutrality around 2050.
Digital data are convenient as one can conduct searches that are comprehensive and speedy. Earlier records of atmospheric parameters are stored on magnetic tapes, which are an analogue medium that is slow and cumbersome to access. As the data are needed for climate studies, we often transfer them onto solid-state data servers. Should that be the case for all historical records? Meteorologists even wish for old weather charts to be digitalised for easy reference on rare occasions. As these records are seldom accessed, the high carbon footprint of maintenance per use may not warrant archival on data servers. Likewise, some current-day records should be migrated out of servers.
Koh Tieh Yong graduated from Imperial College with First Class Honours in Physics in 1994 and obtained his PhD in Atmospheric Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2001. He was a Visiting Scientist with Ecole Polytéchnique at Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique and then a Research Scientist with Temasek Laboratories at National University of Singapore. In 2004, he became an Assistant Professor at School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Nanyang Technological University and later gained tenure as Associate Professor. In 2016, he moved to Singapore University of Social Sciences (known as SIM University then). He presently teaches Sustainability and conducts workshops on Weather and Climate Science.
Tieh Yong received Koh Boon Hwee Scholars Award three times in 2011-2012 for inspirational teaching and Nanyang Education Award 2013. He was one of three examiners in Asian Physics Olympiad 2014. He served in the 2019 Curriculum Review Committee for Pre-University Geography for Singapore Ministry of Education. In research, he was an expert reviewer for Fifth Assessment Report of Inter-governmental Panel for Climate Change (2013) and contributed to ASEAN State of Climate Change Report (2021). He currently co-chairs the Working Group for Asia-Australia Monsoon and is a member of Madden-Julian Oscillation Task Force, under World Meteorological Organization. He is also a secretary for Atmospheric Sciences section of Asia-Oceania Geosciences Society and an editor for “Scientific Online Letters on the Atmosphere”.
Tieh Yong is passionate about atmospheric dynamics, geophysical mixing, and Southeast Asian weather and climate. He applies his knowledge for sustainable development of society.
2:25 pm – 2:50 pm
Archival Advocacy in the Age of Climate Change: Evoking the Pathos of the Destruction of Recorded Knowledge
Dr. Benjamin Choo, Senior Lecturer, Singapore University of Social Sciences
Archives are vulnerable to the ravages of climate change. But it will be a challenge to galvanize public, policy, and political interest in the task of future-proofing archives against the effects of climate change. The problem is twofold. Firstly, archival research is an esoteric activity carried out by scholars and other specialists. The general public does not flock to archives for leisurely purposes. To make matters worse, many scholars have a purely extractive interest in archives. Most historians, for example, are not trained in the science of archival management. Secondly, climate change may be perceived by the general public as an abstract threat rather than an immediate and tangible one. Archival advocates of all stripes – academics, educators, archival workers, and officials – must therefore choose their words very carefully when peddling the cause of future-proofing archives against climate change. This paper recommends that they should mobilize motifs, stories, and historical incidents that possess psychological immediacy. They should aim to evoke the pathos and the obscenity of the vulnerability of recorded knowledge to the whims of nature as well as human depredations and negligence. The threat posed by climate change to archival records should be spoken of in the same breath as, among other examples, the popular image of the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, the destruction of the royal library in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, the damage inflicted on libraries by the 2002 European floods, and even politically motivated book burning.
Benjamin Choo obtained his PhD in history from the University of Cambridge in 2015. He specializes in international economic history. He is currently a senior lecturer at the Singapore University of Social Sciences. He previously taught history at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.
2:50 pm – 3:15 pm
Selection & Self-Preservation
Mia Lee, Senior Lecturer, Singapore University of Social Sciences
It is important that we remember that historians are partial arbiters of the past. This reminder seems particularly salient with the increasing storage capacity seemingly promised by digitisation. Misunderstandings abound about the role of the historian as well as that of the archivist. Elizabeth Kostova’s very fun novel, The Historian, is based on the premise that Dracula hunts down historians to be his archivists. Dracula - like many mortals - mistakenly believes that historians’ primary aspiration is to record the past in documents and books. The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche provided a more nuanced view of historians when he divided historians into typologies, one of them being the antiquarian, who has the most similarity to what is commonly understood as the archivist - someone who obsessively squirrels away artefacts and texts. The reality, however, is messier and more opaque. There are several layers of selection that are deliberate, accidental, and circumstantial. In my own work on mid 20th-century Germany, for example, I was always delighted when a request form resulted in an actual book or document and was not simply stamped, “lost in the war.” When we examine our own purposes in investigating the past, we can help explain its relevance and explain why objectivity is not a virtue. The seismic shifts in our approach to the past - from political to cultural history or class to gender or identity to experience - relate to shifting circumstances in our present condition. This talk then aims to look at how we preserve our own notion of self through a shifting lens on the past.
Mia Lee is a historian of Modern Europe, who works as a senior lecturer at the Singapore University of Social Sciences and as an advocate for history from below. She has published a book on West German art and politics and articles on history and memory, postwar European art, Nazis in the Middle East, and political pornography. She is currently launching the website HistoryLabSG.com, which will feature podcasts on Singapore and Southeast Asia, and she is a regular collaborator with the Ministry of Education History Curriculum Division as well as local secondary schools and junior colleges. If you have any ideas or suggestions for history projects, please approach her!
3:15 pm – 3:40 pm
The Historian’s Awareness of Preservation / Sustainability Issues
Dr. Ho Chi Tim, Lecturer, Singapore University of Social Sciences
To this historian, issues concerning the preservation and sustainability of archival records or source materials in general are not usually foremost on my mind when ruminating on aspects of historical research. But as historical research continues to evolve in this era of environmental changes and digital tech advancements, perhaps historians can no longer afford to focus exclusively on researching and presenting the past, as such a focus bestows on the historical method an unkindly perception of being overly extractive and dwelling merely on the availability and accessibility of sources. It is perhaps timely for the historian, and indeed the training of the historian, to become more inclusive. My presentation presents the following point for consideration and discussion. First, advancements in digital technology may have expanded historical research, but it has narrowed the historian’s gaze via “keyword” searches. Second, such advancements could give a false sense of security that the digitised archival record is preserved forever. This runs the risk of reducing awareness on how future historical sources, such as digital communications, may not even be archived in the first place – which drastically affects our understanding of the past. Third, and as such, the training of future historians, and through them the historical method, should be expanded beyond presenting “original” research to include issues concerning preservation and sustainability of source materials.
Ho Chi Tim is a historian of Singapore and Southeast Asia. He has published on topics concerning social welfare, nation-building, and colonial/imperial histories, and maintains research interests in public history and the dynamics between archival science and historiography. He is presently a lecturer at the Centre for University Core, Singapore University of Social Sciences.
SESSION 7B: 1:35 pm – 3:05 pm (inclusive of Q&A)
1:35 pm – 2:00 pm
Sustainable Equals Holistic - formal education for green archivists
Dr Louise Curham, Lecturer, School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Australia
The environment is changing rapidly, not just the physical, carbon-affected environment but also our techno-cultural situation. This is exemplified by tensions over who is best placed to steward authentic and reliable information. If records and archives people are to remain relevant in this space, our skills and education prepare and define us. Skills and education come together in our worldview in which I position us, after Australian archivist Cassie Finlay, as the ‘in context, through time’ people (Finlay, 2021). Seeing ourselves this way, continuing through time becomes crucial and aligns with a holistic understanding of sustainability. It’s not enough to understand sustainable as practices associated with reducing carbon dependence and changing other resource-depleting behaviours. Sustainable is a bigger and more holistic mission.
This talk teases out some features of holistic sustainability such as governance, preservation and social impact. It demonstrates these ideas through teaching initiatives at Charles Sturt University in the records and archives courses.
In the governance dimension, we need agreed social rules and parameters that will help us thrive and continue. In practical terms this entwines funding, our social mandate and education so the next generation learns why our mission is important and adapts it to their evolving situation. The preservation dimension addresses the practical measures we take to care for collections alert to resource depletion. There is a social dimension, some of which is captured through metadata, the way information circulates, who it is important to and their ability to influence and shape it.
Dr Louise Curham is a lecturer in the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University.
Before joining CSU in 2020, Louise worked for over a decade at the National Archives of Australia in government information and audiovisual preservation. She was a records manager at the Australian National Maritime Museum and worked as a consultant archivist for small arts organisations in Sydney. Louise’s research focuses on items that evade meaningful digitisation. Case studies in her PhD focused on performances made using obsolete media such as 8mm film.
Louise finalised her PhD at the University of Canberra. She also holds a Master of Fine Arts (Research) from UNSW Art and Design (2005) and a Bachelor of Arts (Film and Television) from the Victorian College of the Arts (1994). Louise also has a Graduate Diploma of Science (Info. Services) (Archives & Records) from Edith Cowan University (2013) and a Graduate Certificate in Audio Visual Archiving from Charles Sturt University (2006).
2:00 pm – 2:25 pm
Green Skills Training for the Archival Professionals
Dr. Sarvesh Singh, Chemist / Manager, Reserve Bank of India Archives
Green skills are the technical skills. The knowledge, ability, values and attitude needed to live in and support a sustainable and resource efficient society. The green skills will be needed by all sectors and at all levels in the workforce. It is no doubt green skills are also needed to the archival professionals in the archival profession likewise museums and libraries. Green skills are generally composed of three dimensions namely knowledge, skills / abilities and attitude / values. It may be cognitive, psychomotor or offensive dimension. So that Archival Professionals able to promote sustainable development in social, economy and environment.
This paper deals a realistic frame work of strategies and resources needed to incorporate more affordable, sustainable, and socially responsible archival management practices into the archival profession. Therefore, a formal training is required regarding green skills for the archival profession. It is very much essential so that they contribute to preserve or restore the environment being the custodians of the documentary cultural heritage. The green skills trained archival professional can perform very well and it is a primer for adopting affordable environmentally sustainable and socially responsible archival management practices. By acquiring the training Archival Professionals would be performed regarding global issues known as environmental sustainability, or meeting the economic, environmental, social, and cultural needs of the present without compromising the same needs of future generations. By having the green skills, an archival professional can perform sustainable archives services and facilities including ecologically sensitive business operations.
Keywords: Green skills, Archival profession, Sustainability, Environment, Ecosystem, Preservation, Archival heritage.
Dr. Sarvesh Singh holds a Ph.D. in Science, MBA in Finance, MA in History, Post Graduate Diploma in Ecology and Environment, Diploma in Heritage Site Management & Scientific Conservation, Diploma in Medical Records Management, Certificate in Preservation Microfilming, Introduction to Archival Preservation, Records Management, Introduction to Archival Practices, Managing Plans and Drawings, Documentation and Digitization in Archives, Museology and Archival Science & its contemporary appropriation and Numismatics. He is fellow of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), New York, USA under the Indian Conservation Fellowship Program. He joined RBI Archives in year 2003 and responsible for conservation of archival documentary heritage. He has experience in conservation of cultural heritage and resource person for delivering the lecture, setting the exams paper & evaluation of its, examiner as evaluation of M.Phil. & Diploma dissertation in different Institutions. He also has experience of working in area of environmental pollution in a leading business / industrial conglomerate in India. He has participated and presented so many papers in International / National Conferences related to conservation in India and abroad. He has published eleven papers in national and international journals and books. He is also a member of various committee / professional bodies at national and international.
2:25 pm – 2:50 pm
Who makes GLAM sustainable?: A introduction to the British Library Sustainability Group and professional agency for GLAM workers in the climate crisis
Morgane Lirette, (Formerly) Book and paper conservator and co-chair of the BL Sustainability Group, (Formerly) British Library, UK
The consensus is in – human influence has ‘unequivocally’ driven today’s interlaced climate and biodiversity emergencies. With the deadline for meaningful action shrinking, the heritage sector can and should play a significant role in the quest for solutions. In fact, it is a renewable resource for positive climate action as custodians of collections with the reach to inspire millions around the world. Not only do heritage institutions connect people to their histories via exhibitions, but they also have the power to lead in sustainable change via their mission of education and engagement. But how does a heritage institution build up to this vocation? Who leads the change within the institution? Is it top-down, bottom-up or both? This presentation will introduce the staff-led, action-based British Library Sustainability Group, some of its actions and how it developed from the idea of a single staff member to an organisation-wide group helping embed sustainability into the fabric of the Library.
Morgane Lirette is a trained book and paper conservator, formerly working in her discipline at the British Library. There she founded and co-chaired the Library’s Sustainability Group. She currently works at the University of Westminster as their Sustainable Development Advisor.
FINALE SESSION: 4:05 pm – 4:45 pm (inclusive of Q&A)
Archives and Climate Change: findings from the submissions of the special issue of Comma
Dr. Amy Tector, Manager, Library and Archives Canada
Dr. Jörg Ludwig, Historian and Archivist, Saxon State Archives, Germany
drs. Frans Smit, Senior Inspector, Dutch Information and Heritage Inspectorate, Netherlands
Climate change poses a great threat to humans and ecosystems. Along with many other social sectors and institutions, archives and archivists are also threatened by these changes. They will only be able to safeguard the documentary heritage of humankind in the long term if global warming is stopped and rising temperatures are reversed. Business as usual is not possible, not even for archivists.
Archivists must also do their part to combat climate change and prevent climate-damaging emissions. In their core tasks, such as evaluating and selecting materials for long-term preservation and access, archivists can also safeguard climate and environmentally-relevant information.
At the same time, it is important to adapt archives to climate change and to make provisions for disasters. Floods, fires or extreme storms can damage or destroy archives and their holdings.
Shifting climate zones also mean that new animal species and microorganisms can appear that endanger archival materials. Possible changes and dangers differ from region to region. In extreme cases, archives have to be relocated and their documents secured elsewhere. National and international cooperation can help in this regard.
To explore these important topics further, the International Council on Archives’ journal Comma has planned a Special Issue dedicated to the topic of “Archives and Climate Change”. Archivists from around the world have submitted proposals for contributions to the issue. It will be published in spring or summer of 2023.
At the SARBICA-conference, the special editors of the issue, propose to present a summary of the contributions, and share common denominators, common issues and/or concerns. The presentation can be followed by a group discussion. The Special Editors are Dr. Amy Tector, Dr. Jörg Ludwig and drs. Frans Smit.
Dr. Amy Tector has worked as an archivist and manager in the archival field for over twenty years. The bulk of her career has been spent at Library and Archives Canada, but she spent a year working as an archivist at the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals in The Hague. She teaches archives and information studies at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa. She is also a novelist, often incorporating archives into her stories.
Dr. Jörg Ludwig is historian and archivist at the Saxon State Archives in Germany. He is responsiblie for archival descriptions and access to archives. He has been a member of the Editorial Board of Comma since 2001.
drs. Frans Smit has been working in the field of Archives, ICT and Information Archives since 1989, primarily in various functions in the local and national Dutch Government Administration. Currently he works as Senior Inspector at the Dutch Information and Heritage Inspectorate. He is also a part-time teacher of Archivistics at the Reinwardt University of Applied Science in Amsterdam. He has been Co Editor-in-Chief of Comma since 2021.
 UNESCO. World Heritage Centre. Section on Climate change and World Heritage. (2021). https://whc.unesco.org/en/climatechange/#:~:text=In%20its%20Decision%2039%20COM,United%20Nations%20Framework%20Convention%20on
 ALIA disaster management for libraries (2019)
Part one: Guide https://read.alia.org.au/alia-disaster-management-libraries-part-one-guide.
Part two: Disaster plan template https://read.alia.org.au/alia-disaster-management-libraries-part-two-disaster-plan-template
 ourworldindata.org/energy-mix; eia.gov/energyexplained/us-energy-facts
 dictionary.archivists.org/entry/medium.html; simagestao.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Dicionario-de-terminologia-arquivistica.pdf
 IPCC, 2021: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson- Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S.L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M.I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T.K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu, and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press. Pg. 5.