How digital information services can reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Publisher:
Emerald Group Publishing
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Online Information Review, 2012, 36 (4), pp. 489 - 506
Issue Date:
2012-01
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Purpose The study aims to determine the environmental impact of printed content in libraries and thus to find out how a digital information service can help libraries and institutions play a key role in helping the environment. Design/methodology/approach Data were collected and analysed through a combination of environment scan and document analysis, and some mathematical calculations. Comparative data for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from printed books and journals in certain countries, and some specific university libraries in Australia and New Zealand are presented. A lifecycle analysis approach is used to identify various factors that are responsible for GHG emissions for printed as well as digital information resources. Findings The study found that dematerialisation, i.e. the replacement of printed content with digital information services, can help libraries and institutions to reduce their impact on the environment. However it is also noted that further research is needed to develop benchmarks and comparative data for GHG emissions from print-based and digital information services.
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