Charlotte Hess on Constructing a Commons-Based Digital Infrastructure

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"As the digital universe swells to 1.2 zettabytes, as increasing amounts of valuable information are lost or enclosed, as more libraries close, as economies fall, as global inequities rise, there is an ever greater need for robust systems of knowledge delivery that get the right information to the right people at the exact time of need. Immediate and open access to knowledge is necessary for scientific discovery, the creative process, effective education, public health, economic well-being, and informed decision-making. However, no one institution, corporation, or government can build a robust global digital infrastructure by itself. This presentation addresses the complex array of challenges in the collection, organization, dissemination, and preservation of human knowledge in digital format. Drawing from work in higher education, research libraries, and commons analysis, I discuss the critical need for participants from multiple areas of expertise and various economic sectors to come together to construct a sustainable, commons-based infrastructure to ensure immediate accessibility of civilization’s digital record to
present and future generations. This enormous task requires long-term commitment, continued investment, and deep sense of responsibility." (