What if we can’t manage our way to better sustainability?

1. Abstract

Widespread interest in increasing the sustainability of digital humanities collections has led to a growing consensus around strategies that are focused on improving managerial practices within institutions. While useful in certain contexts, managerial sustainability strategies do not convincingly address the vast majority of digital humanities collections that operate outside of institutional infrastructures. We argue that stakeholders in digital scholarship need to broaden our conception of sustainability for digital humanities collections to admit an increasingly diversified landscape of collections, and of the communities and practices responsible for building and maintaining collections. By advancing an expanded conception of sustainability, which foregrounds the communities who create collections, this paper lays the conceptual groundwork for ongoing research into the implications of alternative, collaborative, and community-centered sustainability strategies, and a fuller range of roles that cultural institutions may play to support community-determined strategies for sustaining digital humanities collections.

Katrina Fenlon (kfenlon@umd.edu), University of Maryland, College Park, United States of America and Trevor Muñoz (tmunoz@umd.edu), University of Maryland, College Park, United States of America

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