Digital archiving, green IT and environment: deleting data to manage critical effects of the data deluge

Geert-Jan van Bussel, Nikki Smit, John van de Pas

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    The development of the World Wide Web, the emergence of social media and Big Data have led to a rising amount of data. Infor¬mation and Communication Technol¬ogies (ICTs) affect the environment in various ways. Their energy consumption is growing exponentially, with and without the use of ‘green’ energy. Increasing envi¬ronmental aware¬ness has led to discussions on sustainable development. The data deluge makes it not only necessary to pay attention to the hard‑ and software di¬mensions of ICTs but also to the ‘value’ of the data stored. In this paper, we study the possibility to methodically reduce the amount of stored data and records in organizations based on the ‘value’ of informa¬tion, using the Green Archiving Model we have developed. Reducing the amount of data and records in organizations helps in allowing organizations to fight the data deluge and to realize the objectives of both Digital Archiving and Green IT. At the same time, methodi¬cally deleting data and records should reduce the con¬sumption of electricity for data storage. As a consequencs, the organizational cost for electricity use should be reduced. Our research showed that the model can be used to reduce [1] the amount of data (45 percent, using Archival Retention Levels and Retention Schedules) and [2] the electricity con¬sumption for data storage (resulting in a cost reduction of 35 percent). Our research indicates that the Green Ar¬chiving Model is a viable model to reduce the amount of stored data and records and to curb electricity use for storage in organi¬zations. This paper is the result of the first stage of a research project that is aimed at devel¬oping low power ICTs that will automa¬tically appraise, select, preserve or permanently delete data based on their ‘value’. Such an ICT will automatically reduce storage capacity and reduce electricity con¬sumption used for data storage. At the same time, data dispos¬al will reduce overload caused by storing the sa¬me data in different for¬mats, it will lower costs and it reduces the po¬tential for liability.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)187-198
    Number of pages12
    JournalElectronic journal of information systems evaluation
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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