Life Cycle Assessment of E-Publishing and Digital Libraries: Scholarly Books and E-Book Reading Devices
The University of Michigan (UM) Digital Library Initiative has been at the forefront of promoting the use of electronically published books and journals. Our 2000/2001 AT&T fellowship focused on the life cycle modeling of the production, delivery, access and storage of journal articles in digital and print formats. Unexpected findings regarding the primary energy use for this system were revealed. This renewal proposal addresses the environmental performance of scholarly electronic books and e-book reading devices, which builds upon model elements from year 1. This research effort will be conducted in conjunction with the History E-Book Project, which includes the University of Michigan Press and Digital Library Program as well as nine other university presses. A variety of applications for e-books including reference texts and course textbooks will be explored and compared with LCA results for traditional print collections. Our interdisciplinary team will develop specific recommendations for enhancing the design and application of e-book information technology. The Faculty Fellowship would be used to support Masters Thesis research for another industrial ecology graduate student. Two additiional information technology seminars will be organized in conjunction with this fellowship for Winter 2002 and Fall 2002.