Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date




Purpose – In this paper, a call to the library and information science community to support documentation and conservation of cultural and biocultural heritage has been presented.

Design/methodology/approach – Based in existing Literature, this proposal is generative and descriptive— rather than prescriptive—regarding precisely how libraries should collaborate to employ technical and ethical best practices to provide access to vital data, research and cultural narratives relating to climate.

Findings – COVID-19 and climate destruction signal urgent global challenges. Library best practices are positioned to respond to climate change. Literature indicates how libraries preserve, share and cross-link cultural and scientific knowledge. With wildfires, drought, flooding and other extreme or slow-onset weather events presenting dangers, it is imperative that libraries take joint action toward facilitating sustainable and open access to relevant information.

Practical implications – An initiative could create an easily-accessible, open, linked, curated, secure and stakeholder-respectful database for global biocultural heritage—documenting traditional knowledge, local knowledge and climate adaptation traditions.

Social implications – Ongoing stakeholder involvement from the outset should acknowledge preferences regarding whether or how much to share information. Ethical elements must be embedded from concept to granular access and metadata elements.

Originality/value – Rooted in the best practices and service orientation of library science, the proposal envisions a sustained response to a common global challenge. Stewardship would also broadly assist the global community by preserving and providing streamlined access to information of instrumental value to addressing climate change.

Keywords Libraries, Open access, Local knowledge, Stewardship, Climate change, Best practices, Repository, Database management systems, Traditional knowledge, Biocultural heritage

Paper type Conceptual paper


This is the author's manuscript of a work originally published in the Journal of Documentation, available at



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.