Proceedings of the 50th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences
Abstract This research explores the ways values, power, and politics shape and are shaped by digital infrastructure development through an in-depth study of HathiTrust’s “dark history,” the period of years leading up to its public launch. This research identifies and traces the emerging and iterative ways that values were surfaced and negotiated, decision making approaches were strategically modified, and relationships were strengthened, reconfigured, and sometimes abandoning through the process of generating a viable, robust and sustainable collaborative digital infrastructure. Through this history, we gain deeper understandings and appreciations of the various and sometimes surprising ways that values, power, and politics are implicated in digital infrastructure development. Shedding light on this history enables us to better contextualize and understand the affordances, limitations, and challenges of the HathiTrust we know today, better envision its range of possible futures, and develop richer appreciations for digital infrastructure development more broadly.