What We Don’t Know About What We Can’t See: Information and Hidden Infrastructure


  • Eira Tansey University of Cincinnati Libraries


Hidden infrastructure fuels our world, and it is sustained by information and technology shaped by political power. In the current controversy over an aging pipeline in the Great Lakes built decades ago as part of Canada’s transnational oil economy, the information associated with hidden infrastructure has influenced arguments against the continued investment in fossil fuels. Information about infrastructure is often difficult to access, despite its significant implications for public safety and environmental concerns. Library workers can make unique contributions to improving information about infrastructure around us, but only if we understand its urgent challenges.

Author Biography

Eira Tansey, University of Cincinnati Libraries

Eira Tansey is the Digital Archivist/Records Manager at the University of Cincinnati Libraries. Her active areas of research include the effects of climate change on archives and archivists, the role of records within environmental regulation, and the enforcement of recordkeeping laws. Between 2017-2018, Tansey collaborated on a Society of American Archivists foundation grant to develop a modern comprehensive data set of United States archives locations. This work resulted in the release of an open access data set of over 18,000 US repositories. Her published work has appeared in a wide variety of archives, history, and environmental policy journals. Tansey’s most notable achievement outside of the built environment was section-hiking the entire 323-mile Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail in 2016.





Presentations (15 min. + 5 min. for questions)