Data Rescue Chicago was an opportunity for civic hackers, scientists, activists, and volunteers of all kinds to to identify, back-up, and help to preserve at-risk climate and environmental data resources before they could be suppressed from public view and use by the incoming administration of Donald Trump in January, 2017.

The Trump administration denies climate change and antagonizes the scientists, researchers, and civil servants who study it and inform the public of its causes and effects. I organized this volunteer group of "guerilla archivists" in order to sustain the progress made studying and responding to the planetary crisis by protecting vital scientific resources from suppression -- archiving them in multiple, redundant repositories so that they may be accessed and reused after disappearing from federal government websites. A small team of volunteers in Chicago was able to nominate some 400 unique scientific resources as "seeds" to the End of Term 2016 web archiving project, and to itself upload several of these resources to the Internet Archive.

The effort complemented the pioneering data rescue labor performed around the continent, including events in Toronto, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and Los Angeles.

Data Rescue Chicago was a project of Chi Hack Night’s EDGI/End of Term Project Group. Chi Hack Night is “a free, weekly event in Chicago to build, share and learn about tools to create, support, and serve the public good. We are a group of thousands of designers, academic researchers, data journalists, activists, policy wonks, web developers and curious citizens who want to make our city more just, equitable, transparent and delightful to live in through data, design and technology.”

Read more about the event on the University of Pennsylvania Environmental Humanities Lab's Fellows Blog.