What is the digital shift?
The ‘digital shift’ is used as an umbrella term for the analogue-digital transition of many library services, operations, collections, and audience interactions. This work around the ‘digital shift’ forms part of RLUK’s current strategy, Reshaping Scholarship, and very broadly, relates to the impact of digital technology on research library:
Collections: reflecting the increasing volume of digital collections within research libraries, whether as born-digital archives, digitised content, data, research outputs contained within repositories, or electronic books and journals (e-print).
Operations: where an increasing portion and variety of library activities are delivered or enabled digitally, whether via remote access online or within the library itself, through resources such as digital scholarship labs, makers spaces or digital creativity hubs.
Connections: as the library’s own digital collections are diversifying, so are the collections scholars and students can access through the library (held elsewhere).
Audience: that the digital shift provides opportunities for the research library’s audience to shift, grow and change, bringing more people into contact with the research library, in different ways, and for different purposes.
The changes occurring in each of these areas brings a variety of challenges and opportunities in relation to the library’s role in supporting and enabling scholarship, the skills contained within the library, its spaces, and its relationship with external stakeholders. These issues are explored further within RLUK’s digital shift manifesto.