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RLUK’s Digital Shift Forum

Geographical origins of delegates registered for the first DSF seminar in October.

Watch RLUK Digital Shift Forum events on demand

The RLUK Digital Shift Forum attracts speakers and participants from around the world. One of its key aims is to bring colleagues together from across the library, information, cultural, and research communities to discuss the future of the digital shift and identify ways that we might work across sectors, professional boundaries, and national borders. You can catch up with our previous events below.


Managing the digital dystopia – Claire Warwick, Professor of Digital Humanities, Durham University

Digital is in danger of acquiring a bad rep. Over the last few months unprecedented numbers of people have become accustomed to living and working online, and not all of them enjoy it. They have found during the pandemic, the experience of interaction online, whether with other people, or with information is very different from what we do in person. And this experience is seldom compared favourably to physical, ‘real’ interaction. Thanks to the A level algorithm, all algorithms have come to be regarded with massive scepticism, to the extent that some local authorities have abandoned their use in welfare management. Social media is increasingly associated with deadly misinformation and hate speech, leading to boycotts by users, advertisers and even celebrities, bloggers and YouTubers. Yet, as librarians and information professionals know very well, digital delivery is ideal for certain types of information, such as journal articles or digital images of rare manuscripts. Digital allows us to interact with such materials in new and exciting ways. But how should we proceed, in an environment where our users may increasingly regard digital interaction and computational techniques with scepticism or even hostility? Claire explores some of these questions, based on the research she has done on the way that we interact with digital and physical information environments, especially in terms of emotion and affect.


Pandemic effects and collection directions – Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President and Chief Strategist, OCLC

Beyond the scramble of the current situation, universities will be looking at long term pandemic effects. This clearly has implications for libraries, as they cleave more closely to university strategies. This presentation  looks at some pandemic effects, and considers how it will likely accelerate some collection directions already evident. It also emphasised two important collection imperatives – for optimisation and for pluralisation. In this talk Lorcan explores how different national systemic characteristics play into developments, sketching differences between UKI and the US.