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Digital shift manifesto webinar

Introducing the RLUK Digital Shift Forum #RLUKDSF

RLUK’s Digital Shift Forum brings together colleagues from across the information, research, cultural and heritage communities, and third and commercial sectors, to discuss the future of the digital shift in collections, services, and audiences. 

These monthly seminars will include high-profile international speakers, from a wide variety of backgrounds and professions, who are at the forefront of current thinking around the digital shift. They will provide time and space for wide-ranging, inter-disciplinary discussions regarding the future of the digital shift, and will provide a springboard for cross-sector collaboration. The Digital Shift Forum is open to all, and you do not need to belong to an RLUK member institution to attend or participate.

The series aims to promote cross-sector discussion and debate, to enable knowledge exchange, and inspire collaborative endeavour across sectors and communities, for the benefit of RLUK members and the wider research and information management communities. 

Why are we convening this series?

In May 2020, RLUK launched its manifesto for the digital shift in research libraries. The manifesto provides a future vision for the digital shift occurring within research library collections, services, operations, and audience interactions. The manifesto explores what is required in terms of skills and leadership, stakeholder engagement, collections and scholarship, and library spaces to enable this digital shift to continue, diversity, and deepen.

The time is now

Since the launch of the manifesto, members of RLUK’s digital shift working group have worked to implement the manifesto’s delivery plan in light of the Covid-19 crisis. The coronavirus crisis has enabled information, research, cultural and heritage organisation to hold a mirror to their experiences of the digital shift in their collections, operations, services, and audience interactions. The experiences of RLUK member libraries have been presented in RLUK’s research report, Covid-19 and the digital shift in action (July 2020).


Pandemic effects and collection directions

28 October 2020, 14:00 – 15:30

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 briefly looks at some pandemic effects, and considers how it will likely accelerate some collection directions already evident. It will also emphasise two important collection imperatives – for optimisation and for pluralisation. Lorcan will also make some brief remarks about how different national systemic characteristics play into developments, sketching differences between UKI and the US.

Lorcan Dempsey coordinates strategic planning and oversees the Membership and Research Division at OCLC. He has worked for library and educational organisations in Ireland, the UK, and the US. His influence on national policy and library directions is widely recognised. In 2010 he received the National Federation of Advanced Information Services’ (NFAIS) highest award, The Miles Conrad Award. He is an honorary Doctor of the Open University in the UK and has twice received an ALCTS Presidential Citation for his work with OCLC colleagues. Lorcan began his career in public libraries in his native Dublin, Ireland. Before moving to OCLC, he managed the UK higher education national investment in information services for Jisc. He is a member of the Cambridge University Library Visiting Committee. Lorcan has a BA and MLIS from University College Dublin.

Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President and Chief Strategist, OCLC

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Claire Warwick, Professor of Digital Humanities, Durham University

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Managing the digital dystopia

18 November 2020, 14:00 – 15:00

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 will explore 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.

Claire Warwick is a Professor of Digital Humanities in the Department of English at Durham University. She completed her term as Pro-Vice-Chancellor: Research in August 2019. She was previously Head of UCL Department of Information Studies, and director of the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, and began her academic career as a lecturer at Sheffield University’s iSchool. Her PhD, from Cambridge, was in English Literature, followed by a postdoctoral position at Oxford University’s Humanities Computing Unit and Faculty of English.


Building digital skills and appetite for now and the future

16 December 2020, 14:00 – 15:00

The pandemic as a catalyst for change or a temporary digital fix? Tiina will offer an overview of emerging trends before and after lockdown in how the arts cultural sector is shifting to working more digitally and challenges around digital integration and transformation. She will provide an outline of the Digital Culture Network, where it started from, and the work of its team of 9 specialist “on the ground” Tech Champions in building digital skills and capacity across the sector. Tiina will reflect on the demand for its support offer, provide insights and examples from working with people across the sector, and give an outline of Arts Council England’s 10 Year Strategy in supporting sector survival and resilience.

Tiina leads the Digital Culture Network at Arts Council England, with a team of 11 Tech Champions and Project Co-ordinators, and heads up strategic planning, day-to-day management of the network, programming and implementation of systems and reporting, as well as development of national and regional partnerships such as Google Arts & Culture. Tiina is always on the lookout for ways to shape and develop the network’s ambitious scope of work and extend its programme of events, training and sector support to maximise impact. Tiina is passionate about arts and culture and use of new technologies to drive growth and innovation.

Whilst working at Arts Council, Tiina has been involved in funding programmes such as Creative XR and Arts Council/NESTA Digital R&D fund, New Creatives and Arts Council Project Grants supporting multiple interactive, immersive, augmented/virtual reality, gaming and app development projects.

Tiina Hill, Senior Manager, Digital Culture Network, Arts Council England

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John Stack, Digital Director, Science Museum Group

20 January 2021, 14:00 – 15:00

John Stack is Digital Director of the Science Museum Group. The Science Museum Group encompasses five museums: Science Museum, London; National Science and Media Museum, Bradford; National Railway Museum, York; Science and Industry Museum, Manchester; and Locomotion, Shildon. He joined the group in 2015 and is responsible for setting and delivering the group’s digital strategy. He manages the Digital department which encompasses the museums’ websites, digitised collections, apps, games and on gallery digital media. Prior to joining the Science Museum Group, he was Head of Digital at Tate for ten years. His work has won numerous awards and in 2014, his work at Tate was the subject of a Harvard Business School case study. He is currently leading a project called Heritage Connector which explores the opportunities for computation analysis to build links at scale between collections.


3 February 2021, 14:00 – 15:00

Gobinda Chowdhury is a Professor of Information Science at the Department of Computer & Information Sciences (iSchool) at the University of Strathclyde. He has been involved in teaching and research in Information Science for over 25 years and has taken senior management positions at universities in UK and Australia. Currently he is the Chair of the global iSchools Organization ( His research focuses on digital libraries and information services trying to understand how people access and use information and data in different contexts. His recent research includes information systems and services for addressing global challenges and sustainable development.

Gobinda Chowdhury, Professor of Information Science, University of Strathclyde

MARCH 2021

Hiral Patel, Lecturer and Architect, Cardiff University

3 March 2021, 14:00 – 15:00

Hiral Patel’s current research and teaching aims to better understands clients and users of built environment. She is interested in themes of learning, socio-material practices, holistic building performance and adaptation of buildings. Having trained as an architect from India and practiced in the UK, her work has spanned from research, developing business processes, managing projects to technical building design. She has also provided programme management consultancy to higher education clients.

Hiral’s PhD research theorises the practices of adapting academic library buildings. Based on this research, her consultancy for Higher Education Design Quality Forum (HEDQF) to identified research themes for future learning environments in the higher education sector. She also designed a framework to better align learning spaces with curriculum. Her research around the DEGW archive explores the linkages between organisational practices and the built environment to help understand the changing nature of ‘work’. Building on this project, she is particularly interested in developing the methodology of curating exhibitions as part of the research process.

APRIL 2021

Digital shifts and sustainability

3 April 2021, 14:00 – 15:00

The shift to digital services is often presented as a sustainable option that increases access while reducing carbon footprint. However, there is widespread evidence that digital infrastructures have considerable environmental impacts. Taking the start from an overview of available evidence of the environmental impacts of digital infrastructures, this seminar will explore emerging social and ethical challenges in the run towards sustainable digital technologies.  In describing current distribution of responsibilities, gaps in the system and stakeholders’ view on the matter, the seminar will critically discuss the intertwining of individual, institutional and corporate responsibility and the different values at stake.

Federica Lucivero is a Senior Researcher in Ethics and Data at the Ethox Centre and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities (Big Data Institute, University of Oxford). She has trained in philosophy and qualitative research methods and her expertise spans across different areas and disciplines: ethics and social studies of science and technology, bioethics, governance of innovation, philosophy of science and technology. Her research focuses on the ethical aspects of the increasing introduction of IT(online portals, wearable sensors, mobile apps) in care pathways, individual health practices, and biomedical research.  More recently, she has been writing on the environmental sustainability of Big Data initiatives. She has been a researcher in several European projects (Ethicsbots, FI-STAR, Robolaw). Currently, she is involved in the RADAR-AD project that explores the potential of mobile and digital technologies to improve the assessment of Alzheimer’s Disease ( She is also in the ethics advisory board of research projects and start-ups that are developing digital applications for health and wellbeing (see for example, The Medic App and Federica has publications in several major journals in the field of ethics of innovation (including Science and Engineering Ethics, Nanoethics, Big Data and Society, American Journal of Bioethics, Journal of Medical Ethics, AI and Society, and Law Innovation and Technology) and she published a monograph on ethical assessments of emerging technologies with Springer. She is a member of the Lombardia Regional Forum for Research and Innovation.

Federica Lucivero, Senior Researcher in Data and Ethics, Ethox Centre and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities