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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).

RLUKDSF mailing list

Sign up to the RLUKDSF mailing list to be kept informed about upcoming events.

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RLUKDSF on demand

You can view recordings of previous RLUKDSF events at the link below.

RLUKDSF on Demand


Data and Information for Sustainable Living and Future 

3 February 2021, 14:00 – 15:00

Research shows that creation, management and sharing of relevant data and information form the foundation of success in achieving sustainable development in every field. However, Information Poverty remains a critical issue for societies today. Information poverty can be caused by a number of factors ranging from lack of access to ICTs to lack of basic digital skills, and poor information and data literacy. Over 10% of UK population don’t have access to internet or ICT; 28% of people aged 65 are offline; 4.3 million people in UK do not have any basic digital skills, and 11.3 million people have very few basic digital skills. Recent reports on data misuse, misinformation and infodemics present clear evidences of potential risks and damages to individuals and society.

This talk will touch upon some of these key points highlighting the challenges posed by data and information poverty in everyday life and society. While  pointing towards some potential solutions for improving data and information access and use, the speaker will argue that such solutions can only be achieved through concerted efforts of multiple stakeholders, researchers and professionals in different domains.

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

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Digital Creativity and the Future of Storytelling

17 February 2021, 14:00 – 15:00

The increasingly ubiquitous nature of digital technology and data in our society has delivered a transformation in both our understanding and our practice of creativity – and the role that this digital technology holds – in its everyday realisation. We are moving to a point where digital technology integrates with and underpins many aspects of our lives and is no longer a novelty in and of itself.
Digital Creativity therefore becomes something that provides a foundation to both support and enhance many forms of research and practice, as well as existing as an area of research in its own right, with no perceived barrier between the two.

This talk will consider digital creativity in the context of future storytelling and cases studies that have emerged from the work of the XR Stories creative clusters R&D partnership project. From this we will consider what changes in our research culture might be demanded to ensure the wider benefit from the opportunities that digital creativity brings. How might we build a wider audience of digitally creative natives who are better able to embrace such opportunities? The impact across many aspects of our society, including the creative and cultural sectors, industry and community, has the potential to be significant.

Damian Murphy is Professor in Sound and Music Computing at AudioLab in the Department of Electronic Engineering, University of York, and the University Research Theme Champion for Creativity.

His research focuses on the development and creative application of immersive audio and virtual acoustic modelling, he is an active sound artist, and the Director of the £15m XR Stories Arts and Humanities Research Council funded Creative Industries R&D Partnership exploring interactive and immersive storytelling for the UK’s creative screen industries.

Damian Murphy, Professor in Sound and Music Computing at AudioLab, University of York

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MARCH 2021

Hiral Patel, Lecturer and Architect, Cardiff University

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“This building is never complete” – a tale of space, users and technologies

3 March 2021, 14:00 – 15:00

Library buildings are always in a state of flux. They have been continuously adapted in response to emerging technologies, pedagogical innovations or creation of new library services.  This talk will discuss the evolution of a library building over the last 50 years in response to changing user needs and digital technologies, taking the example of the University of Reading’s library. The talk will conclude with provocations for the future role of library spaces, particularly in the context of rapid digital transitions instigated by COVID-19 pandemic. The proliferation of technologies in our daily lives will have a profound impact on ways of learning and the use of libraries. Rethinking library buildings as interactions between users, technologies and physical spaces will become even more pertinent.

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

7 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

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21 April 2021, 14:00 – 15:00

Catherine Stihler OBE is the CEO of Creative Commons. She has been an international champion for openness as a legislator and practitioner for over 20 years.

She worked in the British House of Commons as a researcher before successfully standing for election as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Scotland in 1999, representing the UK Labour Party. At the European Parliament in Brussels she became one of Scotland’s longest-serving and most respected legislators. She was elected Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, working on digital policy where she prioritised the Digital Single Market, digital skills, better accessibility of digital products for the disabled, and citizen online data protection and privacy. She founded both the Campaign for Parliamentary Reform and the parliament’s All-Party Library Group, promoting and advocating for the importance of libraries in the new digital age. Catherine took on a lead role in the debate on copyright in the European Union’s (EU) Digital Single Market, serving as Rapporteur for the Internal Market Committee and standing up for over 500million European citizens.

While serving as an MEP, Catherine was also elected to serve as the 52nd Rector of the University of St Andrews between 2014 and 2017, and will serve as Senior Lay member on the university court from August 2020. In 2018 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of St Andrews. In 2019, she stood down from the European Parliament to become Chief Executive Officer of the Open Knowledge Foundation. Catherine transformed the Open Knowledge Foundation in just 18 months, redefining its vision and mission to produce a new strategic direction, reengaging its global chapters and increasing the worldwide profile of the organisation.

Catherine Stihler, CEO, Creative Commons

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MAY 2021

Tyler Shores, ThinkLab Manager, University of Cambridge

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Libraries, Readers, and Digital Distraction

5 May 2021, 14:00 – 15:00

This talk will explore some of the ways in which digital engagement is more important than ever before for libraries. User attention and distraction are not so either/or as they might at first seem – and Tyler will explore issues about reading and online habits and behaviours in ways that might challenge some common assumptions. In addition, the seminar will provide the opportunity to discuss what works in a constantly evolving online and social media environment, based on research and best practices. This should be a highly interactive session and @tylershores will post updates and links the week before the event.

Tyler Shores is the Manager of the ThinkLab Program, within the Strategic Partnership Office at the University of Cambridge. His research focuses upon reading in print, reading on screens, and digital distraction and attention spans. Tyler’s current projects are focused on digital wellbeing, social media, and the role of digital technology in our everyday lives.

Prior to Cambridge, Tyler worked at Google in Mountain View, CA as part of Authors@Google, one of the world’s largest online lecture series. In addition he has worked as a director of digital textbooks in the field of nonprofit education, and most recently worked as a manager in online education at Stanford University.