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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. 


We will be announcing new Digital Shift Forum events soon. Please keep checking back on this page or follow #RLUKDSF.

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


Andrew Cox, senior lecturer, information school, University of Sheffield

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The academic library and Artificial Intelligence: some possible futures

15 September 2021, 14.00-15.00 (BST)

The term “artificial intelligence” has many meanings, past and present.  In its current guise it has many potential applications in HE. An important aspect of this is the increasing use of data science techniques, such as machine learning, in research across all disciplines: from digital humanities, computational social science through to more obvious applications in the sciences. As data science skills are increasingly in demand in many sectors of the economy so there is an employability driver for it being taught in many disciplines. There are a number of ways academic libraries are already and could in the future be involved in supporting this activity: such as through providing content, licensing proprietary platforms or participating in academic led support communities. This talk presents the options and offers an analysis of which are most likely, drawing on an understanding of the professional knowledge base, balanced with a sense of wider institutional demands.

Andrew Cox  is a senior lecturer at the Information School, University of Sheffield. He is the school’s director of research. His research interests include the study of library support to research data management and the application of AI in eduction and in the information professions. He is author of the report: “The impact of AI, machine learning, automation and robotics on the information professions: A report for CILIP”


Making the Digital Shift Visible:  Postprint and Its Implications

20 October 2021, 14.00-15.00 (BST)

From a book buyer’s perspective, print books nowadays seem very much like print books in 1950, or even 1900.  What strategies can we use to foreground the profound changes that have taken place with the advent of digital technologies?  This talk will introduce the concept of postprint and illustrate with examples from my most recent book, Postprint:  Books and Becoming Computational.  Topics include transitions in how academic presses view their work, how academic careers are changing shape as scholars move from (or between) books and scholarly websites, and changes within print technologies themselves.

N. Katherine Hayles is the Distinguished Research Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the James B. Duke Professor Emerita from Duke University.  She researches the relations of literature, science and technology in the 20th and 21st centuries.  Her twelve print books include Postprint: Books and Becoming Computational (Columbia, 2021), Unthought: The Power of the Cognitive Nonconscious (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2017) and How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis (Univ. of Chicago Press 2015), in addition to over 100 peer-reviewed articles.  Her books have won several prizes, including  The Rene Wellek Award for the Best Book in Literary Theory for How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Literature, Cybernetics and Informatics, and the Suzanne Langer Award for Writing Machines.  She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  She is currently at work on Technosymbiosis: Futures of the Human.

N. Katherine Hayles is the Distinguished Research Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the James B. Duke Professor Emerita from Duke University

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