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 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 provide time and space for wide-ranging, inter-disciplinary discussions regarding the future of the digital shift, and 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) and in a co-authored chapter ‘Covid-19 and the Future of the Digital Shift amongst Research Libraries: An RLUK Perspective in Context‘, New Review of Academic Librarianship (November 2021).

RLUKDSF mailing list

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

RLUKDSF on demand

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

MARCH 2024

Digital GLAM III – IIIF Knowledge Cafe

Wednesday 6 March 2024, 14:00 – 15:00 (GMT), 15:00 – 16:00 (CET), 16:00 – 17:00 (EET/SAST), 09:00 – 10:00 (EST), 22:00 – 23:00 (AWST/CST)

The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) is a set of open standards for delivering high-quality, attributed digital objects online at scale. It’s also an international community developing and implementing the IIIF APIs.

We invite you to join us at the virtual IIIF Knowledge Cafe, an event that will bring together colleagues from across the GLAM sector for peer-to-peer sharing of ideas, experiences, best practice, and collaborative learning.

This is an excellent opportunity to connect with and gain practical insights from those who are either at the start or already implementing IIIF for their collections. You will also find out more about IIIF tools, resources and community spaces that can help you and your organisation.

MARCH 2024

Reflections on Repository Infrastructure

Wednesday 13 March 2024, 14:00 – 16:00 (GMT), 15:00 – 17:00 (CET), 16:00 – 18:00 (EET/SAST), 10:00 – 12:00 (EDT), 07:00 -09:00 (PDT), 22:00 – 00:00 (AWST/CST)

This joint RLUK and Open Repositories event will provide an opportunity to share reflections on our repository infrastructure. The first talk will be delivered by Professor Hussein Suleman whose research is situated within the Digital Libraries Laboratory in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Cape Town. Professor Suleman gave the closing keynote at Open Repositories 2023. His talk will inspire and challenge us – and  encourage us to think broadly about the ways repositories enable discoverability and interoperability of information and data within the structured web of data.

The second talk will be from Stefano Cossu, Harvard University. Stefano will share key takeaways and updates on Harvard’s Digital Repository Service (DRS) Futures Project. The DRS has provided digital preservation and access to Harvard’s library and archival collections for 22 years. The once cutting-edge technology supporting this service has gradually aged and is due for a redesign. In approaching this major institutional challenge, which affects over 60 Harvard departments and uncountable external users of their data, Harvard have taken an innovative approach not only in the technology or production practices, but also in the modes of collaboration, information gathering and audience targeting.

Earlier versions of these talks were presented at Open Repositories 2023, in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

The session will be chaired by Torsten Reimer, University Librarian and Dean of the University Library at the University of Chicago. Torsten is the current chair of the Open Repositories Steering Committee.

Professor Hussein Suleman is the Dean of Science at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. His research is situated within the Digital Libraries Laboratory in the Department of Computer Science, with a focus on digital libraries, ICT4D, African language Information Retrieval, cultural heritage preservation, Internet technology and educational technology. He has in the past worked extensively on architecture, scalability and interoperability issues related to digital library systems.  He has worked closely with international and national partnerships for metadata archiving, including: the Open Archives Initiative; Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations; and the NRF-CHELSA South African National ETD Project. His recent research has a growing emphasis on the relationship between low resource environments and digital library architectures. This has evolved into a focus on societal development and its alignment with digital libraries and information retrieval. He is currently collaborating with various colleagues in digital humanities groups to develop a proof-of-concept and experimental low-resource software toolkit for digital repositories; this reconceptualision of the architecture of digital repositories will arguably lower the bar for adoption and reduce the risk of data loss for archivists in low-resource environments.

Stefano Cossu joined Harvard in 2022 as the Digital Repository Architect for DRS Futures, a task force in charge of re-imagining and re-engineering the University Library’s digital preservation system. Before his current role, Stefano worked as a Software Architect at the Getty Trust and as Director of Application Services, Collections at the Art Institute of Chicago. In all these roles Stefano has researched and promoted community-supported technology, sustainability practices, and a focus on cultural heritage and academic challenges in IT. Stefano has been an active participant in communities such as IIIF, Fedora, Samvera, and OCFL at the technical, community, and strategic level for over 10 years.

Dr. Torsten Reimer is University Librarian and Dean of the University Library at the University of Chicago. With a background in digital scholarship and research infrastructures, Torsten’s career is focused on making the global knowledge environment more open.