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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. 


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.

Sign up to the RLUKDSF mailing list

RLUKDSF on demand

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

RLUKDSF on Demand


Innovation in collections and practices through cross-sector collaboration: the RLUK/TNA professional fellows share their work

28 September 2021, 14.00-15.30 (BST)

This webinar brings together the recently graduated RLUK/ TNA professional fellows to discuss the results of their projects. They raise issues around cultural collections and their audiences and the role of collections in engaging with underrepresented groups and addressing current societal problems. The work conducted by the RLUK/TNA fellows is a great example of how cross-sector collaboration can facilitate innovation in collections and practices in libraries and archives.

More information about the RLUK/TNA Professional Fellowship Scheme can be found here.

Archive Catalogues as Data: Reimagining Archival Practice
Caroline Bolton, Archivist, Special Collections, University of Leeds

Sex work and the State: Collaboration, ethics and ‘challenging’ histories
Vicky Iglikowski-Broad, Principal Diverse Histories Records Specialist, The National Archives.

Examining the best practice of archives and libraries in developing and delivering an online and in house session for secondary school aged students, with an emphasis on widening participation in the University.
Jennie Aspinall, Assistant Learning Officer, Library and Heritage Collections, University of Durham

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Tony Zanders, Founder and CEO, Skilltype 

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Future-proofing the research library: Designing talent strategy for 2030 and beyond

29 September 2021, 14.00-15.00 (BST)

In a matter of weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic made the handbook for operating research libraries obsolete. Austerity measures, coupled with sudden demand for specialised skills, placed talent strategy under a microscope as organisations worked to provide service continuity. The result was not a mere reshuffling of existing personnel, but a radical rethinking of library services in a digital-first scholarly experience. Join award-winning software entrepreneur and library technology executive Tony Zanders to discuss the state of library talent management in the fourth industrial revolution. Attendees will receive an international scan of the key movements, challenges, and opportunities leaders are witnessing within the skills landscape. Observations on how our workforce is changing, and how it needs to change further will be shared.

Tony Zanders is an award-winning software entrepreneur and library technology executive,  currently serving as the founder and CEO of Skilltype — a software platform for information professionals and their teams to analyze, develop, and share expertise. Prior to Skilltype, Zanders served as the inaugural entrepreneur-in-residence at the Boston University Libraries, advised the senior leadership team on talent and the future of work. For nine years, he held executive roles at EBSCO and Ex Libris, where he consulted library leaders across six continents on technology strategy.

Tony is a frequent speaker and writer in library and higher education communities. Zanders is an honors graduate from Washington and Jefferson College, where he double majored in English and Philosophy, and was awarded the college’s Young Alumni Award in 2015. A proud native of New Orleans, Louisiana, he currently lives in Louisiana with his wife and children.


Introducing Skilltype: Modern talent management for the global GLAM sector

6 October 2021, 14.00-15.00 (BST)

People are the research library’s most valuable resource, as evidenced by their position as the top budgetary expenditure. But the methods designed to manage people from recruitment through retirement were developed under an entirely different set of assumptions than today. In 2018, a group of nine research libraries collaborated to fund research and development of a new software platform created to modernise the infrastructure used to manage information professionals. Concluding in June 2020, this two-year process produced Skilltype – a cloud-based software platform for information professionals and their teams to analyse, develop, and share expertise. Join founder and CEO Tony Zanders for an overview and demonstration of how the platform addresses modern talent management use cases including internal talent identification, skills gap analysis, personalised employee development, consortial expertise sharing, and more.

Tony Zanders, Founder and CEO, Skilltype 

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

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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.

Joint VDB-RLUK event

22 October 2021

Details will be confirmed soon.


Charlotte Roueché, Professor Emeritus of Digital Hellenic Studies, King’s College London

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? What is a Library?

3 November 2021, 14.00-15.00 (GMT)

The word ‘Library’ is rather like ‘School’: it a word which has been used over centuries to describe a variety of entities. The meaning is determined by who you are, and when you are using it – and the meaning before 2020 may well be different from the meaning in 2021.

What are the essential functions of a library? In the journey of knowledge, what is the difference between a library and a publisher? I would like to explore these meanings with librarians, since it seems to me that the Library of the Future depends on the Librarian of the Future.

Charlotte Roueché works on texts – inscribed or in manuscripts – from the Roman, late Antique and Byzantine periods. She is particularly interested in the interface between Digital Humanities and Classical and Byzantine studies, exploring how digital tools and digital publication can be used to break down barriers between disciplines, and between scholars across the world.


8 December 2021, 14.00-15.00 (GMT)

Details to be confirmed soon

Christopher (Cal) Lee is Professor at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He teaches courses and workshops in archives and records management; understanding information technology for managing digital collections; and adapting digital forensics methods to support curation of born-digital materials.  His primary research focus is the long-term curation of digital collections.  Cal has served as Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator of numerous digital curation research and education projects.  He is a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists and recently completed his term as editor of American Archivist.

Christopher (Cal) Lee, Professor, UNC School of Information and Library Science