Research Libraries UK (RLUK), in collaboration with the School of Advanced Study, University of London (SAS), and members of a working group convened by the International Alliance of Research Library Associations (IARLA), is delighted to be launching a new international survey aiming to explore the academic awareness, experience, and perception of Virtual Reading Rooms (VRRs) and Virtual Teaching Spaces (VTSs).

VRRs and VTSs enable new forms of remote access to library and archive collections. However, it is vital that we hear from the research, teaching, and student community both about how they have used services of this kind and how they might use them in the future. Understanding the user perspective is essential for improving and further developing VRR and VTS services with the purpose of meeting the needs of our communities.

What do we mean by Virtual Reading Room and Virtual Teaching Spaces?

This survey asks a series of questions about academic use of and engagement with Virtual Reading Rooms (VRRs) and Virtual Teaching Spaces (VTSs).

VRRs enable remote access to archives, special collections and museum objects using visualisers and live streaming, linking a remote researcher directly with the materials of their choice for a real time consultation. They offer bespoke, humanly-mediated, remote digital access which does not depend on digitisation. 

Scholars, teachers or members of the public can use VRRs to consult and digitally engage with an institution’s heritage and cultural collections remotely, asking for these to be handled and examined by a member of staff, to support their research or learning.

VTSs also provide human-mediated remote digital access to collections which does not depend on digitisation. VTSs constitute valuable routes through which archives, special collections, museums and galleries can engage with diverse groups through remote, virtual learning sessions.

We welcome submissions from academics, researchers, and postgraduate students from around the world who would be willing to 

  • Share their experiences of using VRRs and VTSs
  • Share their perceptions of VRRs and VTSs (if they haven’t used them)

The results of this survey will be published by RLUK and made available to the community. It will complement RLUK’s work in the area of the development and delivery of Virtual Reading Rooms (VRRs) and Virtual Teaching Spaces (VTSs). 

Survey link:
Time to complete the survey: 10-15 minutes
Survey closes: Friday 6th May

If you are a regular academic user of VRRs or VTSs and you would like to share your experience in more detail, please also complete the Academic Champion Profile survey:

For any questions, please contact: Christina Kamposiori, RLUK,