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.
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.
The Digital Shift Forum is open to all, and you do not need to belong to an RLUK member institution to attend or participate.
Managing the digital dystopia
Claire Warwick, Professor of Digital Humanities, Durham University
18 November 2020, 14:00 – 15:00
Digital is in danger of acquiring a bad rep. Over the last few months unprecedented numbers of people have become accustomed to living and working online, and not all of them enjoy it. They have found during the pandemic, the experience of interaction online, whether with other people, or with information is very different from what we do in person. And this experience is seldom compared favourably to physical, ‘real’ interaction. Thanks to the A level algorithm, all algorithms have come to be regarded with massive scepticism, to the extent that some local authorities have abandoned their use in welfare management. Social media is increasingly associated with deadly misinformation and hate speech, leading to boycotts by users, advertisers and even celebrities, bloggers and YouTubers. Yet, as librarians and information professionals know very well, digital delivery is ideal for certain types of information, such as journal articles or digital images of rare manuscripts. Digital allows us to interact with such materials in new and exciting ways. But how should we proceed, in an environment where our users may increasingly regard digital interaction and computational techniques with scepticism or even hostility? I’d like to explore some of these questions, based on the research I have done on the way that we interact with digital and physical information environments, especially in terms of emotion and affect.