Research Libraries UK

Digital Shift Forum – Innovation in collections and practices through cross-sector collaboration

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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.

Joining details:

This event will be held via Zoom webinar. Joining details will be sent by email the day before the event – please check your junk folder if no email is received. Attendees should ensure their email address is entered correctly in the registration form.

Archive Catalogues as Data: Reimagining Archival Practice

Caroline Bolton, Archivist, Special Collections, University of Leeds

To manage collections, we create metadata rich catalogues for both analogue and digital collections. Often, they remain untapped resources for researchers; narrative, un-licensed and obscured behind curated catalogue interfaces with limited opportunity for re-use. The aim of the Fellowship was to explore the practicalities and benefits of an alternative approach, – by making legacy and new catalogues more structured, available as open, reusable and licensed data. How this might enhance access routes into collections, improve discoverability and facilitate new insights that could support both digital scholarship and collections development and management? In exploring the possibilities for collection metadata to be re-used, analysed, mined, enhanced and visualised the focus was on the opportunities that more accessible web based, open-source, intuitive data tools (requiring no coding) might offer archivists and researchers in navigating the digital shift.


Sex work and the State: Collaboration, ethics and ‘challenging’ histories

Vicky Iglikowski-Broad, Principal Diverse Histories Records Specialist, The National.

Archival records tend to be their most powerful, when united with current perspectives and lived experience. This often presents ethical challenges, particularly with sensitive research topics and traditionally marginalised audiences. This paper will explore research findings on this theme, from a professional fellowship with the Wellcome Collection on collaboration and challenging histories. The piece of work used the sample theme of sex work and the state as its focus, to show a case study in context. This paper will share some of the wider research findings from the fellowship, and reflect on how, against the odds, sex worker agency and experiences can still be found in a government archive.


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

Jennie’s project looked at how to use archival and special collections material innovatively to develop resources for secondary schools, with the purpose of encouraging greater participation in higher education from low participating neighbourhoods. This focused on the creation of an in-house and digital resource plus the question of how to collect data which would assess its use. The project aligned with Durham University’s aim in the area.

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