Mission and Community
The Digital Library Federation is a robust and ever more diverse and inclusive community of practitioners who advance research, learning, social justice, and the public good through the creative design and wise application of digital library technologies.
Our member institutions make the work of the DLF possible, supporting community efforts in a variety of research and prototyping, information sharing, staff development, networking, and catalytic initiatives. However, individuals are invited to participate in DLF working groups and events regardless of institutional status. DLF serves all who are invested in the success of libraries, museums, and archives in the digital age.
What We Do
DLF promotes work on the following:
- Open digital library standards, software, interfaces, infrastructure, and best practices
- Digital stewardship and curation, including research data management and aggregation and preservation services for digital collections
- Digital humanities and other practices and services that expand access to resources and open new opportunities for research, teaching, and learning
- Education, professional development, lifelong learning, and the growth of the field
- Strengthened connections among digital library practitioners and allied or related professions, sectors, and areas of research
- The social contexts and human and environmental impact of digital library work
- Community-driven frameworks for policy advocacy, professional standards, ethics, issues of representation and diversity, labor, inclusion, and other matters of concern to digital library practitioners and the people and publics we serve
Our in-person meetings and year-round working groups provide opportunities for DLF members to collaborate and get stuff done. Meanwhile, DLF staff and their colleagues at CLIR design and administer supportive programs that meet community needs.
We do this through our support for groups, large and small, who use DLF as a framework to get things done — from active DLF interest groups in topics like digital library assessment, pedagogy, and project management; to our hosting of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance and all of its programs, our own DLF eResearch Network, and the Code4Lib list; to our sponsorship and support for an ever-changing array conferences and events; and our fostering of digital library communities of practice, as among liberal arts colleges and museum libraries in our membership.
In addition, DLF frequently partners with and offers assistance to projects that matter to the digital library community. This support can take the form of sponsorships and dedicated travel grants, project incubation and collaboration, space and logistical assistance for events, fiscal management, and other public or behind-the-scenes partnerships and services. Recent examples include work with CURATEcamp, the Taiga Forum, Open Repositories, DPLA, DHSI, OpenCon, ARCS, code4lib, ER&L, VRA, Openlab, DPN, AMIA and the AMIA-DLF Hack Day, ARL, ACRL interest groups, the ACCESS conference, HILT, the TEI Libraries SIG, DataONE, the LODLAM Summit, the LGT Summit, and more. Beginning in January of 2016, after a nationwide search, DLF became the institutional home of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance.
DLF and CLIR
DLF serves its parent organization, the Council on Library and Information Resources, as the place where CLIR’s broader information-community strategies are informed and enriched by digital library practice. DLF connects CLIR’s vision and research agenda with our active practitioner network, and brings the insights of the DLF community to bear. DLF is a place where big ideas can be road-tested, but also from which they can emerge, shaping new strategic directions for the entire community.
In addition, we partner closely on key CLIR initiatives related to DLF’s mission, in order to provide advice and expertise to CLIR from the digital library community, as well as connections and opportunities for our members. Chief among these are:
- CLIR’s Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives grants
- our shared program of CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellowships in Data Curation
- and a developing initiative to help foster and create, despite great challenges and as a tool for preservation and peace, a large-scale digital library of the Middle East.
The Digital Library Federation is led by Dr. Bethany Nowviskie, with guidance provided by CLIR’s president and Board of Directors and a distinguished DLF Advisory Committee, in response and support of the work and contributions of DLF community members. Programmatic directions and initiatives are driven by year-round community engagement and discussions at the annual DLF Forum. Funding for DLF initiatives comes from membership dues and grants.
The DLF Forum
DLF programs stretch year-round, but we are perhaps best known for our signature event, the annual DLF Forum. Our DLF Forum includes digital library practitioners from member institutions and the broader community, for whom it serves as a meeting place, a marketplace of ideas, and a community congress. As a meeting place, the DLF Forum provides an opportunity for our Advisory Committee, working groups, and community members to conduct their business and present their work. As a marketplace or bazaar, the Forum provides an opportunity for community members to share experiences and practices with one another and support a broader level of information sharing among professional staff. As a congress, the Forum provides an opportunity for the DLF to continually review and assess its programs and its progress with input from the community at large.