Previous Code of Conduct

This is DLF’s Code of Conduct prior to its revision in 2020. The most up-to-date version is available here.

About the DLF

The Digital Library Federation (DLF) is committed to creating and supporting inclusive, diverse, and equitable communities of practice. We strive to be a welcoming organization and the focal point for a digital library culture that is anti-oppression, recognizes intersectionalities, and works compassionately across difference. Together, DLF members advance research, learning, social justice, and the public good through the creative design and wise application of digital library technologies. We know that the best problem-solving and critical thinking happens when people with a wide array of experiences and perspectives come together to work in comfort and safety as peers. We therefore expect participants in the DLF community to help create thoughtful and respectful environments where that interaction can take place.

How to Be

DLF is dedicated to providing collaborative and conference experiences that are free from all forms of harassment, and inclusive of all people. Small actions you can take will help us meet this goal. For instance, we suggest: listening as much as you speak and remembering that colleagues may have expertise you are unaware of; encouraging and yielding the floor to those whose viewpoints may be under-represented in a group; using welcoming language, for instance by honoring pronoun preferences and favoring gender-neutral collective nouns (“people,” not “guys”); accepting critique graciously and offering it constructively; giving credit where it is due; seeking concrete ways to make physical spaces and online resources more universally accessible; and staying alert, as Active Bystanders, to the welfare of those around you.

Likewise, it is important to understand the range of behaviors that may constitute harassment. Harassment can include unwelcome or offensive verbal comments or nonverbal expressions related to: age; appearance or body size; employment or military status; ethnicity; gender identity or expression; individual lifestyles; marital status; national origin; physical or cognitive ability; political affiliation; sexual orientation; race; or religion. Harassment can also include use of sexual and/or discriminatory images in public spaces (including online); deliberate intimidation; stalking; following; harassing photography or recording; sustained disruption of talks or other events; bullying behavior; inappropriate physical contact; and unwelcome sexual attention.

Sexual, discriminatory, or potentially triggering language and imagery is generally inappropriate for any DLF event venue, including talks. However, this policy is not intended to constrain responsible scholarly or professional discourse and debate. We welcome engagement with difficult topics, done with respect and care.

What to Do

That said, we will not tolerate harassment of DLF community members in any form. If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of the DLF staff or a designated community volunteer immediately.

On site, DLF staff and official community volunteers can be identified by their name badges and white lanyards. They will assist participants by contacting hotel/venue security or local law enforcement, providing escorts, or otherwise helping those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event.

To report incidents after our events, in online venues, or on-site but in the absence of a staff member, please call/text DLF Staff at (732) 737-7328 or email However, if you or others are in imminent danger, please first phone emergency services at 911.

During the DLF Forum and allied conferences, in addition to reporting incidents in person, please consult any additional resources and links provided by local organizers and hosts. If you would prefer not to contact DLF staff and leadership directly, you may write to the chair of our independent DLF Advisory Committee and/or to individual Community Advisors on the committee.

All reports and inquiries will be handled in confidence.

Participants at the DLF Forum or any other DLF-hosted discussion or event (held online or in person, including DLF-sponsored social events) who are asked to stop harassing or intimidating behaviors are expected to comply immediately. Those who who violate our code of conduct may be warned, sanctioned, or expelled at the discretion of the organizers.

We value your presence and constructive participation in our shared community, and thank you for your attention to the comfort, safety, and well-being of fellow DLF collaborators and attendees.


Sources of inspiration

Geek Feminism; DHSI; Code4Lib; ALA; LITA; AMIA; SAA; US OpenGLAM; ADHO; Recurse Center; Contributor Covenant; Vox Media; Scholars’ Lab. DLF thanks our 2016 Forum Inclusivity Committee and DLF Advisory Committee community advisors for work on this document. Previous version here.

You’re Invited to Modify and Re-Use

This document has been made available under a CC-BY-NC 4.0 license. Please feel free to adapt and re-use for your conference or event! We suggest altering the first section (“About DLF”) to reflect your group’s own mission statement and self-identity, and appreciate acknowledgments.


  • Updated to include mention of Active Bystanders as well as information on reporting incidents outside of the customary staff reporting line, March 2018.
  • Updated with 24/7 emergency number, October 2017.
  • Read about our major 2016 revision process here.

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