DLF Code of Conduct

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, anti-racist, 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.

This Code of Conduct applies to all meetings, events, working groups, and other activities organized through the DLF, including those taking place in-person or online.

Code of Conduct video transcript

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 using an individual’s stated pronouns 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. 

Harassing behavior may relate 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 include unwelcome or offensive verbal or written comments or nonverbal expressions, used in person or online, in private or in public.

Examples of harassment can include:

  • use of sexual and/or discriminatory images in public spaces (including online); 
  • deliberate intimidation; 
  • stalking; 
  • following; 
  • trolling;
  • 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 venue. 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

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, follow the procedures outlined below.


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 violate our Code of Conduct may be warned 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.

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

In Person

On-site, CLIR/DLF staff can be identified by their name badges and white lanyards. Active bystanders or those experiencing harassment themselves may elect to have an in-person, confidential conversation with a staff member. Staff will then assist participants by taking incident reports, providing escorts as needed, or otherwise helping those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event.

During the in-person DLF Forum and allied conferences, in addition to reporting incidents in person, consult any additional resources and links provided by local organizers and hosts. 


For DLF online events and meetings, CLIR/DLF encourages the following options for reporting harassment:

  • Send an email to respect@clir.org. Four CLIR/DLF staff receive messages sent to this address.
  • Call or text CLIR/DLF staff at 732-737-7328 (732-RESPECT). This number will be continuously monitored during programming and occasionally monitored outside of programming hours.
  • Use the anonymous reporting form. Four CLIR/DLF staff receive messages sent via this form.

All reports and inquiries will be handled in confidence.

Sources of inspiration

Geek Feminism; DHSI; Code4Lib; ALA; LITA; AMIA; SAA; ADHO; Recurse Center; Contributor Covenant; Vox Media; Scholars’ Lab. DLF thanks our Committee for Equity and Inclusion, our 2020 Forum Inclusivity Committee, and DLF Advisory Committee Community Advisors for work on this document. Previous versions here (pre-2016) and here (March 2018 update).

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 “About DLF” section to reflect your group’s own mission statement and self-identity, and the “What to Do” section with specific actions and contacts relevant to your organization. Lastly, we appreciate acknowledgments.


  • Updated with clarifying language, September 2020.
  • 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.
Skip to content