This Community Spotlight was provided by Molly Schwartz, National Digital Stewardship Resident at the Library of Congress & ARL.
The first day of the DLF Forum 2013 in Austin, Texas started off with a jolt of energy, enthusiasm, and brave new ideas. Dr. R. David Lankes delivered a provocative keynote address via Skype that had the entire DLF community buzzing, whether they were watching from the amphitheater or their laptops, and shooting off questions on Twitter. Dr. Lankes challenged the concept that librarians are unbiased organizers of information and instead put forward the assertion that the purpose of our profession is to facilitate conversations, introduce people to new information and new ways of interpreting, and change the world. His enthusiasm and high ideals ignited the audience and carried through the entire day of interactive sessions.
Even though the 2013 Forum is unprecedented in size, having sold out to over 360 attendees, most attendees agree that what draws them to this conference is the strong sense of community. Attendees come to the forum from as far away as Singapore and as close as the University of Texas, for the first time or the fourth, with a deep knowledge base in all different areas of digital librarianship and an excitement to convene with and learn from others in the field. The variety in session formats, from traditional panels to breakout discussion groups, kept the pace interesting and already started to generate ideas for new initiatives, such as a deep dive into assessments of digital humanities projects. As Scott Young, a Digital Initiatives Librarian at Montana State University, put it, “We are better together.” This is the spirit and camaraderie that one feels on the first day of the DLF Forum— hopefully to grow and strengthen as the forum continues.