The Austin DLF Experience

Mohamed Berray
Mohamed Berray

This Forum Report was provided by Mohamed Berray, Penn State University, a 2013 ARL/DLF Underrepresented Groups Fellow.

I wish to thank the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) for sponsoring my first ever attendance to the Digital Library Federation Forum. I am honored to be one of the inaugural 2013 ARL/DLF Forum Underrepresented Group Fellows, and I applaud the noble step by DLF to increase diversity in the field of digital librarianship. The Forum gave me the opportunity to meet and interact with other librarians working on digital projects and to share lessons common to our profession.

The opening keynote address by David Lankes was inspiring, especially that he defined librarianship as a radical profession with the mission to change the world and improve society. The Forum sessions introduced me to new data management tools that will inform my work in supporting the data needs of researchers, and in ongoing preservation of, and access to, datasets at the Penn State University Libraries. Giving the changing models of scholarly communication with the advent of open access, it was particularly useful that many sessions of the conference were dedicated to the role of librarians in archiving institutional outputs in digital repositories. The sessions on Open Access, and on best practices in digital library assessment, are especially relevant to my work as a member of the Penn State University Libraries Assessment Council, and of the Libraries Open Access Committee.

One of the highlights of the DLF Forum was the Taiga 9 Forum about diversity in academic libraries. Christine Williams, Chris Bourg, Mark Puente, Courtney Young, to name a few, did a good job in facilitating an honest discussion about gender inequality, micro-aggressions, silencing, and the continuing imperative for diversity and inclusion in academic libraries. The entire conference was intellectually engaging and my attendance has offered opportunities for me to contribute to digital library projects in my area of interest. Austin is a beautiful city, and the people are very welcoming. I am very grateful for the opportunity to attend the 2013 DLF Forum, and I look forward to attending future Forums.