Embracing Disruption

Return to Libraries after Lockdown

Libraries after Lockdown Virtual Collaboration 2021-2022 Embracing Disruption programme sponsored by Jisc, OCLC and Kortext


New technologies, markets and new uses for existing technologies



What is the programme about?

This programme will look at how existing and emerging technologies might be deployed to serve the needs of member libraries and their institutions over the coming months and years. We will create opportunities to share information on use cases and workflows around emerging technology and seek out examples of innovative ways of using existing systems and kit. We will use case studies and other ways of sharing experience and practice that allows members to learn from each other and will also draw on expertise from outside our immediate community. We also want to provide space for members to consider how our technological needs might change in the long term.


Programme activities

AI for libraries; Part 2 – Libraries as AI generator
Friday 27 May, 13.00 – 15.00hrs

Across the global library community there is a wealth of library-inspired AI projects now underway. They touch on all aspects of libraries roles including user support and teaching and learning; discovery; preservation and supporting scholarship. For example, libraries are using AI to deliver image tagging to aid discovery; to produce transcriptions of hand-written documents; to generate metadata for image libraries; to create chat services and to understand visitor interactions with collections.

This session considers the scope for similar initiatives at individual UK institutions and for collaborative projects across the sector.  Where can these add value for the individual institution and contribute to the collective knowledge base on AI in libraries?  What resources and support does an AI library start-up need and how can institutions support new initiatives? SCONUL members can login and watch the recording here.

AI for libraries: Part 1 – Libraries as AI customer
Thursday 5 May, 11:00 – 13:00hrs

AI tools are already in use across HE, including in libraries, and have the power to deliver improved user experiences for students and academic staff through, for example, chat services and improved and personalised recommender and discovery services. They also offer the possibility of making better use of our own user data; content creation and surfacing collections through innovative approaches to metadata generation and use.

Some libraries will choose to create their own projects and tools, but for others our primary engagement with the new technologies will be as customers. This event considers what it means to engage critically with these technologies and the possibilities and challenges that they offer. What tools do we need to assess value? How do we ensure that the products and underlying data sets we employ are ethically grounded? What do we need to do to ensure that our workforce is AI literate to an appropriate level? SCONUL members can login and watch the recording here.

Repositories and beyond – the evolving landscape
Friday 29 April, 11:00 – 13:00hrs

The UK’s repository infrastructure is ripe for redevelopment with the window for doing so now open post the 2020 REF. This event will give an overview of the current Repository and Research Information Management landscape and direction of travel, including the function of the Jisc Framework, exploring different models from open source to commercial.

Offered early in the UK post-2021 REF cycle, this discussion will be of interest to those with strategic responsibility for, or interest in, the research systems landscape and those potentially reconsidering current institutional repository and/or research information system provision. SCONUL members can login and watch the recording here.

Alternative Approaches to Discovery
Tuesday 22 March, 15.00 – 16.30

This event looked at how libraries are now as much about connecting their users with content as they are about curating it.  We heard from Martine Pronk, Head of Academic Services, University of Utrecht, about the innovative approach to discovery taken at their library, a Library which does not promote a traditional library catalogue or discovery layer.  We also heard from Andrea Chiarelli, Senior Consultant, Research Consulting about the wider discovery landscape, in particular in relation to user workflows and the open access information ecosystem. SCONUL members can login and watch the recording here.

ILL and its strategic uses for academic and research libraries
Friday 16 July 2021, 13.30 - 15.00

This event reviews recent and planned developments in the ILL landscape and current and potential use cases for ILL. It also considers the scope for open and community driven models for ILL alongside the development of private sector initiatives in the medium to long-term. Panel members speak on these issues before a wider discussion with participants. SCONUL members can login and watch the recording here.

Community of Interest Group

SCONUL has established a community of interest group on Embracing disruption: emerging technologies and systems (looking at new technologies and innovative uses of existing technologies). The focus of the group will be on knowledge exchange - sharing information and best practice between institutions and beyond. Membership is open to all staff at SCONUL member institutions who are interested in actively engaging in a conversation about the future. For further information please e-mail sconul@sconul.ac.uk