Effective contemporary strategic development requires to integrate digital transformation with efficient inclusivity and diversion components on all strategic levels – and adapting to the new conditions of the pandemic times.
Digital transformation is one of the major change agents across all sectors of human activity. For this consultancy, we adhere to the recent definition suggested by Europeana: “Digital transformation is both the process and the result of using digital technology to transform how an organisation operates and delivers value. It helps an organisation to thrive, fulfil its mission and meet the needs of its stakeholders.” Our recent contacts with various libraries show that there is a real need to provide guidance and support in digital transformation. In some cases, digital transformation is seen more narrowly as the deployment of a specific new technological development in the institutional processes and services, e.g. introducing artificial intelligence or digital twins. We do not underestimate the importance of these processes, but they are more on the technological watch and advice side.
Diversity, inclusion, anti-racism and intersectionality
Likewise, diversity and inclusion is being advocated by staff and users worldwide. This is manifested through calls to action in the form of Anti-Racism Training and an understanding of Intersectionality to eradicate structural racism and other oppressive practices and transform institutions into inclusive and fair opportunity entities. Researchers using digitised resources and datasets have a privileged and influential position to advocate equal representation through daily practices. Digital representations of artefacts inevitably include a description, captured in different metadata elements and referred in thesauri, vocabularies, ontologies and other knowledge organisation tools. These descriptions hold an authority and influence language used within the sector and beyond. As the descriptions and knowledge structures are based on assessment and also interpretation, they must be Anti-Racist and Intersectional in their approach. To support research adequately, the library sector will need to provide resources such as training and devising policies to ensure that individuals capture various views on digitised content in a balanced way.
The influence of the pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic caused significant changes in the way institutions are operating. The analysis of 77 reopening plans from libraries worldwide curated by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) identified measures deployed in the libraries across four main areas – Safety, Sanitisation, Space remodelling, and Services.
Safety measures are considerably more popular than the introduction of new library services, in most cases digital ones. The time has come to look into the adaptations of services influenced by the pandemic systematically and rigorously.
Digital transformation is a major driver for change in the institutional strategies of today. But in 2021 we also need to look into the influence and demand of the continuing pandemic and into putting all matters related to inclusivity and diversity right. We will look into more practical advice around these topics in our future blogs. Stay tuned!