Library Science Talks 2023

Tuesday, February 14, 2023 - 5:15 p.m. - Zentralbibliothek Zürich, Hermann-Escher-Saal

Reinhard Altenhöner (Permanent Representative of the Director General and Head of the Central Department, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz)

Self-organisation and cooperation using the example of the FID system in Germany: Libraries as systemic supporters of the information infrastructure

34 Specialised Information Services (SIS/FID), supported by about 20 institutions, provide researchers with fast and direct, subject-specific access to special literature and information relevant to their research. They complement the local information infrastructures at universities and research institutions. The programme, a further development of the special collections at academic libraries established since 1949, is financed by the German Research Foundation (DFG) with more than 30 million € per year. Changing framework conditions in research and science (such as cross- and transdisciplinary approaches, overarching methods in the digital transformation, research data) and the demand to effectively incorporate changed requirements as immediately as possible are changing the FID system. And although the evaluation of the individual FIDs by the DFG reviewers continues to be carried out individually, the systemic quality of the network is gaining in importance - also in the review process. Against this background, the FID libraries have been systematically cooperating with each other for several years and have created self-organisation instruments in which all FID institutions work together. The basis of the approach is an Action Plan 2022 - 24, in which the members have agreed on concrete measures. An important topic is the promotion of synergy effects in the area of technical infrastructure. The lecture presents the genesis of the network, describes challenges in the implementation and outlines the content-related and organisational perspectives of the system.

Tuesday, Mai 23, 2023 - 5:15 p.m.- Zentralbibliothek Zürich, Hermann-Escher-Saal

Daphna Blatt (New York Public Library)

Tuesday, September 12, 2023 - 5:15 p.m.- Zentralbibliothek Zürich, Hermann-Escher-Saal

Colleen Campbell (Open Access 2020 Initiative, ESAC Initiative, Max Planck Digital Library, München)

How are transformative agreements transforming libraries?

More Library Science Talks follow

Library Science Talks 2022

14 November 2022 - 17h15

José Luis Garnica Carreno (World Health Organization) 

The WHO COVID-19 Research Database 

1 December 2021 – The American Library Association (ALA) has conferred upon the World Health Organization a prestigious Choice award for the outstanding work carried out in building the WHO COVID-19 Research Database and for the excellence of its content, as part of the 2021 Outstanding Academic Titles list.Choice Magazine announces its exclusive list at the end of each year, with winners being drawn from reviews conducted during the previous twelve months. Through this award, the WHO COVID-19 Research Database is identified as being among the best in scholarly sources, which brings with it the extraordinary recognition of the academic library community.

6 September 2022 - 17h15 

Danielle Cooper (New York, Ithaka S+R)

Collaborative strategies and research for higher education and the arts (ITHAKA S+R)

Tuesday, 10 May 2022 - 17h15  

Knut Skansen (Oslo) 

The Deichman Library

Tuesday, 12 April 2022 - 17h15  

Aimee Andersen (Westminster University Libraries) 

Library Search user experience during lockdown - a UX analysis



17 November 2020: Luis Martínez-Uribe, Fundación Juan March

Libraries' adventures in data wonderland: from curation to analytics


"Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle!". Libraries have undergone big changes in little time, adapting and evolving to the new digital landscapes. Digital curation is an ever growing role for libraries, ensuring that data is looked after from the moment of creation and throughout its lifecycle adding value to it and ensuring permanent access. Curation can be augmented using analytics as these two worlds blend well at many levels. For instance, data can be curated using supervised learning to categorize it, or clustering methods that support the process of entity disambiguation, or using off-the-shelf AI for automatic transcription of audio, photo tagging, sentiment analysis or keyword extraction from text. In addition to curating data using analytics, once data is well curated, a wide range of analytical methods and tools can provide insights into the way in which our organizations work and eventually those insights can be used to guide strategy. This talk will discuss the previous views illustrating them with activities from the DataLab at the Library of Fundación Juan March, a section dedicated to curation and analytics in a cultural organization devoted to the promotion of humanistic and scientific culture.


Luis Martínez-Uribe is Data Scientist at the Fundación Juan March, a non-profit organization devoted to the promotion of humanistic and scientific culture based in Madrid, Spain. He leads the DataLab, a section of the Library dedicated to digital curation and analytic projects. Prior to this, Luis was Data Librarian at the London School of Economics and held research data management roles at the University of Oxford, Institute Juan March and the Australian National Data Service. Luis holds a BSc in Mathematics, a MSc in Information Systems and is currently undertaking a PhD in Sociology focused on the development of quantitative methods for the sociological analysis of Big Data from libraries.

12 May 2020: Esther Chen and Florian Kräutli, MPI WG Berlin

The Shift towards a Library of Data 

For many centuries, solid units of texts were the center around which libraries commonly worked and evolved. Scholarly texts developed certain formats and were published within certain workflows, both of which remained stable over a long period of time. Responsibilities within the system of scholarly publication, dissemination, and archiving were clearly distributed between scholars, publishers, and librarians. 

Over recent decades, and under the growing influence of digitization, we watch this system dissolve. Libraries are currently mid-way through a long phase of transition: this transition affects nearly all library-related fields of work, and can be described from different perspectives. One main aspect is the shift towards and the consequences of a diversification in the formats of scholarly outputs, which has invited librarians to take up new responsibilities and to broaden their expertise while transforming their libraries into libraries of data. The role of librarians within the research process is therefore changing, with new services developing in response to scholarly needs and new technical systems requiring implementation. 

In our talk we will describe practical approaches, experiences, and progress made in our research library at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in recent years.

21 April 2020: Eliane Blumer, EPFL Lausanne

Research data management at the EPFL

Research data management is part of the EPFL Library since several years. During this talk, we will take time to walk together through a typical day of the RDM team that highlights the very heterogeneous questions and support actions such a service faces.

17 December 2019: Gerhard Lauer, University of Basel (German)

Digital Humanities: neue Formen der Integration der Bibliotheken in geisteswissenschaftliche Forschungsprozesse.


Wissenschaften im 21. Jahrhundert werden als datenintensive Wissenschaften beschrieben. Das gilt im wachsenden Masse auch für die Geisteswissenschaften. Datenintensive Wissenschaften sind aber nur dann mehr als ein Versprechen, wenn sie modelliert werden können. Dazu müssen Daten ein repräsentatives und balanciertes Korpus bilden, sie müssen formalisiert, visualisiert und nachgenutzt werden können. Bibliotheken verfügen über grosse Mengen verlässliche Daten, die sich zu Korpora verdichten lassen, formalisiert und geteilt werden können. Damit werden Bibliotheken zu einem wesentlichen Teil einer datenintensiven Geisteswissenschaften. Mein Vortrag skizziert die neuen Formen der Integration der Bibliotheken in geisteswissenschaftliche Forschungsprozesse.


Gerhard Lauer ist Professor für Digital Humanities an der Universität Basel. Nach einem Studium der Germanistik, Philosophie, Musikwissenschaft und Judaistik  wurde er mit einer Arbeit zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte im Exil promoviert und einer Arbeit zur Literaturgeschichte des frühneuzeitlichen Judentums habilitiert. Von 2002 bis 2017 lehrte er Deutsche Philologie an der Universität Göttingen, seit 2017 Digital Humanities in Basel. Zuletzt erschienen „Wilhelm von Humboldt. Schriften zur Bildung“ (2017), „Johann Friedrich Blumenbach. Race and Natural History 1750-1850“,  (2019, hg. zus. mit Nicolaas Rupke), "Lesen im digitalen Zeitalter" (im Druck).

26 November 2019: Sigrun Habermann, United Nations Library, Geneva

UN Knowledge and Learning Commons

A Step in the Evolution of a Library: The Knowledge & Learning Commons of the United Nations Geneva

Located in a wing of the famous Palais des Nations, a neo-classical and art-deco building of the 1930s dedicated to peace through diplomacy, the Library of the United Nations Geneva serves diplomats, conference delegates and thousands of researchers around the world every year.
In 2019, the Library launched the Knowledge & Learning Commons for UN Geneva in its building. The initiative leverages existing spaces, information resources and learning and event management capacities and networks to encourage diplomats and staff to innovate, collaborate and co-create on topics relevant to professionals in the area of multilateralism.
This presentation will give you an insight into the concept of a library commons, the path of implementation taken at the United Nations Geneva, and the opportunities and outcomes that it can generate.

Sigrun Habermann is head of the Library Services Section of the United Nations Library Geneva, where she oversees knowledge services provided online and in person to UN staff, diplomats, and researchers from outside the organization. She also manages the Library’s flagship discussion series “Library Talks” and participates in developing and leading the “Knowledge & Learning Commons” initiative.
In previous positions, Habermann managed the League of Nations and United Nations Archives and records management service and worked in various public and academic libraries, as well as in documentation centers in Germany and the United States.
She holds a Master of Science in International Relations from Troy State University, North Carolina branch, a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the State University of New York, Albany, which she accomplished on a Fulbright scholarship, and a bachelor’s degree in information science from Hochschule der Medien, Stuttgart, Germany.

01 October 2019: Gildas Illien, Bibliothèques du Muséum national d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris

From Demat to Remat: Designing the post-digital library

Like many, the Library of the Natural History Museum in Paris has invested in the acquisition of electronic documentation and the digitization of its holdings over the past 20 years in order to match researchers’ expectations and keep up with the massive dematerialization of scientific publications and data in the field of natural sciences. And it has been quite successful indeed, since researchers barely use the physical library anymore. What should we do now with our empty seats, reading rooms and reference staff? Should we close the Library or try to think differently about its mission and services? Designing the post-digital library and revisiting the potential of its materiality is not about going backwards. The digital experience and the dematerialization of cultural transactions has impacted our users’ lives in many ways. There are things people are starting to miss, senses that need to be reactivated. What if the library could be a good place to start addressing this sense of loss and look at the physical and social experience of a reading room or the discovery and manipulation of original, heritage collections as legitimate services of their own?

Located in between green houses, exhibition galleries, a botanical garden and a zoo, the Museum’s Library keeps exceptional collections including archives, manuscripts, sculptures, drawings, photographs, scientific instruments and even dead and living animals and plants - all stored in the stacks and backstage. The caretakers of this hidden treasure are also incredible storytellers. Our vision is that the future of the Library may somehow lie behind this scene, in the emotional and material strength and inspiration of this heritage and the passion of the people in charge of their conservation. Making the library “hyper-material” again may be our chance and our next challenge. This presentation will develop the vision of a post-digital library focused on human experience and tell the story of how its team has successfully engaged major organizational changes in order to start experimenting new forms of mediation and reach a totally new public.

Gildas ILLIEN, Director of libraries, Deputy Director of collections, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris.

04 June 2019: Tuula Haavisto, City of Helsinki

The opening of the Helsinki Central Library Oodi in December 2018 was a grand event in whole Finland, gathering 55 000 people to the library during two days. More success followed, the first million of visitors was broken at the end of March 2019. The same pace is still continuing.
Very attractive to our Mayor and other politicians is the fact that Oodi brings a lot of good reputation to Helsinki. Only in 2018, the calculatory media coverage was worth of nearly 11 million euros.
This popularity is a result of decisive and ambitious planning. I would argue that this is in the air – Helsinki is not the only city building a big central library: Aarhus, Oslo, Gent... These open buildings are an answer to a clear need in the society. In practice, the success consisted of participation of citizens, quality architecture, systematic PR work and political understanding, which was greatly pushed by the covering support from citizens.
We planned a library with citizens, not for citizens. Now they really feel ownership of the library.

Tuula Haavisto is the Cultural Director of the City of Helsinki, Finland. From March 2013 to the end of July 2017, she served as the Library Director in Helsinki. Before that, she worked in the Tampere City Library in the same role. 1997-2006 Haavisto run her own consultancy ‘Tuula Haavisto Library Knowledge T:mi’, working on domestic and international projects, training and development. On 1987-97 she was the Secretary General of the Finnish Library Association. Before that period, she had librarian and researcher posts in the Ministry of Environment, Academy of Finland and others.
Ms Haavisto is Master of Social Sciences from Tampere University (1983). She has had numerous positions in professional organisations, given articles and lectures and run other activities in Finland and abroad during her career. At the moment she is Chair of the Steering Group of Data Management of the National Library of Finland.

© Tuomas Uusheimo, courtesy of oodi Helsinki

21 May 2019: Trevor Owens, Library of Congress

Die wachsende Rolle von Daten in unseren Nutzergruppen und Organisationen verlangt von uns allen, im verantwortlichen Umgang und im Erhalt digitaler Daten selbst aktiv werden. Die Herausforderung scheint gewaltig zu sein, aber die gute Nachricht ist, dass wir es nicht alleine tun müssen. Ein verteiltes Netzwerk von Fachleuten und Lernenden auf der ganzen Welt entwickeln zunehmend Wege, um gemeinsam Erfahrungen zu sammeln sowie Ressourcen zu teilen und zu bündeln. Auf diese Weise können wir die Herausforderungen angehen und einen dauerhaften Zugang zu unserem digitalen Erbe ermöglichen.

Dieser Vortrag gibt einen Überblick zu den Grundprinzipien des Datenmanagements und eine Orientierung darüber, wie man sich mit der internationalen Gemeinschaft von Experten verbinden und mit ihr zusammenarbeiten kann, um die Arbeit im verantwortlichen Umgang mit Daten und im Datenerhalt zu entwickeln und verfeinern.

Dr. Trevor Owens ist Bibliothekar, Forscher, policy maker und Dozent und arbeitet im Bereich digitale Infrastrukturen für Bibliotheken. Owens ist der erste Leiter des Digital Content Management in der Library of Congress. Darüber hinaus unterrichtet er Graduiertenseminare in digital history für das American University’s History Department und digital preservation für das University of Maryland's College of Information, in dem er auch Forschungspartner des Digital Curation Innovation Center ist.

2016 – 2018

04 Dec. 2018
Amélie Vallotton (Alliance Sud InfoDoc, CH)
«Equal before the Internet»
02 Oct 2018
Steve Dickson (FaulknerBrowns Architects, UK)
«A library for the 21st century»
04 Sept. 2018
Deborah Kyburz (ETH Zürich Library, CH)
«Marketing content and collections»
26 Jun. 2018
Daniel Himmelstein (University of
Pennsylvania, US)
«Sci-Hub and the future of publishing»
29 May 2018
Raivo Ruusalepp (National Library of Estonia)
«Digital legal deposit»
27 Mar. 2018
Emmanuelle Bermès
(Bibliothèque Nationale de France)
«Text, data and link-mining in digital libraries»
05 Dec. 2017
Jukka Relander
(EBLIDA and Finnish Library Association, FI)
«Library associations: a call to action. National advocacy and the implementation of the SDGs (the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations)»
17 Oct. 2017
Sherri Aldis (United Nations, New York, US)
«Access to UN information in the digital era: reengineering the UN depository libraries programme»
12 Sept. 2017
Daniel V. Pitti (Institute for Advanced Technology
in the Humanities, University of Virginia, US)
«Leveraging VIAF in social networks and archival context»
13 Jun. 2017
Gerald Beasley
(University of Alberta Libraries, CA)
«National archiving concepts in Canada, linked to fair dealing concept»
09 May 2017
Marie Østergård (Aarhus Public Libraries, DK)
«Dokk1: re-inventing space praxis»
28 Mar. 2017
Daniel van Spanje (OCLC Leiden, NL)
«The rise and fall of the cataloguer’s empire: an update»
05 Dec. 2016 Ruben Verborgh (Ghent University, BE)
«Linked Data and sustainable publication»
13 Sept. 2016
Courtney Mumma
(Internet Archive, San Francisco, US)
«Cooperative Collection Building at the Internet Archive»
21 Jun. 2016
Alexander Grossmann (Hochschule für Technik, Wirtschaft und Kultur Leipzig, DE)
«New perspectives in scientific publishing»