Prior Call for Proposals


You’ve found our original CFP, which is now closed. Please see our new CFP for our Virtual DLF Forum, open now through August 17:

The Digital Library Federation invites proposals for the 2020 DLF Forum (November 9-11) and Learn@DLF (November 8), our pre-conference workshop day, which will be held at the beautiful Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland.

A separate call will be issued for Digital Preservation 2020, the annual conference of the NDSA (November 11-12, 2020), and CLIR’s Digitizing Hidden Special Collections Symposium (November 11-12, 2020) to be held in conjunction with the Forum this year.

For all events, we encourage proposals from DLF members and non-members; conference veterans and newcomers; digital library practitioners and those in adjacent fields such as institutional research and educational technology; and early-career professionals and senior staff alike. Students, practitioners, and others from any related field are invited to submit for one conference or all (though, please submit different proposals for each). 

The deadline for all proposals is now
Monday, May 11, at 11:59pm Eastern Time.


CLIR’s DLF community works to advance research, learning, social justice, and the public good through the creative design and wise application of digital library technologies. Our annual conference, the DLF Forum (#DLFforum), brings together practitioners from digital libraries, archives, museums, and other technology-related fields of all types and sizes. As always, there is no theme to the conference in order to encourage a wide range of topics. (Some especially effective sessions from 2019 included CryptoParty and Practical Python Tools for Metadata Assessment.) We collectively work to set ambitious agendas, share new methods and experiments, develop best practices, and better organize our community to accomplish its shared mission within an intentionally accessible and inclusive space. All are welcome at the Forum and warmly encouraged to participate in CLIR’s programs year-round.  

Learn@DLF (#LearnAtDLF) is a dedicated pre-conference workshop day for digging into tools, techniques, workflows, and concepts and resulting in direct take-aways. Workshops present a wide variety of content, such as 2019’s Fundamentals of Text Mining and Pedagogy of Digital Publishing. See Submissions and Evaluations section below for more.

The DLF Forum is explicitly designed to enact and support the DLF community’s values outlined in our mission, and we strive to create a safe, accessible, welcoming, and inclusive event that reflects our Code of Conduct. Once again, this year the DLF Forum will include subsidized childcare, scholarships and discounted registration opportunities, all-gender restrooms, a quiet room, color-coded lanyards for photography preferences, badges that reflect pronouns, a fragrance-free environment, accessible spaces for all, accessibility tips for presenters and moderators, attention to dietary preferences, and other needs collected through our registration form. More information is available on our Information for Attendees page. If you have suggestions for the DLF Forum organizers or any questions about the venue before registering, please contact us at

Submissions and Evaluation

Based on community feedback and the work of our Program Committee, we welcome submissions for the Forum and Learn@DLF geared toward a practitioner audience that could include topic areas such as:

  • Technologies, infrastructure, and/or vendor relations;
  • Collections and resources;
  • Sustainability and climate change;
  • Services and programs; 
  • Policy, legal, and accessibility issues;
  • Project management, including workflows and processes; 
  • Project design and implementation;
  • Assessment; 
  • Labor, staffing, and the future of work;
  • Consortia, collaboration, and partnerships;
  • Education and/or professional development; 
  • Social contexts and ethics/responsibility; 
  • International topics; and
  • Leadership and management.

We welcome the above topics and any other topics related to the
DLF mission.

The most successful DLF sessions are inherently participatory, inclusive, and action-orientedAn interactive session engages and activates participants from the start, inspiring them to make and do rather than simply listen and watch. An inclusive session welcomes participants of different backgrounds, experience levels, and disciplines. An action-oriented session includes clear take-aways that participants may be able to implement at their own institutions. The strongest proposals will clearly articulate plans for sessions addressing the above points. We also welcome community-spirited proposals by digital library practitioners from the commercial sector; however, please note that exhibiting sponsor tables are available for promoting or selling products or services.  

New this year, we’ve put together a video with some tips for successful conference proposals. We encourage everyone to watch and incorporate these suggestions clearly into your submissions. Watch the video here:   


Again this year, we’ve incorporated a few additional parameters into our CFP to foster well-balanced sessions and represent as many voices as possible:

  • While there is no limit to the number of authors listed on a project, this year each submission type lists a maximum number of presenters. 
  • Further, we strongly prefer that individuals present only once at the 2020 DLF Forum, whether one is the submitting speaker or a secondary speaker, though there is no limit to the number of non-presenting collaborators or co-authors for each presentation. The speaking limit restriction does not apply to co-organizing Working Breakfast / Lunch sessions, presenting a Lightning Talk, presenting a Poster, or two-part Learn@DLF sessions.
  • We know how much the DLF community values discussion and Q&A, and some of our submission formats lend themselves better to that than others. This year, we’ve indicated which formats are intended to include Q&A or open-ended discussion and which are not. We plan to do our best to schedule those sessions without Q&A ahead of breaks and meals to provide opportunities to continue discussion.
  • We’ll be adding some experimental opportunities for conversation outside of the program schedule. Be on the lookout for those when the program is released this summer!

Submission formats

Submissions are invited in the following lengths and formats:

At Learn@DLF, November 8:

3-hour Workshops: In-depth, hands-on training sessions on specific tools, techniques, workflows, or concepts. No more than 5 leaders are allowed per submission. As is natural to a workshop format, Q&A and discussion will be incorporated throughout. All workshop organizers are asked to provide details on technology needed, participant proficiency level, and learning outcomes for participants. Workshops must be interactive and inclusive, and the strongest proposals will demonstrate this clearly. Please be aware that Learn@DLF requires a separate registration fee from the DLF Forum, with meals and breaks included. Interested in presenting something longer? Consider submitting a ‘part I’ (morning session) and ‘part II’ (afternoon session).

At the DLF Forum, November 9-11:

  • 45-minute Panels: A panel discussion of 3-4 speakers on a unified topic, with an emphasis on audience participation. A maximum of 4 speakers is allowed per submission. Proposals with representative and inclusive speaker involvement will be favored by the committee, and all-male-identifying panels will not be accepted. Panel organizers should reserve at least 8-10 minutes at the end of all presentations for Q&A, including interactive exchanges on next steps, possible DLF community action, and discussion or debate. The main goals of the panel format at the DLF Forum are to bring together diverse perspectives on a topic and to engage in a community discussion of these approaches or findings. 
  • 45-minute Workshops: Hands-on training sessions on specific tools, techniques, workflows, or concepts. No more than 5 leaders are allowed per submission. All workshop organizers are asked to provide details on technology needs and learning outcomes for participants. Workshops must be interactive, and the strongest proposals will demonstrate this clearly.
  • New this year! 45-minute Unconference Sessions: Have a topic you’d like to discuss with other interested parties? Propose an unconference session and work together to solve a problem, analyze an idea, and determine future actions. No more than 2 leaders are allowed per submission. If you prepare a presentation, keep it very brief; this format is intended to be conversational and inherently interactive in nature.
  • 15-minute Presentations: A presentation by 1-3 speakers with an emphasis on audience participation. A maximum of 3 speakers is allowed per submission. Presentations will be grouped by DLF based on overarching themes or ideas. Speakers should reserve at least 5 minutes of their time for Q&A, including interactive exchanges on next steps, possible DLF community action, and discussion or debate.
  • Snapshot Sevens: A riff on snapshots offered at past DLF Forums, this year we welcome submissions of 7-minute talks with a twist: each will be composed of 14 slides that auto-advance every 30 seconds. Each high-powered Snapshot Sevens session will include up to seven talks meant to engage, inform, and energize the audience with reports of work in progress, new technologies and services, questions or provocations, and more—with strict time parameters to ensure concise information sharing. No more than 2 speakers are allowed per submission. Snapshot Sevens will be grouped by DLF based on overarching themes or ideas and will not include time for Q&A (though they will likely be situated ahead of breaks so as to encourage continuing conversation after a session’s end). Speakers are encouraged to provide contact information and links to projects and further materials.
  • Two-minute Lightning Talks: High-profile, high-energy lightning talks held in plenary (ie. not competing with other sessions), with the opportunity to point listeners to contact information and additional materials online. No more than 2 speakers are allowed per submission. While Q&A will not be formally incorporated into the Lightning Talk session, we welcome and encourage discussion at the subsequent reception. Lightning Talk presenters are guaranteed the opportunity to present a poster, though a poster is not mandatory.
  • Posters: Poster presenters will have the opportunity to interact with symposium participants during the reception (on the evening of November 9) to discuss their poster topics and/or demonstrate tools or services they have developed or are using in their library or archives. Presenters will be responsible for printing and transporting their posters. More detailed instructions will be provided upon acceptance. 
  • 60-minute Breakfast/Lunch Working Sessions: Use the Forum to organize and get stuff done! These are birds-of-a-feather sessions for community organizers, creative problem solvers, and existing or prospective DLF interest and working groups and are open to everyone. Participants eat together while discussing a specific challenge or issue that would benefit from a collective approach.

Proposals of up to 250 words each (up to 500 words for 45-minute sessions and Learn@DLF workshops) should be submitted along with a 50-word short abstract for the program, using our online system:

The deadline for all proposals is now
Monday, May 11, at 11:59pm Eastern Time.

As in previous years, all submissions will be peer-reviewed. As always, broader DLF community input will also be welcomed through an open community voting process to be announced in mid-May, the results of which will help inform the Program Committee’s final decisions. Presenters will be notified in June and guaranteed a discounted registration slot at the Forum. Please note that this timeline may change.

Interested in being part of the review process? You’ll have a chance to let us know later this spring.

New this year: Connect with proposal collaborators for sessions and workshops using our Google sheet. This document is not monitored by CLIR+DLF staff or the Forum Program Committee and is not a part of the official submission process.

Questions? You can reach us at

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