2023 WLIC, Rotterdam,

Twenty-First Century Description for Heritage Collections: Changing Perspectives, Changing Language, Changing Cultures

The IFLA Rare Books and Special Collections Section are seeking proposals for papers to be presented at their Open Session at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2023 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Cataloguers and curators of heritage collections have to deal with catalogues of their collections that include language now considered unacceptable or inadequate, partial perspectives, or significant gaps in their information. Not only collections themselves but also descriptions created by the institutions that preserve them can show bias and deficiency in questions of genre, culture or history, and eventually offensive terminology.

The RBSC open session will focus on these catalogues and descriptions and how cataloguers and curators are addressing these challenges; we are looking for short presentations in English (10-15 minutes) of projects or lines of work aimed at problematic language, controversial heritage or a broader and more inclusive change in approach and terminology.

We would like to invite papers on the following themes:

  • Transforming vocabulary, enriching information: identifying and changing offensive terms; addressing and describing previously invisible or underrepresented aspects, groups or collections
  • Describing and presenting problematic heritage
  • Decolonizing descriptions of collections

Proposals must be submitted in an electronic format and must include the following information:

  • Title of proposed presentation
  • Abstract of the proposed paper (no more than 500 words)
  • Name(s) of presenters and positions and or titles
  • Employer or affiliated institution
  • Contact information including email address and telephone number
  • Short biographical statement of no more than 100 words
  • Note a willingness to comply with IFLA’s Authors’ Permission: papers / PPTs will be published in IFLA’s online Repository following the conference
  • Confirmation that you can attend the IFLA congress and present in person if selected

Send proposal abstracts (500 words or less) by April 30th 2023 to:

Isabel Garcia-Monge isabel.garcia-monge@cultura.gob.es

Iris O’Brien Iris.OBrien@bl.uk

2023 WLIC, Satellite Meeting in Leiden

Empire, Indigeneity, and Colonial Heritage Collections: Confronting Difficult Pasts, Enabling Just Futures

The IFLA Rare Books and Special Collections Section (RBSC) and the Indigenous Matters Section (IM) are pleased to announce a Joint Satellite Session at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2023 at Leiden University Library on the 18th and 19th of August, 2023.

Day 1: Friday August 18th

9:30                  Registration & coffee

10:00                Welcome by Kurt De Belder (Director Leiden University Libraries)

10:10                Introduction to the programme (RBMS & IM)

10:15                Keynote Lecture Damian Webb

Confronting Difficult Pasts

11:00   Session 1 Finding Indigenous Voices

Sophie Alix Capdeville (University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

  • Saami written culture history research: a challenge in the current Finnish research framework

Syifa Adiba (independent researcher) and Akmal Faradise (Universitas Islam Indonesia)

  • From Marginalization to Empowerment: Elevating Madurese Indigenous Poet Voice through Independent Archiving

12:00                Lunch (on site) * including small pop-up exhibition

13:00   Session 2 Confronting difficult histories

Hugh Murphy and Alaxandra Caccamo (Maynooth University)

  • Religion, Colonialism and Empire: interrogating an Irish university collection

Isabelle Best and Katell Lavéant (Allard Pierson, University of Amsterdam)

  • Surinamica Reimagined: Activating a Heritage Collection for Reparation and Reconiliation, the Surinamica Collection at Allard Pierson

14:00   Session 3 Professional Approaches to Working with Indigenous Collections

Francisca Fuentes Rettig (British Library) and Rebecca Slatcher (University of Hull and British Library)

  • Beginning to know what we don’t know: Approaching North American Indigenous Knowledges at the British Library

Alexander Soto and Lorrie McAllister

  • Nada Nukuthdam Firekeepers Initiative

15:00                Tea break

15:30                Plenary discussion

16:15                Closing remarks

16:30                Library tours at University Library and visit to Bibliotheca Thysiana (optional)

17:30                Reception at Faculty Club Leiden University

Day 2: Saturday August 19th

9:00                  Registration & coffee

9:30                  Welcome and introduction (RBSC-IM)

9:40                  Plenary presentation

Anouk Mansfeld (Leiden University Libraries)

  • A Friend’s Album as loot: Colonial Heritage in the Leiden Special Collections

10:00   Plenary presentation

Marieke van Meer (Leiden University Libraries) and Esther Boeles (University of Amsterdam)

  • New Guidelines for colonial heritage in academic- and library collections in the Netherlands              

10:45 Coffee break

Enabling Just Futures

11:00   Session 4 Using Digital Scholarship and Metadata to Enable Just Futures

Stacy Allison-Cassin (Delhousie University, Canada) and Camille Callison (University of the Fraser Valley, Canada)

  • The Respectful Terminologies Platform Project

Soraya Hariyani Putri (National Library of Indonesia) and Sadariyah Ariningrum Widjiastuti (National Library of Indonesia)

  • Best Practice To Preserve Indonesia Memory Tradition Through Collection Development Policy And Khastara Official Website

12:00                Lunch (on site)

13:00   Session 5 Methodologies to Enable Just Futures: Collections Development, Digital Reunification, Collaboration

Eunice Ann Yutuc Chua and A.B. Gideon de Castro (University of the Philippines Diliman)

  • To = This is ours: the University of the Philippines Diliman Filipiniana Books Section

Frederieke van Wijk (Allard Pierson, University of Amsterdam)

  • (post)-Colonialism on Stage: A Collaborative Confronting of the Uncomfortable Histories of the Performing Arts

Radia Banu Jan Mohamad; Ahmad Murad Merican; Fujica Azura Fesal; Noor Azlinda Wan Jan; Nor Azan Ibrahim; Mohd Fuad Haron

  • Decolonization of the Light Letters Digital Collection in USM Libary: Enliven the 18th Century Correspondences

14:15                Plenary discussion

15:00               Tea break

15:30               ‘Locknote’ session by Daryl Green (RBSC) and Stacy Allison-Cassin (IM)

16:30                Library visit at University Library and Visit to Bibliotheca Thysiana (optional)

17:30                Closing reception at University Library garden

Day 3: Sunday August 20th

Excursions day in Leiden

  1. Library walk in the city centre of Leiden & visit to the Bibliotheca Thysiana, by curator Kasper van Ommen (Leiden University Library)

10.00 – 12.00  Group 1

13.00 – 15.00 Group 2

  1. Guided tour at the exhibition Maps: Navigating & Manipulating, by curator Martijn Storms (Leiden University Library)

10.00 – 12.00  Group 2

13.00 – 15:00  Group 1

2023 Mid-Year, Upsala, Sweden

Libraries in the Time of War was arranged by IFLA-RBSC in collaboration with CERL and hosted by Uppsala University. Nine speakers from three different continents shared their work and experiences of libraries in war, how to prepare and prevent damage to collections, how to work during wartime, and how to historicize conflict. Nearly 100 people attended the symposium on site, with several hundreds additional participants via Zoom. A full recording of the day’s presentations can be found HERE. The day ended with a symposium dinner for the IFLA- and CERL-people, as well as the speakers.

A full accounting of RBSC activities can be found on our blog.

2022 WLIC, Dublin

Exhibitions: Designed to Inspire and Engage

2018 WLIC, Kuala Lumpur

Business Meeting Agendas
Conference Sessions and Events

2018 Midterm meeting, Oslo

Business Meeting Agendas
Conference Sessions and Events

2017 WLIC, Wroclaw

Business Meeting Agendas
Conference Sessions and Events

2017 Associated Conference, Buenos Aires

“Cultural Heritage in Latin American and Caribbean Libraries: challenges and perspectives”

2016 WLIC, Columbus


Business Meetings

Agenda (Supporting documents will be distributed at the meeting)

Saturday 13 August
Session 010     Standing Committee I — Rare Books and Special Collections
09:45 – 12:15 / Room C220-221

Thursday 18 August
Session 217     Standing Committee II — Rare Books and Special Collections
11:30 – 13:00 / Room C224

Conference Sessions

Monday 15 August
Session 091     Worth a Thousand Words: A Global Perspective on Image Description, Discovery, and Access
Rare books and Special collections with Art Libraries
Off-site Location: The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, 1813 N High St, Columbus, OH 43210 (See link for map and directions)

Session Presentations

Tuesday 16 August
Session 146     Data Across Borders: Discovering and Describing Rare Materials
Rare Books and Special Collections

13:45 – 15:45 / Room C112-115 Session 154     Theft in libraries – facing the hidden truth
Strategic Programme on Preservation and Conservation (PAC) with Rare Books and Special Collections
16:00 – 18:00
Room C210-212

Wednesday 17 August
Session 164     Quality management and preservation in the age of mass processing – Preservation and Conservation with Audiovisual and Multimedia and Rare Books and Special Collections
09:30 – 12:45 / Hall E


Section Dinner: Wednesday 17 August at a local restaurant, with invitations extended to the panellists at our sessions and joint sessions, and other interested Congress attendees. Venue to be confirmed.

2016 Midterm Meeting, Lisbon

22-24 February 2016

2015 WLIC, Cape Town

81st IFLA World Library and Information Congress, 15-21 August 2015

Satellite Conference

Managing and promoting special collections Africa: The Bleek-Lloyd collection and beyond. | Friday, 14 August 2015 | All day | University of Cape Town.  Conference WebsiteProgram and Papers.

Conference Session

Session 206 – Fostering collaboration to build and preserve African cultural heritage | Thursday, 20 August, 10:45 – 12:45 | Exhibition Hall 2.

Business Meetings

Session 008 – Standing Committee, Rare Books and Special Collections |Saturday, 15 August 2015 | 9:45 – 12:15 | Ballroom East

Session 172 – Standing Committee, Rare Books and Special Collections |Wednesday, 19 August 2015 | 9:45 – 11:15 | Room 2.41 – 2.43

Business meeting documents can be found here.


Tour of the Special Collections Department, National Library of South Africa.  Wednesday, 19 August, 13:00.

Social Event

Group Dinner: Wednesday, 19 August 2015, 19:00.  Anatoli’s Turkish Restaurant, 24 Napier Street, Greenpoint, Cape Town, 8001.  Phone: (+27) 021 419 2501.

2015 Midterm meeting, London

11-13 March 2015.

Conference:  A coordinated approach to recording and searching provenance records and images: moving forward.  Organised by Raphaële Mouren (Warburg Institute) and Cristina Dondi (CERL Secretary and Lincoln College, Oxford). Sponsored by IFLA RBSC, The Warburg Institute, CERL, 15cBOOKTRADE, CILIP RBSCG.

2014 WLIC, Lyon

80th IFLA World Library and Information Congress, 16-22 August 2014

Business Meetings

Business Meeting — Session 8 — Standing Committee I — Rare Books and Manuscripts | 16 August 2014 | 09:45 – 12:15 | Room: Salle Rhône 1

Business Meeting — Session 179 — Standing Committee II — Rare Books and Manuscripts | 20 August 2014 | 11:30 – 13:00 | Room: Salle Tête d’Or 1

Business meeting documents can be found here.

Conference Sessions

Session 69 — Special Places for Special Collections — Library Buildings and Equipment with Rare Books and Manuscripts | 17 August 2014 | 13:45 – 15:45 | Room: Amphithéâtre | SI

Session 84 — Brave New World: Teaching and Learning Special Collections Librarianship — 18 August 2014 | 09:00 – 17:30 | Off-site at the Bibliothèque municipale de Lyon  (Presentations and Handouts)

Special Events

Monday, August 18.  Section dinner at Brasserie Georges.  Details to be announced at the business meeting.  http://www.brasseriegeorges.com/

Wednesday, August 20.  Afternoon visit to the printing museum in Lyon (Musée de l’imprimerie Lyon). http://www.imprimerie.lyon.fr

Friday, August 22. All-day library tour to Bibliothèques municipales de Grenoble. This library hosts the library of the Grande chartreuse, the first monastery of the order created ad the end of the 11th century, together with a collection related to Stendhal, born in Grenoble, including some original manuscripts of his novels.   Details will be announced at the business meeting. http://www.bm-grenoble.fr

Satellite Conference

History of Librarianship.  Monday- Tuesday, 25-26 August | Ecole nationale supérieure des sciences de l’Information et des bibliothèques (enssib), just a short distance from the IFLA Congress Centre. The attendance is free but registration is mandatory on the website : http://histlibr2014.sciencesconf.org

2013 WLIC, Singapore

79th IFLA World Library and Information Congress, 17-23 August 2013

Conference Session 95: Rare and special collections in the Asian or Oceanian context. 19 August 2013 08:30 – 18:00 | Off-site session at the National Library of Singapore.  More information

Conference Session 132: Presentation of the Digitization Guidelines. 20 August 2013 11:45 – 12:45 | Room: Session Room 324/325  More information

Conference Session 146: Preserving for the future: Integrating physical and digital preservation. 20 August 2013 13:45 – 18:00 | Room: Exhibition Hall 404-405 | SI  More information

Conference Session 202: Images, lost and found: innovative approaches to discovery and use of visual material found in rare books, manuscripts, and special collections. 22 August 2013 08:30 – 11:30 | Room: Summit 2  More information

Poster Presentation Abstract (session 95): Preserving Sri Lanka’s traditional manuscript culture: role of the Palm Leaf Digitization Project of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Kelaniya, Piyadasa Ranasinghe and W.M. Tharanga Dilruk Ranasinghe.  Abstract

2012 WLIC, Helsinki

78th IFLA World Library and Information Congress: 11-17 August, Helsinki, Finland

Conference Session 87: Marketing of Rare and Special Collections in a Digital Age, Monday 13 August.  Conference Session 87   Call for Papers

Conference Session 212:  Cataloging Standards and Special Collections, Thursday, 16 August. Conference Session 212

2011 WLIC, San Juan

World Library and Information Congress: 13-18 August, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Theme: Rare and special collections depending on history: Latin America and the Caribbean

2010 WLIC, Gothenburg

World Library and Information Congress: 10-15 August, Gothenburg, Sweden
Theme: Reconstructing libraries: physical evidence for the history of libraries and collections

2009 WLIC, Milan

World Library and Information Congress: 23-27 August 2009, Milan, Italy
Theme: Dispersed cultural collections Preservation, reconstruction and access

IFLA-preconference, Munich, Germany 19-21 August 2009
Theme: Early printed books as material objects

2008 WLIC, Quebec

World Library and Information Congress: 10-14 August 2008, Québec, Canada
Theme: Expanding Frontiers of Knowledge: Documents of Exploration, Discovery, and Travel

2007 WLIC, Durban

World Library and Information Congress: 74th IFLA General Conference and Assembly
10-15 August, Durban, South Africa
Theme: Preservation in African collections: perspectives and case studies

2006 WLIC, Hangzhou

IFLA-preconference, Hangzhou, China, 14-16 August
Theme: Chinese Written and Printed Cultural Heritage and Library Work