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DLF Code of Conduct

The Digital Library Federation (DLF) is committed to creating and supporting inclusive, diverse, and equitable communities of practice. We strive to be a welcoming organization and the focal point for a digital library culture that is anti-oppression, recognizes intersectionalities, and works compassionately across differences. Together, DLF members advance research, learning, social justice, and the public good through the creative design and wise application of digital library technologies. We know that the best problem-solving and critical thinking happens when people with a wide array of experiences and perspectives come together to work in comfort and safety as peers.

We therefore expect participants in the DLF community to help create thoughtful and respectful environments where that interaction can take place. 

The Code of Conduct applies to all meetings, events, working groups, and other activities organized through DLF, including those taking place in-person or online. 

Read the Code of Conduct on our website.

How to Be

DLF is dedicated to providing collaborative and conference experiences that are free from all forms of harassment, and inclusive of all people. Small actions you can take will help us meet this goal. For instance, we suggest: 

  • listening as much as you speak, and remembering that colleagues may have expertise you are unaware of; 
  • encouraging and yielding the floor to those whose viewpoints may be under-represented in a group; 
  • using welcoming language, for instance by using an individual’s stated pronouns and favoring gender-neutral collective nouns (“people,” not “guys”); 
  • offer and ask for pronouns; if you are unsure, refer to others by their names;
  • using the name(s) people use for themselves and not names they have gone by in the past;
  • accepting critique graciously and offering it constructively; 
  • giving credit where it is due; 
  • seeking concrete ways to make physical spaces and online resources more universally accessible; and
  • staying alert, as Active Bystanders, to the welfare of those around you.

Likewise, it is important to understand the range of behaviors that may constitute harassment. 

Harassing behavior may relate to

  • age; 
  • appearance or body size; 
  • employment or military status; 
  • ethnicity; 
  • gender identity or expression; 
  • individual lifestyles; 
  • marital status; 
  • name and pronouns;
  • national origin; 
  • physical or cognitive ability; 
  • political affiliation; 
  • sexual orientation; 
  • race; or 
  • religion. 

Harassment can include unwelcome or offensive verbal or written comments or nonverbal expressions, used in person or online, in private or in public. 

Examples of harassment can include:

  • use of sexual and/or discriminatory images in public spaces (including online); 
  • deliberate intimidation; 
  • policing individual or group identities;
  • stalking; 
  • following; 
  • trolling;
  • harassing photography or recording; 
  • sustained disruption of talks or other events; 
  • bullying behavior; 
  • inappropriate physical contact; and
  • unwelcome sexual attention.

Sexual, discriminatory, or potentially triggering language and imagery is generally inappropriate for any DLF venue. However, this policy is not intended to constrain responsible scholarly or professional discourse and debate. We welcome engagement with difficult topics, done with respect and care.

Compliance with Health Protocols:
Attendees of our in-person events agree to comply with any given event’s health protocols, outlined by CLIR in advance. Health protocols can be found on an event’s website. A lack of compliance endangers our community, is a violation of the Code of Conduct, and may be reported by one of the reporting procedures below if necessary.

What to Do

On-site, CLIR/DLF staff can be identified by their name badges and white lanyards. Active bystanders or those experiencing harassment themselves may elect to have an in-person, confidential conversation with a staff member. Staff will then assist participants by taking incident reports, providing escorts as needed, or otherwise helping those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event.

During the in-person DLF Forum and allied conferences, in addition to reporting incidents in person, consult any additional resources and links provided by local organizers and hosts. 

  • Send an email to respect@clir.org. Four CLIR/DLF staff receive messages sent to this address.
  • Call or text CLIR/DLF staff at 732-737-7328 (732-RESPECT). This number will be continuously monitored during our in-person events between the hours of 7am and 9pm in the time zone of the events.
  • Use the anonymous reporting form. Four CLIR/DLF staff receive messages sent via this form.

All reports and inquiries will be handled in confidence.


Participants at the DLF Forum or any other DLF-hosted discussion or event (held online or in person, including DLF-sponsored social events) who are asked to stop harassing or intimidating behaviors are expected to comply immediately. Those who violate our Code of Conduct may be warned or expelled at the discretion of the organizers.

We value your presence and constructive participation in our shared community, and thank you for your attention to the comfort, safety, and well-being of fellow DLF collaborators and attendees.

Active Bystander Orientation

Have you ever witnessed bullying, harassment, or an uncomfortable encounter in a professional context and wished you knew how to intervene? It can be challenging to know what to say or do on the spot. The DLF Code of Conduct invites participants to be Active Bystanders, but what does that really mean?

In October 2019, DLF’s Committee on Equity and Inclusion (CEI) held a live Active Bystander Orientation session over Zoom. The session was recorded and is now available for viewing. After an introduction to bystander intervention and an overview of strategies, they thought together about how to apply active bystander strategies to situations that might happen in professional or social contexts. 

In 2020 and 2021, the CEI held discussions about active bystanders in virtual spaces. More information about those conversations can be found on the 2021 Forum website.

The CEI is scheduled to host an Active Bystander Orientation on October 24, 2023. Learn more on the DLF blog.

Suggested Readings:

Recording of 2023 Active Bystander Orientation

Recording of 2019 Active Bystander Orientation

Shared note-taking document from the 2019 session: http://bit.ly/dlfactivebystanders
DLF Code of Conduct video: https://youtu.be/eoj5GRxz-QU

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