Added on 6 May 2021

Please note that BUF2021 will be virtual and information will be added to the Event page as it becomes available. 

The BitCurator Consortium (BCC) invites proposals for the 2021 BitCurator Users Forum to be held virtually October 12-14, 2021. An international, community-led organization with 35 member institutions, the BCC promotes and supports the application of digital archives tools and practices in libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage organizations.

In previous years, the BitCurator Users Forum has focused on sharing strategies, approaches, and best practices for using digital archives tools and methods within processing workflows in archives, libraries, and museums. While proposals are still encouraged in these topic areas, community members are also invited to explore themes that focus on areas such as starting from scratch, iteration and scalability, implementing "good enough" practices, issues pertaining to access and discovery, and hearing from intersecting perspectives and new voices. 

The Program Committee welcomes participation from organizations and individuals working outside of academic and special collections libraries, members from BIPOC communities, students, and new professionals.

The BitCurator Users Forum is open to all. You do not need to be a BCC member or user to submit a proposal and/or attend the event.

Submission Information


Submission Deadline: May 28 

Acceptance Notification: June 25

Speaker confirmation/changes: July 9 

Program Posted: July 19  


Workshops and participant-focused session formats 

Sessions facilitated by individuals or groups  welcome. 60 minutes - 4 hours

Please submit a 250-word (maximum) abstract describing the session format and topic(s), as well as learning objectives if applicable.

 The Program Committee particularly encourages participant-focused session formats that incorporate interactivity. This can include any type of non-traditional session format, such as peer-to-peer learning sessions, collaborative working sessions, roundtables, goal-oriented hack-a-thons, etc.  These workshops (approximately 2-3) will take place after the sessions at the end of each day of the BitCurator Users Forum.



Individual or group submissions welcome. 30 - 60 minutes

Please submit a 250-word (maximum) abstract. If submitting as a solo speaker, individual panelists may be matched by the BCC Program Committee based on the complementarity of subjects or overarching themes. 

We encourage presentations to move beyond the case study (see Lightning Talks for this format) and address pressing issues, best practices, opportunities for collaboration, visions, and expanded uses for digital archives in libraries, archives, museums, and beyond. The Program Committee strongly encourages proposals from underrepresented groups, and/or those that feature the perspectives of a variety of roles -- including students -- organizations, or fields. For group presentations, we strongly discourage proposals from all white male presenters. We particularly welcome alternative panel formats that will facilitate engagement, including group discussions.


Lightning Talks

1 presenter, 5-12 minutes

Please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words.

Lightning talks are a great format for case studies, digital forensics “success stories” or “tales of woe,” research updates, and short demos or how-tos.


The BCC Program Committee recognizes that the field of digital archives is broad and diverse, and accepts proposals that focus on any related topic from any areas of interest. We particularly encourage proposals to consider:

  • Starting from scratch

o   How are you developing a digital archiving program from scratch?  How are you determining the immediate and long-term needs of your organization and setting priorities?

o   How are you determining the resources and capacity available for digital archiving at your organization and setting priorities based on the available resources?  How are you using that assessment to advocate for additional resources?

o   How are you managing expectations from stakeholders during this initial development stage?

o   How can you build iteration and review of workflows and documentation into your plan from the very beginning?

  • Iteration and scalability 

o   How are you building capacity for acceptance of constant change and uncertainty? What does successful education and cross-training around this subject look like? 

o   How are you working to review, iterate, and improve policies and workflows? What types of policies and workflows are you reevaluating? What changes are you implementing and what is informing your decisions?

o   How do you advocate for reevaluation of work that is considered “done”? How has incremental development helped you scale solutions and approaches to digital archival work at your organization? 

  • Implementing "good enough" practices

o   How have you adapted “best practices” to match the needs and available resources at your institution? What are some examples of best practices or standards that you have chosen not to follow, and why? What obstacles did you encounter? 

o   How did you determine baseline standards for your organization? What decision-making processes have you implemented that allow for “good enough” practice while also allowing for further enhancement and growth?

o   How are you working to set realistic expectations -- internally and/or externally -- about the longevity of our infrastructure, the viability of our
practices at scale, and the impermanence/obsolescence inherent to technology? What constitutes acceptable loss?

  • Access and discovery

o   How are you balancing the goal of efficient aggregate description with the reality of item-level metadata generated during processing?

o   How are your access methods addressing accessibility guidelines and accommodating researchers with disabilities?

o   How do privacy and security, donor relations, institutional risk tolerance, and other ethical issues affect your work with digital archives?

  • Intersections and new voices

o   How are you incorporating aspects of social justice into your digital archives program and/or workflows?

o   What strides can digital archives practitioners make toward dismantling white supremacy?  

o   What role do (or can) students play in processing born-digital materials? Are there certain aspects of this work that may not be appropriate for them to undertake?  How can managers make the student’s role in processing born-digital materials an educational opportunity?

o   How do practitioners make the labor involved in accessioning, processing, and describing born-digital visible to the selectors of the material being processed? Are there examples of collaborations between digital archives practitioners and curators that seek to bridge the divide? 

o   How can we improve or modify the BitCurator Consortium to hear from new voices -- including students -- rethink and expand our practices, and make our work more visible while preserving the intimacy that our small community has cultivated?


How to Submit

Submit proposals

How Proposals will be Evaluated

The BCC Program Committee will review all 2021 BitCurator Users Forum proposals. To see the criteria used to evaluate proposals,

The Program Committee strongly encourages proposals including a diversity of views, including members of BIPOC communities, students, new professionals, and first-time attendees. We welcome proposals from archivists, librarians, digital archives software and systems providers (vendors), scholars, and other individuals working with digital archives or forensics on a regular basis. We particularly welcome submissions from individuals working outside of the United States and/or outside of academic and special collections libraries.

Eligibility & Requirements 

Presenters must register for and attend the conference. Presenters must also designate their permission in the submission form related to livestreaming their presentation during the event, making a recording of their presentation available online, and posting their presentation slides online. 

BitCurator Consortium

The BitCurator Consortium (BCC) is an independent, community-led membership association that supports born-digital archives in libraries, archives, and museums in order to help ensure the longevity and reliability of the cultural, scientific, and historical record. We strive to address the needs of the BCC community through training, collaboration, research, software development, documentation, integration, and scripts, while also advocating for the expansion of born-digital archives practice worldwide.

For more information on how to get involved, visit

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