Call for Proposals: BitCurator Users Forum 2020: Evolving Landscape

Please note that BUF2020 has shifted to a virtual event. The Call for Proposals included below is for the earlier in-person event and is now closed. For the latest information on the Forum, please visit We hope to see you there!

The BitCurator Consortium (BCC) invites proposals--including remote presentations--for the 2020 BitCurator Users Forum, to be held October 12-13, on the campus of Arizona State University—a member of the BCC through the Arizona Universities Library Consortium. An international, community-led organization with 34 member institutions, the BCC promotes and supports the application of digital forensics 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 forensics tools and methods within processing workflows in archives, libraries, and museums. We still encourage proposals in these topic areas, but amidst an evolving digital archives landscape, we also invite community members to explore themes that focus on areas that haven’t been widely discussed before, such as rethinking standard or best practices, hearing from new voices, issues pertaining to access and discovery, and scalability.

This year the Program Committee has introduced an option for remote participation. We think that providing this option will increase participation and lead to a fuller, more engaging program. Perhaps most importantly, making participation in the Forum open to people with limited or no travel funds will increase equity. Unfortunately we expect reduced travel budgets to be a reality for many potential participants this year, but it is always an issue for current students, new graduates, and those at smaller and/or under-resourced institutions. And finally, planning for this from the outset will leave us prepared in the event that we have to shift the Forum to an entirely virtual format.

The Program Committee welcomes participation from organizations and individuals working outside of academic and special collections libraries, students, and new professionals. As in previous years, presentations will be streamed online free of cost.

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 8
Acceptance Notification: June 1
Speaker confirmation/changes: June 12
Program Posted: June 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 sessions will take place on the first day of the BitCurator Users Forum and will run concurrently with an introduction to digital forensics workshop aimed at practitioners who are just getting started working with digital forensics tools and methods. This workshop will include an overview of digital forensics concepts, and will mostly focus on hands-on exercises and activities.


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 and address pressing issues, best practices, opportunities for collaboration, visions, and expanded uses for digital forensics 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, organizations, or fields. We particularly welcome alternative panel formats (pecha kucha, group discussions, or others) that will facilitate dialogue and enlarge participation.

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 forensics is broad and diverse, and accepts proposals that focus on any related topic from any field. We particularly encourage proposals to consider areas of interest such as:

Hearing from new voices

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


  • How are you scaling up solutions and experiments for processing and preserving specific types of content to addressing full collections?
  • What types of workflows could be automated and how do we automate them? When workflows are automated, what is gained and what is lost?
  • 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?
  • How can we scale up the BitCurator Consortium to hear from new voices, rethink and expand our practices, and make our work more visible while preserving the intimacy that our small community has cultivated?

Rethinking standard or best practices

  • What are the implications of moving away from creating disk images and toward logical file transfers as a matter of course? What is gained and what is lost? Are there alternative formats, models, or assessment rubrics that could guide decision making in this area?
  • What are some examples of best practices or standards that you have chosen not to follow, and why? What obstacles did you encounter?
  • How do we address the fact that doing one’s work often means relying on tools and techniques that were originally developed for law enforcement?
  • How are you building capacity for acceptance of constant change and uncertainty? What does successful education and cross-training around this subject look like? What constitutes acceptable loss?

Access and discovery

  • How are you balancing the goal of efficient aggregate description with the reality of item-level metadata generated during processing?
  • How are your access methods addressing accessibility guidelines and accommodating researchers with disabilities?
  • How do privacy and security, donor relations, institutional risk tolerance, and other ethical issues affect your work with digital archives?

How to Submit

Submissions closed as of May 8, 2020.

How Proposals will be Evaluated

The BCC Program Committee will review all 2020 BitCurator Users Forum proposals. To see the criteria used to evaluate proposals, click here.

We welcome proposals from archivists, librarians, digital forensics software and systems providers (vendors), scholars, students, and other individuals working with digital archives or forensics on a regular basis, regardless of BCC membership or organization size. We particularly welcome submissions from individuals working outside of the United States and/or outside of academic and special collections libraries.

The Program Committee strongly encourages proposals including a diversity of views, including BIPOC, new professionals, and first-time attendees.

Eligibility & Requirements

Presenters must register for and attend the conference. The anticipated total cost (including travel, lodging, registration, and per diem) of attending BUF20 is approximately $1,000. 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.