Call for Papers: Open Sessions

Rare Books and Special Collections Section joint with Indigenous Matters Section


"Collections and Books [A]cross Borders"

The IFLA Rare Books and Special Collections Section invites proposals for papers for an  all-day conference session on the theme ‘Collections and Books [A]Cross Borders’. The session will take place as part of the 83rd IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Wrocław, Poland, 19-25 August 2017.  The session is presented in collaboration with Indigenous Matters Section.

Session theme

‘Collections and Books [A]cross Borders’

Books have always traveled.  Rare Books and Special Collections worldwide hold books and collections that have crossed all kind of borders: national, political, cultural, geographic, and material. Borders themselves may change over time, or be imposed or removed. The effects of war, colonialism, and political events are obvious, but even the most legal and peaceful movement of cultural heritage objects from one place to another may give rise to issues and even controversies which need to be carefully considered. More positively, collections may cross borders to bring about meaningful encounters with texts, ideas, and the artifacts that hold them, thus providing an opportunity for greater understanding of cultural heritage.  Digitization can break down borders and sometimes create new ones, all affecting global research and the free transmission of knowledge and ideas.

The program committee welcomes proposals for papers that address any of the following topics in detail, as well as papers based on case studies that discuss and illustrate several of these topics at once:

  • Borders: what are they and how do they impact cultural transmission?
  • Historical approach to collecting; impact on current collecting; impact on global research
  • Questions of cultural identity; repatriation; political, social, cultural, practical concerns about the movement of books and collections
  • Issues affecting access and preservation
  • Economic factors: acquisition policies, trade, theft, etc.
  • International laws

Because this topic is sensitive, with personal and national histories giving rise to strongly-held opinions, ground rules for the session will be set out to allow for the expression of a wide range of differing opinions in a constructive context.

This all-day session will take place on Monday, 21 August 2017, at an offsite location:

Biblioteki Uniwersyteckiej we Wrocławiu (Wroclaw University Library)
ul. F. Joliot-Curie 12
50-383 Wrocław,  Poland

Because the session will be held away from the main conference venue, simultaneous translation services are not available.

Submission Guidelines

The submission deadline is 28 February 2017.

Please submit proposals via email as an attachment in MS Word to the Co-chairs of the Program Committee:

Claudia Fabian
Email: and

David Farneth

For all proposals, please provide:

  • name and institution of presenter(s)
  • an abstract of the paper or presentation up to 500 words, preferably in English
  • relevant biographical information about the presenter(s)
  • a list of any previous articles or presentations on this topic

Selection of papers by is based on the abstract, and presenters will be notified whether they have been successful by 30 March 2017.

Completed papers must be submitted no later than 1 June 2017.

Important Dates

28 February 2017 Submission of proposal
30 March 2017 Notification to authors
1 June 2017 Submission of full text

Other Important Information

Presentations should not take longer than 20 minutes to deliver.


Please write to:

Claudia Fabian
Email: and

David Farneth

Please note

At least one of the paper’s authors must be present to deliver a summary of the paper during the program in Wrocław, Poland. Abstracts should only be submitted with the understanding that the expenses of attending the conference will be the responsibility of the author(s)/presenter(s) of accepted papers.

All papers that are presented at the WLIC 2017 will be made available online via the IFLA Library under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

Authors of accepted papers must complete the IFLA Authors’ Permission Form.

All expenses, including registration for the conference, travel, accommodation etc., are the responsibility of the authors/presenters. No financial support can be provided by IFLA, but a special invitation letter can be issued to authors.

Congress Participation Grants

List of opportunities for support is available on our Conference Participation Grants webpage.