Call for Papers/Presentations: International Symposium on Robotics and AI in Libraries and the Education Sector

Posted on June 19, 2021

Call for Papers/Presentations

International Symposium on Robotics and AI in Libraries and the Education Sector

10 - 11 November 2021

University of Pretoria (South Africa) in collaboration with the International Federation of Libraries Association (IFLA) IT Section

The rapid development in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, as well as the commercial availability of these products, is making inroads into the education sector, specifically in libraries.

Beyond automated storage and retrieval systems, we now have autonomous shelf-reading robots, telepresence and humanoid robots, chatbots and voice activated systems. Robots and AI are becoming our co-workers. A number of higher education institutions around the world have deployed and implemented robotics and AI for internal operations as well as for public services.

AI brings the promise of important benefits in the area of education. AI enables computers and machines to mimic the perception, learning, problem-solving, and decision-making capabilities of the human mind. Its usage is increasing in both academia and industry. This combination of skilled human resources, robotics and AI technologies complement library and educational services in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), e.g. Libby, the University of Pretoria Library’s ‘Robot Librarian’.

The symposium will be held over two days as an online event comprising keynote sessions, presentations, product demonstrations and panel discussions; setting the current scene of Robotics and AI in academic libraries and the educational sector. Other formats may be included upon review of the programme committee.

Submissions are accepted for presentations in one of the four themes below.

Theme 1: Artificial Intelligence - Innovations and Futures

  • Cognitive automation.
  • Language and AI.
  • Social interaction.
  • Ethical / Social issues.

Theme 2: Robotics - Innovations and futures

  • Telepresence.
  • Humanoid robots for library services.
  • Robots for library operations.           

Theme 3: Artificial Intelligence - Current developments in education and libraries

  • Current usage in libraries.
  • Tools and methodologies for AI exposure and development.
  • Machine learning and open source in AI.

Theme 4: Robotics – Current developments in education and libraries

  • Current projects and demonstrations.
  • Robotics in library operations.
  • Language, facial recognition.
  • Human interaction.

Submissions should include:

  • The title of the presentation.
  • An abstract of no more than 500 words/half page of the proposed topic and type of presentation.
  • A photo, short biography of not more than 250 words and details for each of the authors/presenters.

Submissions should be made online at

Important dates: 

  • Deadline for proposals – 16 July 2021
  • Registration opens – 16 August 2021
  • Notify submitters of selection – 31 August 2021
  • Registration closes – 09 November 2021

Programme committee:

  • Dr Balnaves, Edmund (Australia)
  • Chakarova, Juja (Luxembourg)
  • Matizirofa, Lazarus (South Africa)
  • Nsanzya, Brenda (South Africa)
  • Sogoba, Souleymane (Mali)
  • Maimela, Chipa (South Africa)
  • Mgwenya, Una (South Africa)


For further information, please contact:


- Author Programme Committee
Published by Elsabe Olivier


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