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As a topic, repatriation has ignited debates for years amongst scholars, local communities, and collecting institutions. The digital age has intensified and changed these discussions in ways that are sometimes unpredictable. One such shift is away from legal definitions and assumptions about repatriation to more inclusive notions of digital return and community stewardship. There are ever more stakeholders involved in the circulation of culture, often collaborating in innovative ways to manage, preserve, use and re-use digitally returned materials in mutually beneficial and meaningful ways. The articles in this special issue explore this critical field and extend the emerging discussion.