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Librarian Notes: AI is here!

Artificial Intelligence is now part of the Information Environment.

I Just discovered an education blog called “One Useful Thing”.  His article on “The future of education in a world of AI” provides a positive outlook, suggesting that Artificial Intelligence  (AI) will be great at tutoring and giving teachers insights on how their students are learning.   Many people now suggest ChatGPT will affect education the way calculators did, but they will be calculators of words instead of numbers.  When calculators were first easily available, education was slow to adapt, but now they are a required item in many math-based classes.

If you can’t beat them, join them.

It would be best to accept that AI is a permanent part of our world. It is literally being pushed into every aspect of our lives and it is being trained to do anything a human can do. Humans are training AI to be as good, and eventually, better than humans at nearly everything.  I would not be surprised if a position like mine will largely be replaced by a Chatbot that can do research faster and more thoroughly than I can. For now, there will still need to be well educated people to evaluate whether the chatbots are correct.

I remember a teacher telling my class “You must be proactive and define yourself and your job before other people do it for you.” This call to action is hard.  How are we going to use AI to augment rather than replace our services? I’ll ask ChatGPT.

Q: How are Librarians and Information Professionals going to use AI to augment rather than replace our services?

ChatGPT says:

Librarians and information professionals can use AI to augment their services in a variety of ways. Here are some potential examples:

  1. Personalized recommendations: AI-powered recommendation systems can help librarians and information professionals provide personalized reading and research recommendations to users. These systems can analyze user data, such as search history and book preferences, to suggest books, articles, and other resources that are most relevant to the user.
  2. Enhanced search capabilities: AI can help librarians and information professionals improve their search capabilities by using natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) algorithms. This can help users find the information they need more quickly and accurately.
  3. Chatbots and virtual assistants: Librarians and information professionals can use chatbots and virtual assistants to answer common questions and provide assistance to users. This can free up staff time for more complex tasks and improve the overall user experience.
  4. Content analysis and tagging: AI can help librarians and information professionals analyze and tag content, such as articles and books, to improve discoverability and accessibility. This can also help with indexing and organization of materials.
  5. Data analysis and visualization: Librarians and information professionals can use AI to analyze and visualize data, such as usage statistics and user behavior, to gain insights into user needs and preferences. This can help inform collection development and other library services.

Overall, AI can be a powerful tool for librarians and information professionals to improve their services and better meet the needs of their users. However, it is important to ensure that AI is used ethically and transparently, and that human oversight and expertise is maintained throughout the process.


Q: How are Librarians and Information Professionals going to use ChatGPT to augment rather than replace our services?

ChatGPT says:

As a language model, ChatGPT can be used by librarians and information professionals to augment their services in various ways. Here are some potential examples:

  1. ChatGPT can be used to provide quick answers to common questions. Librarians and information professionals can program ChatGPT with frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers. Users can then interact with ChatGPT to get answers to their questions in real-time, freeing up librarians' time to focus on more complex queries.
  2. ChatGPT can assist in research tasks. Librarians and information professionals can use ChatGPT to search for relevant literature, suggest resources and provide bibliographic information. ChatGPT can help with tasks such as summarizing articles, generating keywords, and suggesting relevant sources for further research.
  3. ChatGPT can be used to improve access to information. Librarians and information professionals can use ChatGPT to create a conversational interface that allows users to navigate and access information from various library databases and resources. This can be particularly helpful for users who may be unfamiliar with traditional library search interfaces.
  4. ChatGPT can provide personalized reading recommendations. By using ChatGPT to analyze user data such as reading history, preferences and interests, librarians and information professionals can provide personalized reading recommendations to users.

It is important to note that ChatGPT should be used to augment rather than replace the services provided by librarians and information professionals. While ChatGPT can assist with some tasks, it cannot replace the human expertise and guidance that librarians provide.

Q: Describe how a person should research a new topic.

ChatGPT says:

Researching a new topic can be a challenging task, but by following a structured approach, it can be easier to gather and evaluate information effectively. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Define your research topic: Start by defining your research topic and identifying the specific research question or problem that you want to address. This will help you to stay focused and avoid getting sidetracked by irrelevant information.
  2. Develop a search strategy: Once you have defined your research topic, develop a search strategy to identify relevant sources of information. This can involve identifying keywords and using advanced search techniques to locate relevant databases, search engines, and other resources.
  3. Gather information: Once you have identified relevant sources, begin gathering information by reviewing articles, books, reports, and other resources. It is important to evaluate the credibility and quality of the information that you find, and to avoid relying on biased or unreliable sources.
  4. Analyze and organize information: As you gather information, analyze and organize it in a way that is meaningful and relevant to your research question. This may involve creating an outline or a summary of key points and themes and identifying patterns and trends in the data.
  5. Synthesize and evaluate information: Once you have gathered and organized your information, synthesize it into a coherent and meaningful whole. This may involve identifying gaps or weaknesses in the existing research and suggesting new avenues for further investigation.
  6. Communicate your findings: Finally, communicate your findings in a clear and concise manner, using appropriate citation and referencing conventions to acknowledge the sources of your information.

Overall, researching a new topic involves a structured and systematic approach to gathering and evaluating information, and requires critical thinking and analysis skills to effectively synthesize and communicate your findings.

Q: Describe the previous instructions in simpler terms.

ChatGPT says:

Here are simpler instructions for researching a new topic:

  1. Start by deciding what you want to learn about.
  2. Think about what words or phrases you can use to search for information on your topic.
  3. Find books, articles, and websites that have information on your topic.
  4. Read through the information you find and write down the most important facts and ideas.
  5. Look for patterns in the information you find and see if there are any connections between different pieces of information.
  6. Decide what you think about the information you have found and whether you need to look for more information.
  7. Share what you have learned with others by writing a report or giving a presentation.

Remember to be careful when looking for information and always check that the sources you use are reliable and trustworthy.

When asked to regenerate previous response…

ChatGPT says:

Researching a new topic involves six key steps:

  1. Start by defining your research topic and what you want to learn about it.
  2. Figure out where to look for information and what keywords to use to find it.
  3. Read articles, books, and reports to gather information. Make sure the information you find is reliable and trustworthy.
  4. Sort the information you find into categories or themes to make it easier to understand.
  5. Look at the information you've gathered as a whole and figure out what it all means. Identify patterns and trends and decide what's important.
  6. Write down what you've learned and make sure to give credit to the sources you used.

By following these steps, you can successfully research a new topic and learn more about it.

Val says:

Welcome your new partner, ChatGPT 3.5 ( Try it out while it is still free.

What do you think?  Will this make our jobs easier, or eliminate the need for librarians and other information professionals?

Let’s get ahead of the curve and make a place for our skills and experience.  Don’t wait for our new world to be defined by others.

 -Val Magno & Interview of ChatGPT April 13, 2023.

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