AI and this moment in search technology history

A source?

While writing this blog post, I couldn’t help but reflect on the ongoing debate surrounding citing AI as a source. This topic sparks much discussion among librarians and educators alike. I hope to communicate my perspective on AI without sounding rigid. It’s important for me to explore analogies that can help clarify my opinion or perspective.

One example is a phrase that keeps coming to mind, “I found it on the Internet!” It reminds me of a time in early search engine history when students would cite the “Internet” as their source without specifying the actual website or author. Similarly, students now claim to have found their information through AI, often referring to it as their source. This raises questions about the credibility and reliability of AI-generated content.

I view AI as a tool rather than a source. It’s akin to a search engine or a grammar correction app. I’ve never cited Google or Grammarly in my research, but I heavily rely on these tools for writing and information retrieval. AI should be seen as a powerful tool that aids search and enhances productivity rather than a direct source of information.

Is this a pivotal moment?

This moment in tech history feels significant, reminiscent of the emergence of big search engines like Yahoo! in 1995 and Google in 1998. Just as those search engines revolutionized how we access information, AI is now shaping the landscape of research and knowledge acquisition.

Learning

I attended several sessions at ALA LibLearnX in Baltimore to better understand AI’s implications for libraries. Two sessions stood out to me in particular.

The first session was titled “Unleashing AI’s Potential: A Design Sprint for Library Staff,” facilitated by Linda W. Braun, a Learning Consultant from The LEO Group, and Juan Rubio, the Digital Media Learning Program Manager at The Seattle Public Library. This intensive and interactive three-hour session challenged me to think differently about the role of AI in library services. It provided insights into how AI can be harnessed to improve user experiences and enhance library operations.

The second session, led by Virginia Cononie, the Associate Librarian Coordinator of Research Services at USC Upstate Library, was a shorter 20-minute presentation titled “Enhancing Research Services: Leveraging the Power of Artificial Intelligence.” She shared three strategies for leveraging AI to enhance research services in this engaging talk. These strategies included crafting complex assessment questions, conducting comparative analysis between AI and traditional librarian approaches, and optimizing service goals through AI suggestions. I left the session with a list of tech tools to explore and a renewed sense of how AI can enhance library services.

Conclusions

Attending these sessions at LibLearnX helped me stay informed about the latest developments in AI and its applications in the library field. It also affirmed my belief that AI should be embraced as a tool that complements librarians’ expertise rather than replacing human knowledge and guidance. As school librarians, we must navigate this technological landscape with an open mind, continuously learning and adapting to provide our students with the best resources and services.

Reading and Resources

We may need to step out of our comfort zone. Reading more informal technology writing will help us keep up and understand the landscape. This is fast-moving technology; the moment anything is written in a book, it will be dated. 
Recent articles:
AI tools to be aware of:

Stay tuned for a post about AI, ethics, and Art.

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Author: Hannah Byrd Little

Hello, I am the Library Director at The Webb School of Bell Buckle. I use my past experience in college and university libraries to help my current students in school libraries transition into college, career, and life. I am currently the lead Senior Class Adviser for the Capstone Project. I also served at the state level with the Tennessee Association of School Librarians executive board from 2009-2013 and was the TASL president in 2012. I am certified as a Library Information Specialist for PreK-12th grade, have a BS in Communications with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations, a BS in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Education and Information Systems and a Masters in Library and Information Science.



Categories: Technology

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