On December 1st 2022, the AI SIG ran an online workshop as part of the AI4LAM 2022 virtual event.

The topic was “Applying AI in the Smaller Research Library”.

The workshop was facilitated by Emmanuelle Bermès (École nationale des chartes), Andrew Cox (University of Sheffield, UK), and Sam Thomas (UKHSA, UK). Around 20 people attended.

There were three main types of use case identified for smaller research libraries:

  1. Collections (leveraging the use of AI for digital collections)
  2. Metadata enrichment (named entities, summary generation etc.)
  3. User support (chatbots, information and training…)

The use cases seem to be similar in smaller and bigger libraries.

The discussion identified a number of areas of challenge:

  • Staff (skills, interest, etc.)
  • Costs (of software etc.)
  • Need to prioritise, make the case
  • Technical issues
  • Legislative, ethical issues

It was felt that the barriers were very similar to those in bigger libraries, but perhaps a bit higher.

Discussing ways forward, three themes emerged:

  1. Collaboration, within and beyond the organisation
  2. Testing and experimentation by yourself
  3. Building a strategy