On Tuesday, 22 August 2023, the Digital Humanities and Digital Scholarship Special Interest Group (DH/DS SIG) and the Artificial Intelligence Special Interest Group (AI SIG) hosted a joint session at the IFLA World Library and Information Conference. The session, titled: “Will Generative AI be a Friend or Foe in the Future of Librarianship?”, featured six speakers from five continents:

  • Leo S. Lo (College of University Libraries and Learning Services at the University of New Mexico, USA), Prompting the Future: Librarians at the Intersection of AI and Prompt Engineering
  • Mojca Rupar Korošec (National and University Library (NUK), Slovenia), Ethical data literacy in Library
  • Fehintola Nike Onifade (University Libry and Dept. of Communication and General Studies, College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokutaè (FUNAAB), Nigeria), Generative AI Versus Intellectual Capacity and Knowledge Development: A Trending Crisis
  • Sadariyah Ariningrum Widjiastuti (National Library of Indonesia, Indonesia), Reference Service Crisis in Research: A Threat or Opportunity for Librarians?
  • Rossana Morriello (Politecnico di Torino, Italy), Generative AI improving library collection discovery trough inclusive and documented metadata
  • I-Ling Cheng (Graduate Institute of Library and Information Sciences, National Chung Hsing University (NCHU), Taichung, Taiwan), Should Generative AI Be Embraced or Restricted in Libraries?

The session was a great success, with over 300 participants. It was the first in a series of AI related sessions at the conference, a hot topic across the library field. The session speakers presented brief lightning talks on their chosen topics, followed by thought provoking and informative discussion. Session attendees expressed both excitement and concern, with a surprising majority of participants eager to discover more possible uses for AI in librarianship and libraries.

Xuemao Wang, who has served as the convener for the DH/DS SIG since its inception, had this to say about his final session.

“Assembling a great global panel of expert speakers and seeing more than 300+ people participate in our session so enthusiastically was a great reward for our conference organization team! I anticipate AI related discussions will continue to be fast evolving in our profession. I hope that future discussions can focus on real AI applications and tools that can transform the major operation functions of any library. It was my privilege to moderate this great session as the outgoing convener of the DH/DS SIG, knowing that I have passed the torch to very capable leaders.”

A more extensive description of the session (in Italian), written by current DH/DS SIG Convener Sabrina Celi is also available.

Session’s presentations are being added to the IFLA Repository.