Information Today, Inc. Corporate Site KMWorld CRM Media Streaming Media Faulkner Speech Technology DBTA/Unisphere
Other ITI Websites
American Library Directory Boardwalk Empire Database Trends and Applications DestinationCRM Faulkner Information Services Fulltext Sources Online InfoToday Europe KMWorld Literary Market Place Plexus Publishing Smart Customer Service Speech Technology Streaming Media Streaming Media Europe Streaming Media Producer Unisphere Research

Vendors: For commercial reprints in print or digital form, contact LaShawn Fugate (

Magazines > Information Today > January/February 2024

Back Index Forward
Information Today
Vol. 41 No. 1 — Jan/Feb 2024
Libraries Play an Important Role in the Human Use of AI
by Amber Boedigheimer


Built In: Artificial Intelligence

CSU Global: “How Does AI Actually Work?”

Serviceform: Why Are Chatbots Becoming So Popular?

Simplilearn: “Advantages and Disadvantages of Artificial Intelligence (AI)”

Library Hi Tech News : “Artificial Intelligence Chatbots in Academic Libraries: The Rise of ChatGPT”

(email to request full access)
AI refers to the ability of machines to think like people, allowing them to perform human-like tasks. According to Built In, it consists of four general categories (two real and two theoretical): reactive machines, limited memory, theory of mind, and self-awareness. Reactive AI is the most common type; it is programmed to generate a set of probable outputs based on the information it receives. Limited memory AI uses historical data and pre-programmed information to make predictions and perform complex tasks. Theory of mind AI refers to the theoretical ability of machines to acquire decision-making capabilities similar to humans. Theory of mind AIs will be able to comprehend and remember human emotions and then adjust their behavior accordingly as they interact with people. Self-aware AI may one day give machines a human-level consciousness of their emotions and needs.

Today, AI is used to solve problems, develop solutions, answer questions, make conjectures, and offer suggestions. “AI systems work by combining large sets of data with intelligent, iterative processing algorithms to learn from patterns and features in the data that they analyze,” notes CSU Global. AI can acquire and renew knowledge over time, without human intervention. It is truly remarkable. There are many examples of AI-based tools available, and you’ve probably heard of a few of them. Dropbox, Caffe, Oracle AI, ChatGPT, SOUNDRAW, and Murf are designed to save time and improve productivity. Serviceform says that AI chatbots, in particular, are becoming increasingly popular for businesses to use with customers due to the rise of messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Messenger, and Slack.


There are pros and cons to using AI, as you can imagine. An article in Simplilearn lays out several of them. For example, it is useful for reducing writing errors and increasing accuracy and precision of language, offering digital assistance and impartial decisions, and performing recurring tasks. However, AI is not so useful when it comes to providing accurate information. AI systems are not always reliable, leading to distrust in their decision-making capabilities. AI is a tool, not a source. As a law librarian, I see that it shouldn’t be used for legal research or legal drafting or to provide legal advice. It takes specially trained lawyers to sift through the information and decide whether that data is good or bad. If AI tells you about case law or a statute, you are still liable for finding out if the case or statute really exists. While AI is improving quickly, we are still far from being able to rely on it for legal needs.


The use of AI in the library environment is very much still in its infancy, but the future of AI technology has far-reaching impacts, including an increase in our access to knowledge. AI could very well change the way librarians perform their work. The possibilities for libraries to engage with AI technologies could be immense. They could potentially enhance library services for users and contribute to knowledge discovery.

AI chatbots are increasingly being used in libraries. They can provide benefits such as enhanced customer engagement, monitored customer data, and the gaining of insights, better lead generation, and cost savings. However, chatbots are a complementary technology rather than a replacement for human librarians due to the risk of inaccurate query responses, limited comprehension, and technological reliance, according to a research paper in Library Hi Tech News.

Librarians play a large role in educating users about AI, and they can advocate for AI integration. Moreover, librarians can organize workshops and sessions to familiarize educators with AI concepts and tools. They can enable faculty members to confidently integrate the technology into their teaching methods by providing the necessary knowledge and resources. Librarians can also implement safeguards to ensure user safety. They can advocate for AI, support teachers and students in the responsible use of AI, and explore how exactly this technology can enhance student learning. AI is here to stay. We all need to grasp it and learn how to best make use of it. Librarians are already empowered to provide access to educational resources of all types, which now include the generative AI tools that are being developed.


Let’s review some of the things to keep in mind when using AI technology. They include the following:

  • AI is not always accurate and requires a human to look over the content and verify that it is correct.
  • AI should not be used heavily for legal research. AI is capable of generating false information, so it should be used carefully.
  • AI can be useful in creating rough drafts, reducing writing errors, and completing other repetitive or tedious tasks.
  • AI is incapable of expressing emotion, requiring a little human touch to be added to the content generated from AI technology.
Amber Boedigheimer is the librarian for the Linn County Law Library in Albany, Oregon. It is a very small law library, serving about 600 patrons a year, and it is open to the public 4 days a week to provide legal information to patrons, including lawyers. The missions and goals of the library are to promote accessibility, ensure fairness within the justice system, and improve patron access to legal information. The library has a plethora of legal resources and offers patrons access to subscription databases, bar books, and other legal materials. Boedigheimer is a member of OCCLL (Oregon County Council of Law Libraries) and WestPac (Western Pacific Chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries). Send your comments about this article to or find us on X (@ITINewsBreaks)