January 23, 2022

Conference Paper: “Not Quite ‘Ask a Librarian’: AI on the Nature, Value, and Future of LIS” (Preprint)

The following paper (preprint) will be presented at ASIS&T ’21 on October 31, 2021.


Not Quite ‘Ask a Librarian’: AI on the Nature, Value, and Future of LIS


Jesse David Dinneen
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

Helen Bubinger
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany


via arXiv
Note: Final Version to Appear in ASIS&T ’21: Proceedings of the 84th Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science & Technology, 58


AI language models trained on Web data generate prose that reflects human knowledge and public sentiments, but can also contain novel insights and predictions. We asked the world’s best language model, GPT-3, fifteen difficult questions about the nature, value, and future of library and information science (LIS), topics that receive perennial attention from LIS scholars. We present highlights from its 45 different responses, which range from platitudes and caricatures to interesting perspectives and worrisome visions of the future, thus providing an LIS-tailored demonstration of the current performance of AI language models. We also reflect on the viability of using AI to forecast or generate research ideas in this way today. Finally, we have shared the full response log online for readers to consider and evaluate for themselves.

Source: arXiv:2107.05383

Direct to Full Text Article
12 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.