LTI’s Most Buzzworthy Pieces from 2023

Even better than Spotify Wrapped!

At LibTech Insights, we love all our posts equally. Working with such talented and engaged librarians has opened our eyes to not only the creativity of the library tech field, but also the generosity of a group of professionals seeking to help other professionals enter into a dynamic and sometimes intimidating field. Below are some of the most buzzworthy pieces we’ve published over the past year. It was excruciating to limit this list to only five picks, so during your winter downtime, we invite you to check out our post archive and discover even more amazing reads. You’ll see for yourself why we struggled to choose from all your favorite reads!

💬 “Do We Need Librarians Now that We Have ChatGPT?”

An image of a robot with a headset on

“I am not a futurist. Although I’ve worked in academic technology for almost 20 years, I’m still wrong about educational technology trends as often as I am right about them. So though I have no great predictions for how fast and how far generative AI will go, I’d like to think that librarians are uniquely equipped to leverage the technology where best, and to combat the threat of misinformation generated by LLMs. Concerning information literacy, AI-generated content is no different from human-generated content in that it can be biased, ill-informed, or written by a dog. Librarians can also help shore up existing knowledge bases like Wikipedia by adding citations and regularly fact-checking articles (as many librarians already do; thank you for your service!).”

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Building a Better Library Tech Future with Slow Librarianship

A woman laboring over a project on a desk

“Here’s what I don’t remember hearing much about in the [innovation] rhetoric back then: spending time really getting to know patrons, targeting library services to patron needs, centering our most vulnerable patrons, or ensuring that the technologies we use and the services we build are actually consistent with library values. When I look back now, it’s pretty clear that the people whom the library workers sharing this rhetoric wanted to become more relevant to were primarily young, affluent, tech-savvy, and white. Rather than basing their services on the unique needs of their communities, so many libraries were just copying whatever the cool, innovative, and well-resourced libraries highlighted in articles and conference talks were doing.”

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🧑‍🏫 Creating an Academic Library Workshop Series on AI Literacy

Two students working at their desks and a teacher standing against a whiteboard

“As society’s interest and involvement in AI technologies continues to grow, the importance for individuals to be AI literate has never been higher. While academic librarians may feel unprepared or reluctant to teach their communities about artificial intelligence, it is possible to do so without expert knowledge or a computer science degree. Much like with digital, data, or media literacies, librarians can use their expertise and analytical skills to inform users and help them understand the implications of AI. Librarians are also known for their adaptability and willingness to learn, which makes them perfect candidates to adopt and teach AI literacy.”

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💾 Digital Collections and Digital Preservation: One and the Same, Right?

Just one of those inexplicable stock images, sorry

“Digital collections and digital preservation positions frequently get misconstrued, misunderstood, and misclassified. The problems this blurred distinction causes are not just limited to work environments, but also filter through the greater library community, vendors, and other organizations. Confusion on both the micro and macro levels can greatly affect many aspects of this work. Furthermore, this confusion can lead to difficulty for others, outside of these fields, in discerning whether to come to the Digital Collections Librarian or the Digital Preservation Librarian for their queries. 

“While librarians in digital collections and digital preservation work closely together, they have great distinctions in their theories, practices, technology, standards, and workflows. This is precisely why it is instrumental to understand and be able to parse these differences.”

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😣 Why You Should Think of Stressed Users as Your Default Audience

A woman slumped over her desk, raising a flag with a frowny face on it

“When a user is stressed, they have a heavier cognitive load. To use another metaphor, they have less bandwidth. They have trouble with concentration and critical thinking, and they have difficulty taking in new information. For example, imagine someone who has just learned they’re on academic probation, someone who is encountering spotty Wi-Fi on their bus commute, or someone who is holding a sniffly, squirming baby on their lap. What is their experience attempting common tasks on the library’s website, such as searching for a textbook, looking up overdue fees for a laptop they borrowed, or filling out a ‘contact a librarian’ form?”

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✍️ Interested in contributing to LTI? Send an email to Deb V. at Choice with your topic idea.