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A Place Called Vertigo: A Skeptic’s Guide to AI, Large Language Models, and Research Libraries

Aug 14, 2024


The hype surrounding generative A.I. is relentless. Described in equal measure euphorically and apocalyptically since their emergence in November 2022, AI applications have proven to be disruptive new technologies. Technology giants like Microsoft and Google have transformed their products to leverage the possibilities offered by large language models, with scholarly publishing conglomerates like Elsevier and Clarivate following close behind.

Faced with technologies that will allegedly overturn our systems of information retrieval and upend our core professional practices, librarians may be feeling AI fatigue. Some librarians may resent feeling compelled to adopt unproven AI tools into their daily workflows and teaching practices, while others may want to wait and see whether AI is just a fad.

This webinar will encourage librarians to make the most of their tech skepticism. Exploring the value constructive skepticism can bring to AI tools, this webinar will offer librarians some potential frameworks for using these tools responsibly and effectively. The webinar will close with a consideration of how these tools might amplify, rather than displace, the roles and values of contemporary research libraries.


Alexander J. Carroll, MSLS, AHIP, is the Associate Director of the Science and Engineering Library (SEL) at Vanderbilt University. Alex leads the SEL’s liaison program, designing and delivering services to support the research enterprise and the teaching mission of the School of Engineering and STEM academic units within the College of Arts and Science.

Alex is an Associate Editor of the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) and is a Distinguished member of MLA’s Academy of Health Information Professionals (AHIP). His research has appeared in College & Research Libraries, portal: Libraries and the academy, The Journal of Academic Librarianship, and the Journal of the Medical Library Association. Alex previously worked as a STEM liaison librarian at Vanderbilt University, NC State University, and the University of Maryland. He received his MSLS degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science, and his BA from James Madison University.