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Library Services


Library Services is really interested in AI and how it is currently developing. We're interested in how it is currently used and could be used in the near future. Here is our quick overview for anyone interested in how it relates to their studies or research.

What do we mean by AI?

AI can mean a lot of different things to many different people so we're going to particularly focus on two aspects of AI that you may have come across in the last year or so - Generative AI and Retrieval Augmented Generation.

Generative AI (Gen AI)

Gen AI is a part of an AI system that has the ability or function to generate new content (such as words, images, video, audio) autonomously. You may have used Gen AI in an app such as ChatGPT, Microsoft Bing or used it to generate entirely new images using software such as Midjourney. Gen AI encourages the use of prompts/questions to engage with any software that integrates with it to produce a desirable outcome.

Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG)

RAG combines Gen AI with existing sources of knowledge (such as PDFs of journal articles or datasets). In a two-step process it retrieves information for sources and then produces a Gen AI summary directly based on the sources. This is said to increase accuracy of the outcome of using AI as what is generated has less ways it could hallucinate or produce wrong facts. You may have used RAG based AI to 'chat with a PDF' or have used it to prompt from a knowledge base where you have at least some pre-existing experience with the information, data or processes.

AI for you

With such new (and powerful) technology there is always the need to be aware of some key facts and considerations:

  • Take notice and actions based off any course/programme handbook advice you may receive during your studies in relation to using AI.
  • Gen AI is not a replacement for reading/note taking from key textbooks, journal articles or other key material you may need to interact with in your studies
  • If you do use Gen AI or RAG based AI in your work - then acknowledge/reference this.
  • If you are publishing your research take care to follow the submission guidance for your work and note where Gen AI is allowed or not.

AI for the library, our collections and services

We are actively looking at AI where it relates to our collections and services. We are currently involved in 'community of practice' initiatives to share knowledge, co-create and analyse the impact of new tools and platforms.

AI in general is likely to play a significant part in how academic literature and work is discovered, used and written in the near future - Library Services is here to partner and help you make the most ethical use of new tools, platforms and ways of working.