The Role of Reference in a Time of Academic AI
Odin Halvorson, 2024 Showcase

The Role of Reference in a Time of Academic AI

The Role of Reference in a Time of Academic AI: Odin Halvorson examines the transformation of reference services in academic libraries amidst the rise of AI tools such as ChatGPT. This paper outlines the shift from traditional, transactional models of reference to more collaborative, human-centered approaches that prioritize the construction of knowledge over mere information dissemination. While AI tools can enhance reference services by handling basic queries, they cannot substitute the nuanced expertise of librarians. This paper emphasizes the importance of effective communication and improvisation techniques in reference interactions to alleviate library anxiety and improve user experience. Furthermore, this paper advocates for the collection and analysis of reference service data to better address user needs and refine reference practices. The author concludes that AI should be integrated thoughtfully to complement human expertise, ensuring that reference services remain a vital component of academic libraries’ mission to support information literacy.

Odin Halvorson

Odin Halvorson: “I work at the intersection of technology, creativity, and community, bridging the gap between science, the arts, and empathy. As an itinerant volunteer and community organizer, I’ve helped build projects for social good at both the national and local scales. As a librarian and creative writer with graduate degrees from SJSU’s iSchool (in-progress) and the Stonecoast MFA, I engage directly with the public in multiple spheres, working to foment a plurality of perspective within diversity’s infinite combinations.

“My work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has appeared online and in print. I co-founded the Round Table Writers, dedicated to “writers helping writers” where I host the Round Table Radio podcast. My work in Personal Knowledge Management, and more, can be found on the Unenlightened Generalists YouTube channel.”