With a generous grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, NISO funded travel for 12 NISO Plus Scholarship winners (as well as a few alums) to our February conference in Baltimore. In their last post, four of the awardees told us about their experience attending the meeting. This month, four additional members of the cohort shared with us as well, touching on lessons learned and how their experience changed their approach to their work.

Sunny Chung, Health Sciences Librarian, Stony Brook University

During the 2024 NISO Plus Conference in Baltimore, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend through a scholarship thanks to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. My favorite session was the opening keynote, “States of Open AI” by Thomas Padilla. The talk pointed out how problematic it is if there is no transparency, and therefore no knowledge integrity, in AI. One important takeaway was that new technology would be safer if it were more open to auditing, where interrogating power is in the hands of community members to question the elites. By breaking down the five components of open AI and knowledge work (reusable, transparent, accountable, affirmative, and sustainable), it was easier to understand what to look out for. 

Another session I would like to highlight is “Metadata Repair and Reckoning: Equity and CARE and Decolonizing Metadata.” This is particularly impactful to my work as chair of the DEIA Committee at Stony Brook University. Our committee is writing a paper for best inclusive cataloging practices, and some things I will be more mindful of and intentional while doing this work are: 

  • Identifying whether our collections say “acquired” and how this term is inherently not neutral. 
  • Checking if anthropologists rather than tribes  have been noted as the authors of documents within our collection.
  • Looking for land acknowledgments in our library and university, and checking that they are on the main page and not in the history section.
  • Remembering that “discomfort is not the same as harm.”

Overall, attending the 2024 NISO Plus Conference was an enriching experience that has given me a broader perspective on crucial issues in the field and in my daily work. 

CJ Garcia, Health Sciences Librarian, Creighton University Libraries

AI Literacy for All: My NISO Plus 2024 Experience

NISO Plus was an incredibly valuable experience for me, as it was a great opportunity for me to learn more about AI, think about how AI fits into my work, and come back to my institution with actionable ideas. NISO was the perfect place for me to develop an educational foundation on AI and my library’s role in AI literacy. The pre-conference workshop was the best introduction to AI I have experienced, giving me the background I needed. It was also a great example of AI literacy instruction that I can learn from for my own teaching. 

NISO’s broad reach, including librarians, vendors, and publishers, provided unique insights. Seeing how vendors and publishers were using AI while many of the librarians were still hesitant about the technology was a real wake-up call that the rest of the world was not going at the slow pace of academia, and that there is an urgent need for librarians to show our expertise and claim our role in the AI space. Additionally, I appreciated the wealth of discussion on AI’s role in scholarly communication, publishing, and research. While most of the conversations around AI at my institution have focused on teaching and learning, I think there is a real need for education on these topics at my university, and the library is in a great position to fill that need. 

Thanks to what I learned, I came back to my library with a list of new AI tools and topics to investigate, and immediately set to work with my colleagues on developing an AI literacy workshop as the first step in expanding our services and education about AI. As I continue to develop my knowledge I’m looking forward to learning more from NISO in the future thanks to the NISO Plus Scholarship program.

Nataliia Kaliuzhna, Research Associate, Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology and  PhD Student,  Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts

Attending the 2024 NISO Plus Baltimore conference was truly a unique and enriching experience for me, especially since it marked my first visit to the US. Reflecting on the three-day event fills me with a sense of excitement and newfound motivations. One of the biggest highlights for me was the opportunity to meet and engage with the other NISO Plus scholars, the NISO team, and professionals from the scholarly communication and information domain.The connections made during the conference feel like the start of relationships and collaboration in the times ahead.

The sessions were fantastic and informative. What lingered in my mind for days after the conference was the profound discussion on the benefits and risks associated with AI and how it influences different aspects of scientific communication. Questions arose regarding how to address copyright concerns, navigate potential biases stemming from the training of large language models on limited open access literature, including issues related to annotation labor. 

I thoroughly enjoyed an interactive session, “The Future of Open Science,” led by Heather Staines and Howard Ratner. The discussion delved into the necessity for new standards, particularly focusing on transformative agreements and open science indicators.

I am grateful to have had this opportunity at NISO Plus 2024. The experience has been invaluable, and I look forward to applying the knowledge gained in my work.

Maria Smith, Electronic Resources Librarian, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

NISO Plus 2024 was a new experience for me—I had never before attended a conference as a librarian. I had an idea of what the conference would be like, but the reality far exceeded my expectations. The open sharing of ideas among attendees during the sessions, regardless of the attendee’s profession or background, created a welcoming environment. I realized rather quickly during the conference that the thoughts and ideas of an early-career librarian were accepted and given as much value as the thoughts and ideas of an associate dean or a CEO. The discussion format also introduced me to the wider information community outside of libraries and showed me how the mission and goals of the overall information community are interconnected. Some of my favorite times at the conference involved finding an attendee I didn’t know, sitting down with them, and having a conversation over coffee or a meal. Those connections, even if they weren’t lasting, left an impression on me. 

My favorite session was the pre-conference workshop titled “Introduction to AI and Machine Learning: The Current and Future State of AI Systems and Services.” I began the conference with very little knowledge of artificial intelligence, but that workshop laid a foundation upon which the sessions in the AI/machine learning track could build. After returning to my institution and studying further, I used my knowledge of AI to co-teach a session on “AI and its Implications for Scholarship” to two separate groups of university faculty, and this fall I will be co-teaching a similar session at our faculty workshops.

One of my favorite parts of NISO Plus 2024 was getting to know the current and past scholarship cohort members. They are all incredibly smart people who are doing outstanding work in their fields. It has been a privilege getting to know them, and I look forward to seeing the amazing accomplishments they achieve in the future!

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