Future information professionals’ perspectives on the impact of AI on the future of their profession
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The field of library and information science (LIS) has always shaped and been shaped by the changing tides of technology. Given that recent developments in AI appear to be the next technological wave that may bring major disruption for the future of information professionals, how are students in ALA-accredited master’s programs reacting to these changes? This paper reports findings from interviews with students pursuing studies in librarianship and archival studies about their educational experiences with artificial intelligence (AI) and their expectations about how AI will impact their future careers as librarians and archivists. Key themes that emerge from this analysis include structural and professional changes in libraries and archives, the loss of human elements in libraries and archives, and ethical challenges of AI in libraries and archives. Recommendations based on these findings include ways to adapt LIS education to better prepare students, such as developing courses that combine the technical aspects of how to leverage AI that is content and context relevant to libraries and archives, to ensure that librarians and archivists can have active roles in leveraging AI to better accomplish their goals of serving patrons’ information needs and wants and preserving the past.