March 28-30 hyatt regency crystal city
arlington, va
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

B305: AI, Robots, & Biometric Systems

3:45 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Qaddafi Sabree, Chairperson, Emerging Technologies Committee of the District of Columbia Library Association (DCLA)
Scott Harkless, Librarian Associate, Emerging Technologies Committee of District of Columbia Library Association (DCLA)
Angela Forest, Archival & Records Consultant, Emerging Technologies Committee of District of Columbia Library Association (DCLA)
Ernie Dixon, Web/Technologies Librarian, Paul Sawyier Public Library
Rob McCoy, IT Manager, Paul Sawyier Public Library

In the 2002 film adaptation of H.G. Well’s classic novel The Time Machine, the protagonist travels to the public library of the future. However, instead of encountering a human librarian, he is assisted by an artificial intelligence (AI) system able to access a vast amount of information within seconds. Seemingly more emotionally intelligent than a search engine, the system conducts a reference interview and attempts to predict the patron’s next query. Current research suggests this technology may be closer than we think. At Aberystwyth University in Wales, U.K., a group of students from various disciplines created a robot (Hugh) that assists patrons with finding books in the library. Students simply tell the robot the name of the book and author, and the robot escorts the student to the shelf where the book is located. As information professionals and technology enthusiasts, the Emerging Technologies committee of the DCLA is conducting a case study on how Hugh and other projects such as Hugh were conceived, how they work, and how future iterations will impact library services. Speaking with the inventors, librarians, and patrons that come into contact with Hugh and evaluating these AI library reference projects, they seek to understand how this emerging technology is impacting libraries today and what predictions can be made about the future of AI in libraries. Get some insights from their research! Then hear about the biometric system in use at the Paul Sawyier Public Library. The system is used for logging on to public computers as well as checking out items from inside the library from the mediabox disc-vending system. The pros and cons of using biometrics as well as the trials and tribulations of introducing the system are discussed.

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