"Beyond the Hype Cycle: Experiments with ChatGPT’s Advanced Data Analysis at the Palo Alto City Library"

In June and July of 2023 the Palo Alto City Library’s Digital Services team embarked on an exploratory journey applying Large Language Models (LLMs) to library projects. This article, complete with chat transcripts and code samples, highlights the challenges, successes, and unexpected outcomes encountered while integrating ChatGPT Pro into our day-to-day work.

Our experiments utilized ChatGPTs Advanced Data Analysis feature (formerly Code Interpreter). The first goal tested the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) potential of ChatGPT plugins. The second goal of this experiment aimed to enhance our web user experience by revising our BiblioCommons taxonomy to better match customer interests and make the upcoming Personalized Promotions feature more relevant. ChatGPT helped us perform what would otherwise be a time-consuming analysis of customer catalog usage to determine a list of taxonomy terms better aligned with that usage.

In the end, both experiments proved the utility of LLMs in the workplace and the potential for enhancing our librarian’s skills and efficiency. The thrill of this experiment was in ChatGPT’s unprecedented efficiency, adaptability, and capacity. We found it can solve a wide range of library problems and speed up project deliverables. The shortcomings of LLMs, however, were equally palpable. Each day of the experiment we grappled with the nuances of prompt engineering, contextual understanding, and occasional miscommunications with our new AI assistant. In short, a new class of skills for information professionals came into focus.


| Artificial Intelligence and Libraries Bibliography |
Research Data Curation and Management Works |
| Digital Curation and Digital Preservation Works |
| Open Access Works |
| Digital Scholarship |

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Author: Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Charles W. Bailey, Jr.