When the National Library of Australia and the School of Cybernetics began a collaboration in 2021, the thought experiment was this: how might AI change the Library? And — because we know that libraries, and their indexing systems, have informed how the internet was built — what do libraries have to say about the future of AI? The report titled Custodians and Midwives: the Library of the Future is the outcome of this collaboration and investigation.

Included in the report, which you can read below, is a series of speculative futures focused on collecting, preserving, accessing, and generating meaning with library collections through emerging technologies, including AI. These speculative futures are designed to help people approach conversations around AI in the Library with a broader sense of context, consequence, and imagination. We also include a tool called the Cybernetic Star, which helps organisations unpack and work-through the relationships and dependencies at play when planning for technology transitions, such as implementing AI-powered systems.

To learn more about this project, contact: Alex Zafiroglu

Read the full report here.

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The Australian National University acknowledges, celebrates and pays our respects to the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people of the Canberra region and to all First Nations Australians on whose traditional lands we meet and work, and whose cultures are among the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

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