This monograph traces past, current, and near future uses for artificial intelligence (AI) and expert systems (ES) in the library by surveying the AI/ES literature and contacting project participants when possible. Lancaster and Warner (coauthors of Information Retrieval Today, 1993), using an admittedly loose definition of AI/ES and avoiding theoretical or speculative articles, attempt to identify successful or promising applications of the technology in the library environment (cataloging, subject indexing, acquisitions and collection development, and reference services), applications used to solve problems closely related to those found in a library environment (intelligent text processing, intelligent agents or "knowbots"), and applications from other fields that could be used in a library environment (help desks, groupware). In their concluding chapter, the authors ascertain that even most modest (and mostly prototypic) AI/ES projects attempted in libraries were "solutions in search of a problem." They point out that while commercial interests are now constructing search engines and intelligent agents for exploring networked resources, they do not always coincide with the needs of libraries and library users. In clear prose unencumbered by hyperbole, the authors argue that it is imperative for librarians to be aware of the limitations of intelligent technology and to not acquiesce to such technology in their role as human experts in acquiring, organizing, and presenting digital information. Appendixes include criteria for justifying the use of AI/ES systems and sources for keeping abreast of the field, including books, journals, and web sites. Recommended for library and information science professors and students interested in the AI/ES debate and academic librarians wanting a concise survey of so-called "intelligent technologies." Robert L. Battenfeld, Long Island Univ.-Southampton Coll. Lib., NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Limiting the scope of the study to currently operating artificial intelligence (AI) systems, Lancaster (library and information science, U. of Illinois) and Warner (Thesaurus Design Specialist, Argus Associates, Inc.) offer advice on what AI services can be applied to library and information services and speculate on what may become applicable in the near future. Among the applications discussed are cataloging, subject indexing, reference services, intelligent text processing, data mining, help desks, critiquing systems, speech technology, and computer vision. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)