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2 min read

I am not a code! I am a human being!

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"Is the Valerie in the Skilltype chat an actual person? Or AI?"

The above was a question that came in from a Skilltype customer. Because isn't this where we're at now? That even though the now ubiquitous chat function on business websites can include a photo of a person, it doesn't mean the person actually exists...

Rest assured the Valerie in the Skilltype chatbot does exist, and I am her. Or rather, she is me. Or something.

The larger answer to the question doesn't end at the chatbot, though. I am also Skilltype's content manager. And even there is a presumption of technology-powered aggregation and presentation. An AI, not a person.

Not quite. Well, not quite yet, anyway.

Various individual libraries, library consortia, and library organizations prepare continuing education and professional development resources, and then archive them -- webinar and conference session videos, presentations, podcasts, blog posts and journal articles, websites. And that's where it ends for them. Well done.

But this is where it begins for me. As Skilltype has a lot of video content, I'll use that as an example here, in the questions I answer on the way to adding a video to the Skilltype app:

  • Does the video have a description? 

    Usually it does. But sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes the title alone or viewing the video itself gives enough information as to the video's content, the date it was given (as opposed to the date it was archived), and lists the name(s) of the presenter(s). But sometimes, it takes a visit back to the account's website to find such details. I usually include the page link in the Skilltype description when that's necessary.

    Individual conference sessions are a very special situation, where, as applies, I try to include links in the Skilltype description back to the session's appearance in the conference schedule/agenda, as well as to its repository entry, and also provide a link to its accompanying slide deck/presentation. Is all of this information in one place together, by itself? Well, all I can tell you is that it is in Skilltype!

    And if the session has a Skill, Product, or Organization that is not already referenced in Skilltype, a Tag is duly created to increase its findability in the Skilltype app. 

    As I had already learned while working nineteen years at the ALA (American Library Association) Library, where I had to keep in mind the names of both present and previous divisions, offices, sections, committees, round tables, task forces, interest groups,  discussion groups, state and regional chapters, and affiliates, -- and their accompanying periodicals! -- librarianship will never run out of acronyms, nor ever hesitate to create more!


  • Is the information provided for the video correct?

    Again, usually it is. There are occasional typos, in a word or a name, that I'll usually check and correct, if necessary. I'll especially correct a misspelling in a link that results in a wrong and nonexistent website being given. When there's blocks of information in different places to compare, like with the conference sessions, sometimes a presenter has been given the wrong employer, or a presenter noted in one place doesn't appear in the other. Sometimes a link that was with one presentation has been left in the description of another presentation  -- which is not always an error, but in inspecting the presentations more closely, it usually was. And I really try not to leave an acronym unsolved!

These input decisions have evolved over the time of the Skilltype app, over the last couple of years. Older entries may not have all of the details noted here. Originally, individual conference sessions were split into two entries, one for the video and one for the presentation. In the beginning, web addresses that I had in the Skilltype descriptions didn't resolve into actually active clickable links, and for the longest time, Skilltype descriptions didn't allow for paragraph breaks. We've moved a great deal forward since then. 

Feel free to contact me directly with any questions or feedback or suggestions on content. I'm a person, and I'm managing. 

 

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