Digital scholarship blog

21 December 2021

Intro to AI for GLAM

Earlier this year Daniel van Strien and I teamed up with colleagues Mike Trizna from the Smithsonian and Mark Bell at the National Archives, UK in a Carpentries Lesson Development Study Group with an eye to developing an Introduction to AI for GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) lesson for eventual inclusion in Library Carpentry. The commitment was a ten-week program running between 8 February and 23 April 2021 with weekly 1hr Study Group discussion calls and "homework" tasks requiring at least 3-4 hours each week.

The result is the framework and foundations for what we hope will be a useful, ever evolving and continuously collaboratively written workshop that can provide a gentle and practical introduction for GLAM to the world of machine learning and its implications for the sector. Developed with the GLAM practitioner in mind, this beta course aims to offer an entry point for staff in cultural heritage institutions to begin to support, participate in, and undertake in their own right, machine learning-based research and projects with their collections.

Screenshot of Intro to GLAM course page

View the beta lessons at

We had the honour of running a 3-hour bitesize online version of the workshop as part of the AI4LAM Les Futurs Fantastiques Conference (#FF21) early in December. In a bit of an experiment, we delivered it using Mentimeter, hoping to bring some fresh interactivity into what could feel like a long virtual workshop. I'm happy to report it was good fun and the mode very well received in the feedback from instructors and participants alike. 

The full video presentation recording is available to view at FF21 workshop: Carpentries Incubator Introduction to AI for GLAM - Zoom as well as our slides (PDF).

00:08:07 Intro to AI & Machine Learning: A brief overview (Mark Bell, The National Archives)

00:46:09 What is ML good at? (Mike Trizna / @miketrizna, Smithsonian)

01:26:35 Managing bias (Nora McGregor / @ndalyrose, British Library)

02:01:02 Machine learning projects (Daniel van Strien / @vanstriendaniel, British Library)

Have a look at these wonderful live sketch notes taken during the session by the talented Mélanie Leroy-Terquem (@mleroyterquem)!

Notebook page spread showing illustrations of key points in workshop

If you would like to contribute to the further development of these lessons, all the content and materials can be found over on the lesson GitHub  and we'd love to hear from you! 

This blog post is by Nora McGregor, Digital Curator, British Library. She's on Twitter as @ndalyrose.