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Illustration Of A Robot Sitting At A Desk With An Open Book In Front Of It. The Robot Has A Humanoid Face And Body With Mechanical Arms And Torso Featuring Various Buttons And Panels. On The Desk, There's A Clipboard With Papers Clipped To It And A Desk Lamp Off To The Right. A Pen Rests On The Open Book, Suggesting The Robot May Be Engaged In Studying Or Research (Generated By ChatGPT 4).

ChatGPT chronicles: Navigating the emotional landscape of generative AI in higher education

By Ryan Tucci

Artificial intelligence (AI), more specifically generative AI and large language models, have sparked considerable debate in higher education over the past year. Despite AI’s existence for decades, ChatGPT’s release in November 2022 brought it to the forefront of conversations. While it has attracted significant attention, an often-overlooked aspect is the range of emotions we, as librarians, have experienced regarding this disruptive technology.

A new kind of ChatGPT session

At the Ontario Library Association (OLA) Super Conference, Aleksandra Blake and I, both librarians at Carleton University Library, presented ‘Navigating the Impact of ChatGPT on Higher Education: A Year in Review’. To foster discussion and offer resources we created a simple site. Our goal was to highlight a critical aspect often overlooked in discussions about generative AI – the human side. Emotions, frequently overshadowed in these conversations, deserve recognition for their significance over the past year.

Our feelings in research

I often reflect on Carol Kuhlthau’s influential work on the Information Search Process (ISP), which examines the ISP of students navigating their research projects over two semesters. Her research uncovers three interconnected dimensions of the student experience: affective (feelings), cognitive (thoughts), and physical (actions). Kuhlthau suggests that emotions are crucial in research, closely intertwined with the act of researching. For example, at the start of the research process, students face uncertainty until they refine their topic. Upon selecting a topic, optimism emerges, soon followed by confusion, frustration, and doubt, eventually the emotional journey becomes more positive as they advance through the research process. While Kuhlthau’s model doesn’t perfectly match our experiences with generative AI, I noticed similarities.

While discussions about the impact of generative AI are crucial, our session aimed to revisit the theme of emotions and feelings. As a conversational stream session, our plan was not just to discuss the rapid evolution of generative AI, but also weave our personal experiences and emotions into the narrative, providing space to reflect on our feelings throughout the year. 

While reviewing the last year of ChatGPT, we asked participants to consider their feelings at these critical moments: 

  1. When they first heard about ChatGPT.
  2. When they first tried or when they first saw ChatGPT in action.
  3. When they first saw ChatGPT impact the work we do in libraries.
  4. Did they feel ready to have conversations about ChatGPT in the classroom in Fall 2023?


We presented a comprehensive timeline, starting with ChatGPT’s public debut in November 2022, and included major advancements and significant milestones, concluding in January 2024 with OpenAI’s launch of the GPT Store

Alongside the chronological narrative, we integrated our personal experiences with the technology.

Our experiences with ChatGPT

I first learned about ChatGPT from a spinoff video by Linus Tech Tips on YouTube, a well-known tech channel from Vancouver, BC. The day following ChatGPT’s public debut, Linus Sebastian and Luke Lafreniere sat to discuss this revolutionary product. The highlight of this conversation was watching Linus evolve from just hearing about ChatGPT’s capabilities from Luke, to trying out the product live. Although this example may not directly relate to libraries, it perfectly illustrates the essence of our first two discussion points. Observing Linus’ journey from learning about ChatGPT to utilizing it reflects my own path from initial discovery to active use.

I encountered ChatGPT for the first time in February 2023 when a student inquired about a citation I eventually realized had been generated by ChatGPT. This experience was both exhilarating and concerning, marking the first instance I observed generative AI’s impact on our institution, and recognized that students were already using it, as well as being misled by its capabilities. Motivated by this realization, we began to educate our colleagues about generative AI. We organized a brown bag lunch and learn session for the Research Support Services (RSS) department, where we conducted a live demonstration of ChatGPT. This session offered many their first glimpse at the technology’s ability to quickly and confidently generate responses to our prompts.

By July, our confidence in discussing ChatGPT within the classroom had grown, prompting us to share our tests and findings with our colleagues in the RSS department. Our tests focused on ChatGPT’s ability to compile a 10-article bibliography based on questions we had received over the past year. The insights we gained allowed us to highlight both the advantages and disadvantages of ChatGPT’s use for students. We also introduced ideas for activities and further discussions about ChatGPT in the context of academic integrity. Our testing of ChatGPT equipped us with confidence for the upcoming fall term.

This is an informational poster titled 'Challenging ChatGPT Information Literacy Skills in a Generative AI World'. It presents a study conducted by Ryan Tucci and Aleksandra Blake, librarians at MacOdrum Library, Carleton University. The poster outlines the accuracy of citations generated by ChatGPT. It compares full citations and scholarly journals generated by ChatGPT 3.5 and 4. The graphics depict the proportion of real, fake, and mixed citations, with a significant portion of fake citations identified. Additional information includes a definition of a scholarly journal and a note about the searches being done on July 27, 2023 (Generated by ChatGPT 4).
Our poster presented at OLA Super Conference 2024 Credit: Image by Ryan Tucci and Aleksandra Blake (2023).

We need to reflect on our feelings and experiences

After sharing our timeline with the audience, we invited them to reflect on their experiences and emotions over the past year following the release of ChatGPT, suggesting they use our examples as a foundation for their reflections. The discussions that followed covered a range of feelings from admiration to disappointment, with critiques even on the tool’s basic capabilities, such as accurately composing a Haiku.

In discussions about ChatGPT, we’ve consistently found a passionate interest among librarians. Our profession thrives on conversation. Yet, these conversations rarely allow individuals the opportunity for introspective engagement with fellow library professionals about their feelings and emotions—a facet often neglected in our technology-centric world. Our session aimed to address this gap, offering a reflective space for those intrigued by the influence of generative AI on our field.


Works cited

Kuhlthau, C. C. (2004). Seeking meaning: a process approach to library and information services (2nd ed.). Libraries Unlimited.

The WAN Show. (2022, December 2). Luke LOVES this AI chat bot. YouTube. 

Tucci, R., & Blake, A. (2024, January 25). Navigating the impact of ChatGPT on higher education: A year in review [Conference session]. Ontario Library Association Super Conference 2024, Toronto, ON.

Ryan Tucci (MLIS) is the Communication and Journalism Librarian in Research Support Services at Carleton University’s MacOdrum Library. His research interests include informal learning, gamification, emerging technology, blogging, participatory culture, and most recently generative AI tools. Ryan can be reached at

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