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Northern Michigan University’s Msuya awarded AI Institute Fellowship

MARQUETTE — Ismail Msuya, web designer/developer for Northern Michigan University s Lydia M. Olson Library, has been awarded an Institute of Museum and Library Services fellowship to attend the 2021 IDEA Institute on Artificial Intelligence.

An aim of the institute is to spark future innovation, collaboration and dissemination of AI in library and information environments. The institute is a week-long, evidence-based and applications-oriented professional development program for professionals in the field.

AI has predominantly become a part of our daily lives, said Msuya. The adoption of AI in libraries and information environments will open the door to transformative opportunities for increasing library usage and enhancing the overall user experiences. A prime example of such opportunities includes the implementation of AI and visual sensors to translate sign language into text or speech at the circulation and reference desks.

Msuya also noted that some public libraries have implemented the Pepper robot, the world’s first social humanoid robot. The Pepper is able to recognize faces and basic human emotions, to assist with library services, such as locating books and periodicals and responding to questions, including research questions.

Learning about and integrating AI seems like the perfect next step for me to combine my experiences and knowledge in design thinking, usability and accessibility. The implementation of AI will enhance my future daily problem-solving strategies in my workplace. I can visualize precisely how AI will work collectively with our current advancements to successfully impact the direction we want to take with our library.

Msuya will spend one week in July at the Institute in Knoxville, Tenn., pending COVID-19 circumstances. The fellowship covers a maximum amount of $500 for the program fee, lodging, per diem or program meals and transportation to Knoxville.

Msuya will also participate in an online pre-institute onboarding program and post-institute activities, like project presentations and implementation.

The acronym IDEA stands for Innovation, Disruption, Enquiry and Access. The IDEA Institute on AI is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. More information about the program is available on the institute website.

Msuya has been an NMU employee for four years. His work responsibilities range from providing technical support for virtual reality and the Digital Media Tutoring Center to addressing website needs for the Library and Instructional Support division.

Msuya said: “I have worked on revamping the library website, the implementation of virtual reality in the library and the implementation of the pandemic documentation website. Currently, I am working on revamping our Space Reservation System to enhance the overall user experience and integrate with other campus systems such as The Hub, the new campus community platform.”

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