The dilemma of librarians learning about prompt engineering when such information is behind paywalls is complex and multifaceted. Fast engineering refers to designing and refining prompts that can be used to train language models, such as GPT-3.5. As these models become increasingly sophisticated, high-quality prompts have become more pressing. Unfortunately, many resources librarians need to learn about prompt engineering are only available behind paywalls. This creates an ironic situation where those who are responsible for making information accessible are themselves unable to access crucial information.
One of the main challenges librarians face when learning about prompt engineering is the high cost of academic journals and other scholarly publications. Many of the most influential papers in this field are only available through paid subscriptions or one-time access fees. This creates a barrier to entry for librarians who may need more money or resources to access these materials. The irony here is that librarians are expected to help others find and access information, yet they need more resources in what they can learn due to financial constraints.
Another area for improvement is that even when available, resources may be challenging to find or access. The field of prompt engineering is relatively new, and many of the most critical resources are scattered across multiple journals, websites, and online communities. This means that librarians may need to spend significant time and effort just to locate the information they need. Again, the irony is that librarians are experts in information organization and access, yet they may need help finding the information they need to learn about this emerging field.
A related issue is that the language used in many academic papers and technical documents can be highly specialized and difficult to understand for those who have yet to become familiar with the field. This can create another barrier to entry for librarians who may need a background in computer science, linguistics, or related fields. The irony here is that librarians are expected to help others make sense of complex information, yet they may struggle to make sense of it themselves.
Finally, the issue of paywalls and limited access to information raises broader questions about the role of information and knowledge in society. If those who are responsible for making information accessible are themselves limited in what they can access, what does this say about our priorities as a society? This dilemma highlights the need for greater transparency and accessibility in academic publishing and ongoing support and training for librarians tasked with helping others navigate the complexities of the information landscape.