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Artificial Intelligence (AI) Literacy: AI and Library Resources

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Resource Guide

Open Source AI vs. Closed Source AI

Before we talk about Generative AI & Library Resources, it's necessary to understand a little bit about how Open Source AI works, as opposed to Closed Source AI.

Open Source AI

Open Source AI refers to models and tools that are publicly available and accessible for anyone to use or modify. These kinds of models allow access to the provenance of their training data and/or source code. They will also, sometimes, re-train based on data or prompts that users put in.

Closed Source AI

Closed Source AI, by contrast, has a proprietary approach to software development and does not make its source code or training data publicly available. It will also not retrain based on user input; any modifications are made by the developer organization or a limited group of authorized users. 

Why does this matter?

This matters to us, as users, because it informs what kind of information we upload or enter into Open Source AI systems. Once something has been entered into an open source tool, the creator or license holder can't control if and how it is reused by the model.  

This puts certain information at risk. For example:

  • Private or privileged information (e.g. trade secrets, identifying information, etc.)
  • Copyrighted or licensed information (e.g. articles or reports downloaded from databases, books, etc.)

How does this impact Library Resources?

When the library subscribes to a database on behalf of the college's faculty, staff, and students, we must adhere to that resource's licensing agreements. Those licenses protect the intellectual property of that resource.

Most database vendors prevent sharing their resources with those who do not have authorized access.

Because users have very little control over how their input will or could be used by an Open Source AI platform, this also applies to inputting database content into most AI platforms. 

For more information, see our Acceptable Use Statement for Library Online Resources:

"Horn Library online resources are to be used for academic purposes only. Commercial use, including for an internship or job is NOT permitted. Access is granted to all current faculty, students, and staff. Copyrighted materials extracted from the library’s licensed resources may not be published, redistributed, or made available to third parties (including AI platforms) unless explicitly permitted by licensing agreements. If you have questions about whether a specific use is acceptable, please contact  

Please refer to the Policies tab on the Office of Compliance’s website for Babson’s full Acceptable Use Policy."  

Open Source AI Models

Source: IBM

Babson's Policy for Employees

Babson has a new Policy on Data Protections for Generative AI for employees to ensure data remains safe. Please ensure you read the policy and only use approved tools with Babson’s Confidential Data.