Posted by Jim Craner on November 1, 2023

We recently built a prototype AI tool for our "AI and Library Grant-writing" workshops.  The tool allows library staff to upload documents about their library, their community, and specific grant opportunities.  The AI can then use those documents to help staff with planning, writing, and editing the grant proposal.

To be clear, you can absolutely do this with existing tools.  As of this writing, Claude allows uploads of text and numeric data.  ChatGPT Plus Data Analysis mode handles python code, and as of this writing, they are rolling out a new "PDF upload" feature to subscribers.  And even with Bard and the free ChatGPT, you can always just copy and paste the text from any document into a chat window!  Tools like our grant remixing prototype are just intended to make it easier to manage large amounts of text when interacting with AI.

The screenshot below shows how we have implemented this for the grant remixing tool - click to enlarge.  (I use a similar version of this tool when performing software development, that references all of our existing software code files to create new code files.)

Screenshot of a PLAID Grantwriting web interface. The header says 'Generate Document.' Below, there's a section labeled 'Documents' where various documents can be selected to be included in the grant document generation. Options include 'Basic Library Info,' 'Raw grant application form (empty),' 'Grant Application Guide,' 'Grant narrative requirements and suggested responses,' 'Jim's Step by Step Guide,' 'Grant Application Draft - Thursday,' and 'notes from grantwriting followup session.' Two options, 'Grant Application Guide' and 'Jim's Step by Step Guide,' are checked. Below is an 'AI Prompts' section where the user can provide instructions and commands to the AI. The footer mentions that all human-generated content is copyrighted by 'The Galecia Group' in 2023.

As you can see, the app allows user to "mix" documents along with their specific instructions to generate new documents, which can then be remixed further.  You can start from a simple "how to write a grant" document and progressively build a detailed grant proposal, step by step.

Overall, the users gave generally positive reviews.  We'll do some more formal testing as we integrate this feature into our in-house AI training app, PLAID.  But we're very excited by the initial results!