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Generative AI and Information Literacy: Ownership of Information

The goal of this guide is to help students learn about the relationship between generative AI and issues such as copyright


hand holding a phone with an image of booksWho owns the information you use on a daily basis, from the social media posts you scan online to the journal articles you reference in your research projects? Believe it or not, someone likely does and there are ethical practices associated with using information someone else has created. You already participate in some of these practices when, for example, you cite your sources for your research. 

You are not only a user of information, but also a creator and owner of information as well. Are you familiar with what your rights are when it comes to the information you create? 

This guide will give a brief overview of both your role as a user and creator of information and how the idea of ownership of information relates to both of these roles. It will also ask you to consider the ways in which generative AI tools like ChatGPT are starting to complicate our ideas about the ownership of information and raising new ethical questions. 

Learning goals

Learners who engage with the materials and activities in this guide will be able to:  

  • Identify important aspects of the ownership of information in relation to the research process
  • Describe the potential impact of generative AI on the ownership of information
  • Apply critical thinking to the use of generative AI in their research and writing activities  


This guide was created by Allison Hosier, Head of Information Literacy, University at Albany, SUNY. 

Some content in this guide was generated by ChatGPT. 

Photo credits

Unless otherwise noted, photos in this guide are taken from Pixabay, a database of royalty-free images.