Thursday, May 11, 2006

Virtual Librarian

It's been a while since I've had a chance to post, and I do apologize. The end-of-semester rush really seemed fierce this semester for some reason.

I have also joined a new project that has been taking up a fair amount of thought, if not direct time so far. The Second Life Library 2.0 is a virtual library, in a more literal sense than usual. Second Life is a virtual world, more than a game, where avatars (virtual representives of the "residents") interact in ways that are both startlingly realistic and eeriely unrealistic. There is a complex economy and a vivid cultural life. The SLL2.0 is an attempt to bring librarians' love of organizing and disseminating information into this virtual space.

The folks involved in SLL2.0 maintain, on the RL (Real Life) web, a blog, a discussion board, and a separate blog for those interested in working with teens. In-World, the Library has several buildings, a beautiful garden, a reference desk, "book"-shelves, and an instruction/meeting area complete with presentation screen on the roof. Check out the blog and the Flickr pool for pictures of In-World librarians, library visitors, buildings, and events. (I'll post some myself soon, I promise.)

My participation so far has been limited, by time and by computer hardware. It looks like I'll need to upgrade my video card (which basically means a new computer at this point) or borrow my husband's Mac to go In-World very often. I'm getting involved in collection development, which can be done in Real Life, but not the reference desk right now. After all, I just learned how to sit down on Tuesday! (Right-click on a seat, so it helps to plug a two-button mouse into a Mac, and select Sit from the options.) We plan on collecting In-World cultural artifacts, like stories, poetry, and comics (there are separate art museums in SL, so we probably won't do too much art), as well as outside information of interest to SL residents. There is a medical library being set up, with pointers to reliable medical information. I'd like to have a collection of articles about how people are using SL. So right now I'm hunting for scholarly articles and conference papers written about SL, mostly educational or sociological, not technical.

Anyway, if you want to give it a try, the basic membership is free. Look up Spiral Mandelbrot, or search for Library and come visit.


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