Saturday, October 22, 2011

Community Virtual Library in Second Life

Facing off the library pigeon by moonflowerdragon, on Flickr
Facing off the library pigeon

Since my last assignment for the year was submitted, I've had more time for Second Life. Over the years I've regularly checked LIS literature and the biblioblogosphere to keep up with LIS and educational activity in Second Life, and observed broader opinions expressed through twitter. While I have not tallied or coded the variety of articles (and only recently began collecting some with Zotero), my general impression was that many, while positively justifying their experiments, appeared to conclude that technical barriers and initial learning curve limited its overall usefulness for ongoing purposes. However some reports within the last couple of years claimed to be continuing and abundant higher education sims still exist so I intend to discover, if possible, what kinds of programs continue.

Naturally I checked out the changes at Community Virtual Library. It was looking strong and healthy, but I was curious how librarians were thinking about the future of CVL and coincidentally a meeting was planned to discuss where CVL would go from here. Abbey Zenith's prelude to the meeting, published in the aforelinked Rez Libris, included comments that have me curious:

"Perhaps we have not yet realized the potential we envisioned" I can't remember how the original vision was framed.

Abbey reports that reference, exhibits, collections, programs all continue to be successful as services to Second Life residents - so I was curious about statistics, how it is determined who is using CVL and what counts as successful. Abbey's concern was for a loss of "momentum we had in providing professional development opportunities to librarians, library staff, and students". What does Second Life, let alone CVL, offer librarians, library staff and students? Has it changed since Kathryn Greenhill's (2007) 10 reasons? Have librarians moved to other virtual worlds or is the role of information professionals in virtual worlds not so much of the 'librari'ness? Are libraries in virtual worlds role play sims? If so, I don't mind the RP.

Unfortunately the meeting was on at 4am Eastern Daylight Time, and it was one of my late nights so when my alarm rang I was asleep again a few minutes later. Thankfully the meeting was logged so I could catch up the next day.

It appears that aside from the normal imperative to look forward and continuously evaluate, part of the reason to ponder the future is that in 15 (or now 14.5) months the tier fee payments will see a dramatic increase because the initial non-profit arrangement no longer exists. Ah, fundraising discussions :-) that brings back memories from my days in the Australian Breastfeeding Association. So I need to keep my eyes and ears open for: grants, donations, visitor-attraction (no-one mentioned Hunts - they don't *all* focus on shops - I've been on two that didn't - and I'm not a shopper) and the visitor attraction thread raised some interesting ideas - sounds like fun ahead.

It is really hard to glean the key points of meetings from a conversation log - I wonder whether anyone has used an interactive web screen at such a meeting to track brainstorming and keep agenda/minutes?


  1. The semester I just finished found me doing an assignment looking at how to include ICT in an English classroom. Due to time restraints I was only able to scratch the surface of Secondlife and I remember making a mental note to go back and check it out properly. You've just reminded me of this promise! Very interesting on the success of the virtual library for its users. In fact I had no idea there was a library, but now I know to check that out too. This is the first post of yours I've read on Secondlife and I'm about to read some others. I'll check out your making an avatar as well as I have a feeling I just might be spending some time there.......

  2. Thanks scribeswindow. Feel free to look me up in SL when you arrive. I should probably update my avatar experiences if you're referring to the old post about which I'm thinking.


1. You can use some HTML tags, such as <b>, <i>, <a>

2. Apparently blogspot requires that we allow third party cookies for the darn feature to work. Sorry, nothing I can do about it - Google will lead you to instructions.

3. I don't generally post on contentious issues so I don't expect problems.
However, I will delete comments I consider:
disrespectful, destructive, irrelevant or SPAM, (even sucking up: praising my post without reason while linking to a business site).


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