Erin Dorney

Blogging life & librarianship

I’m a Redhead in Second Life.

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Second Life seems to take up space on a lot of the library and education related blogs I read, at various conferences and workshops and within the library world in general. I was recently approached to join a newly created team at RIT Libraries tasked with investigating virtual library services. Thus my somewhat late introduction to Second Life. Although I have heard and read a lot about this virtual world, I had not gone as far as venturing inside. Within the past week I have been “in-world” about four to five times. Other than bumping into a lot of things and being frustrated with my apparent lack of hand-eye coordination (I should have joined in my brothers’ video game craze phase during high school) I haven’t really done all that much. I got through Orientation Island (the completion of tutorials helping you to function virtually) and somehow teleported to another island. Unfortunately, this other island was full of pornography! Considering the fact that I am interested in the uses of Second Life for educational purposes, I quickly flew (yes, in Second Life you can fly) out of there!

So I’m poking around, seeing what’s out there. My team members and I are trying to ascertain what kind of presence RIT Libraries could (or should) have in Second Life in the event that there was an RIT Island. If anyone here is on Second Life, my avatar name is ErinElizabeth Ember (my avatar picture is above). I’m attending an SCRLC workshop on Friday in Ithaca, NY taught by Jill Hurst-Wahl of Hurst Associates, Ltd. (Jill is also a professor at Syracuse University and I had the opportunity to take a course with her last semester). Hopefully the workshop will help me figure out what to do next in Second Life! I’ll give another Second Life update sometime after the 18th. If anyone feels like sharing their own experiences or thoughts on virtual world librarianship, go ahead and comment!

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Written by Erin Dorney

January 15, 2008 at 4:47 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

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7 Responses

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  1. Don’t give up on Second Life yet, at least as somewhere you can go to relax for the day. I’ve been a Resident since mid-October, and I enjoy it immensely. (I’m also one of the mainstays of the local economy [sigh, grin].)

    As for the more germane issue here, SL is popular for librarians for some strange reason. (I actually have an MLS myself, though I’m not in the profession right now.) Just visit the Cleveland PL’s region — they bought an entire sim — and other places; plus professional groups in world. I really don’t see how we could expand collections into the Metaverse yet; no transfer of data such as Neal Stephenson envisaged, other than on a small scale. But it could still be useful as a long-distance opportunity for face-to-face reference work, and trading of tips on stumpers, etc. I may simply be not inventive enough in my thinking yet, though.

    There are some who envisage metaverses as Web 3.0, the next step for the Internet. That would mean that we are at the beginning stages of creating a true Stephensonian/Gibsonian cyberspace, with 3-D virtual representations of data. It’s still early days, and buggy as the Dickens, but it has its potential.

    Harper

    January 15, 2008 at 6:14 PM

  2. That’s a cool thing.. to get into.. I wanted to try out Second Life as well, but it blew out my video card…so I didn’t get involve in Second Life yet, but still I believe that it will be an activity for someday.

    animemiz49

    January 16, 2008 at 12:27 AM

  3. I’ve tried Second Life once while procrastinating on a truly awful bio-psych research paper. I haven’t been back since but it was quite fun making my body and new clothes and such. Well, minus the ridiculously frustrating attempt at making my hair, I was either bald or had a mullet! Never got the hang of anything else though. hah, I didn’t even realize there were tutorials I just somehow managed to get off the first island and ended up ice skating in some winter wonderland.
    I think the part that totally stumps me is the fact that people pay realworld money for virtual things and places! It seems like such a terrible waste. And the graphics aren’t even all that sophisticated (compared to something you might find on Xbox 360).
    But maybe when I have to procrastinate again, I’ll bump into you.

    Kara

    January 17, 2008 at 8:36 PM

  4. Harper – Oh no worries, I have no intention of giving up on Second Life yet. It’s fun learning to get around and seeing what people have created thus far. I’m waiting for something really innovative to happen in terms of libraries and Second Life, but so far the things I’ve seen seem to just re-create services we already offer, now just in a different venue (SL, Facebook, etc).

    Linda – When I was asked to be a part of the team at my library, they had to do a massive upgrade to my desktop computer (video card, I believe). I just tried installing it on my iBook laptop at home and it seems to work although it is laggy. It seems to be a big issue, people not necessarily having the hardware to participate. For example, if a class if being taught in SL, everyone participating in that class has to have very up to date hardware, software and connection. Which brings the digital divide into play which I’m sure you know all about from your coursework. Sometimes I wonder if the benefits will really outweigh the effort it takes to setup and learn.

    Kara – I didn’t know you had tried SL! That’s cool, were you required to use it for your paper? I had fun making my avatar as well, and tried a bunch of different funny looks (like bulgy eyes, hehe). But then after that I just wandered around… lol. The money thing boggles my mind as well. It reminds me of having a gigapet (remember those?) and then paying money to give it virtual food. But apparently you can transfer Lindens back into real money. I don’t know, I’d like to learn more about businesses that are taking place in SL. It’s interesting. Yes, graphics are not good. I mean, after seeing my brothers with all of their playstations and xboxes, I expected much more.

    If any of you wants to add me to your friends in SL, go ahead! Just let me know who you are.

    n00blibrarian

    January 17, 2008 at 9:34 PM

  5. I definitely remember the few people that had gigapets first and then passing them around 7th grade history class behind the teachers back so we could all try them out. I was quite envious until I finally bought my own, just to find out they didn’t live up to the hype.

    And SL was def not for the paper. I just really didn’t feel like writing about melatonin and sleep phases anymore, so I started my account to occupy my brain with something else for a little while.

    Kara

    January 18, 2008 at 7:53 PM

  6. Kara said above:

    I’ve tried Second Life once while procrastinating on a truly awful bio-psych research paper. I haven’t been back since but it was quite fun making my body and new clothes and such. Well, minus the ridiculously frustrating attempt at making my hair, I was either bald or had a mullet! Never got the hang of anything else though. hah, I didn’t even realize there were tutorials I just somehow managed to get off the first island and ended up ice skating in some winter wonderland.

    I’ve started encouraging average Residents, those not part of the Mentors group, to help out in shepherding newcomers. You can read the post from my own SL blog here. It should be said that we aren’t necessarily hostile to helping newbies out; it just depends on what we’re occupied with at the time (grin). I’m hoping this will encourage others to give it some more thought if they discover a newbie among them. Movement is easy; it’s the acculturation that can drive people up the wall — what do I do in/with this new world now that I’m here?

    I think the part that totally stumps me is the fact that people pay realworld money for virtual things and places! It seems like such a terrible waste. And the graphics aren’t even all that sophisticated (compared to something you might find on Xbox 360).
    But maybe when I have to procrastinate again, I’ll bump into you.

    Harper

    January 20, 2008 at 1:57 AM

  7. Whoops; cut that last comment short (sigh). Any road, a good case could be made that lots of Residents are over-fascinated with appearance and goodies. Look beyond that, and see what kind of uses you can make of the Grid for your own particular interests, mission, goals, etc.

    Harper

    January 20, 2008 at 2:00 AM


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