Monday, July 23, 2007

Lori Bell & Tom Peters

Lori Bell, Alliance Library System, gave a quick overview of how a tiny project has grown into 40 islands - to an info archipelago, indeed a whole contintent.

Her talk included a general overview of SL, the history of Alliance Library System in SL, and the overwhelming interest and growth in the project. Some stats:
8 million people in SL
600 self identified libraries
50 libraries with a unique presence, some with their own islands
5000 visitors a day
over 1000 members of libraries friends group
600 in science center and other interest group

Lori thinks the project is really meeting need of educators to be in a community together, and Tom spoke to WHY people have been so willing to donate their time and participate. Perhaps their jobs just are not able to provide a creative outlet.

There have been important partnerships and sponsorships with SL businesses and organizations as well as RL government and educational agenices, library companies.

Working Groups
  • SciFi
  • HealthInfo Island
  • Mystery Manor
  • Renaissance Island
  • Art (they don't have conferences, so providing a real service for them to be able to connect)
  • Accessiblity

Exhibits and Library Education are major projects, and networking is a major benefit.

Mythica on Imagination Island, and Caledon's library has become a hub of that community.

There is always a group of librarians hanging out at Info Island.

An ALA interest group was formed at the last conference.

Collaborations and Experiements Lori highlighted at
Rich Island to promote new NF book, Why is this Idiot Rich and I'm Not? The Globe Theatre and Dante's Inferno are exciting new builds.

Is SL a game? Only it's hairdresser knows for sure.
It looks like an MMORPG. Linden Lab calls it a game, but Tom analogized it to a mall... or government entity, and stressed the content creation of the citizens.

Key Points from Year One
  1. Explosion of Worldwide Volunteerism
  2. Rapid Development and Growth
  3. Collaborative Efforts within and beyond Librarianship
  4. Exhibits and Events a big success
  5. Reference Service a big success

The opportunity for collaboration is tremendous - maybe we need to be looking towards museums and theme parks. We need to look at information experiences.

Sex, Gambling and LIbrarianship would be a GREAT title for an SL presentation.

Salon culture evolves at the SL Reference desk. I wonder if it is isolating though. I don't hang out at the library, I only go there for my shift and an event. I do a ton of outreach just by walking around in world with "Librarian" floating over my head.

Goals for Year Two:
  • Community Building
  • Providing a Global Presence
  • Funding and Sustainability
  • ALA Virtual Online Communities and Libraries
  • Improving Meetings: audio/mixed reality
  • Library education in Second Life
There are so many challenges. Funding is a huge one. It is a highly addictive endeavor. People are spending a huge amount of waking and sometimes sleeping time in world. (I wonder if the ones who never come back have alts). There is a gold rush mentality. Not everyone understands that when you are in SL you are working. The hardware and Internet requirements are intense, but there is still not integrated audio and web. It's still new and changing really fast and volunteer based, so it's a struggle to make it work sometimes.

(My battery is dying, will post rest later)

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