Friday, September 08, 2006

John Kirriemuir, on "Digital Games and Digital Libraries"

Thanks to Kenneth for this link, which led me to John Kirriemuir's powerpoint presentation (4 MB) on "Digital Games and Digital Libraries" (made available via Bill MacKenty).

Coherent, informative slides and surprisingly self-explanatory (for a powerpoint slide). Worth taking a look indeed. Of particular interest to me was Slide 43 onwards - "Impact - 12 Areas where libraries and digital games collide":
  • Slide 44 - Preservation (Since 1992, "every video game distributed in France must send in two copies to the French national library", Bibliothèque Nationale de France [Translated site])
  • Slide 45 - "Keep kids quiet in public libraries" (So true!)
  • Slide 46 - "Get people into the (public) library"
  • Slide 48 - "Circulating support materials" (Kirriemuir suggests that "when people play digital games, they use a wide variety of materials")
  • Slide 49 - On the use and abuse of library (IT) network
  • Slide 55 - Possibility of "Mobile library catalogue access"
  • Slides 64, 65 and 66 shows the interfaces for Google, WorldCat, and World of Warcraft. The first 2 were designed to be as simple as possibe while the last one shows much complexity. I think the implication is that the Gamer Generation will be more used to complexity and can handle alot more information than we can when it comes to information delivery.
  • Slide 72: Second Life as the librarians online game of choice; "Libraries being built by groups of people"; "BBC holds concerts within Second Life" (see also slides 74 to 78)
  • Slide 79 & 80: "10 Attributes of a game player"
  • Slide 83 (final slide): "Summary and Pointers"
I noticed the librarians in Second Life are all sexy (the women) and hunks (the men). It figures. Who wouldn't want their avatar to look better? Incidentally, I managed to google for John Kirriemuir's blog, at

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  1. Of late I've been seeing a lot of convergence between gaming and libraries. I've always felt that the two were oxymorons, since libraries were a place of focus while gaming was the act of disruption. They do share similar traits though, that they both are mostly communal. It's nice to see the two brought together. I've heard of gaming events being brought to libraries in some States, as a way of bringing kids into the libraries in an to engage them in a healthy environment (rather than dingy gaming cafes). Will NLB ever embrace such an idea? Even as an experiment?

  2. Hi Kevin, I can tell you that we have thought about it, and we will continue to review and evaluate :) In my view, what's stopping NLB from adopting Gaming in libraries is the lack of concrete measures (of the outcomes from implementing gaming). But as more results turn up, things will change I'm sure. In fact, certain software titles are already being offered in libraries and have been available for several years now. Just that NLB doesn't make a big deal out of it.

  3. John Kirriemuir10:19 pm

    > gaming was the act of disruption

    Hmmm. To complete most games, much focus is required, I would have thought? But, an interesting point.

    I'm still collecting examples of how games are relevant to libraries, so there may very well be a follow-up presentation or paper.

  4. This week has been a good one in this particular niche area of applied research, with the publication of two reports:

    Unlimited learning: computer and video games in the learning landscape (1.2Mb PDF). ELSPA (the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association), in association with the Department for Education and Skills’ personalised content team have produced a good overview of the area with some nice examples and bang up-to-date information on games.

    Teaching with games (downloadable report and surveys). FutureLab have been working on a one-year project, supported by Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Take-Two and ISFE, where several COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) games are used in classroom conditions to see how useful and relevant they are in a real learning environment.


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