Saturday, October 07, 2006

Discovering Second Life Library 2.0.

One nice thing about blogging is that your post gets found/ people find you, and that leads to other things... like this comment the other day, at my Introduction to Second Life post:
We already have a Second Life Library and Info island with lots going on and we are growing. Please come join us. You can spend as little or as much time as you want. IM Abbey Zenith or Lorelei Junot to get involved.

A few hours ago, I logged into Second Life and searched for "Abbey Zenith" and "Lorelei Junot". Sent them an Instant Message to say hi, and asked how i could get to the library. I received the address and teleported myself to Info Island, where I found myself "talking" to Lorelei for a while.

Told her I'd found my way there because of the comment in my blog (she confirmed that she was the one who left the comment). Lorelei seemed really busy. In Second Life (SL), she was talking to someone (about a construction project on Info Island) and in real life, she had to log off to attend a meeting in five minutes. We didn't have time to chat much but I would be contacting her soon to meet her in Second Life for the tour (would be though because of the 12-hour time difference). Incidentally, during our chat, I caught a cross-chat and realised there was another user from Singapore on Info Island. Unfortunately I didn't manage to spot that person.

Next, I found myself inside a building, which turned out to be a library. It was obviously a library as there was an information desk which said something like, "Please ask a question or email a librarian". There was someone behind the counter so I walked up to that person (whose name was 'StoryAbout Ping') and asked some questions, just like in real life. Turned out 'StoryAbout Ping' (or Story, for short) was a librarian in real life, who happened to be on voluntary duty in Second Life, manning the desk and serving customers like myself.

Then a few more library customers showed up, and I stood aside absorbing the scene and conversation (my avatar is the one in the black/ red suit). In the following image, you can see Story greeting them by messaging, "Welcome to the library" (bottom left of the image).
screenshot_Info Island - Second Life Library 2.0.

Once Story was done, I asked a few more questions. Story tried to explain how I could 'read' a book but it wasn't so intuitive so I said maybe some other time. I spent a few more minutes chatting with Story. I asked how Story ended up volunteering as a reference librarian in Second Life Library (Story read about it from blogs and decided to come and volunteer), and whether there was a roster to follow (there is!) and would anyone get into trouble if they didn't show up (not exactly, but your credibility is reduced).

Story had to get back to duty so I continued exploring the library for a little while more. Here's a screenshot of a sample of the their reference collection (clicking on some of them brought you to a URL):
screenshot_Info Island - library

I'll be exploring more of Second Life Library 2.0. and I'm keen to see how I can "volunteer" my services. In one Note I found, it says:
Thank you so much for stopping by. Feel free to look around and don't hesitate to ask any questions.

We're just getting started here, but we anticipate offering reference services, educational programs, a collection of RL and SL-created materials, meeting room spaces and a variety of other services in the near future.

We invite your suggestions. Please IM Lorelei Junot with your ideas.

For more information, visit our RL blog at http://secondlifelibrary.blogspot.com

I will certainly go back and explore. In fact, this little trip to Second Life library reinforced how new library customers might percieve a library for the first time, if my experience is anything to go by.

You roughly know what the library is for, but you're not quite sure where things are located, and access to materials might be an issue if you're not familiar with how they are offered. And the most important learning point was that the library staff made all the difference -- their friendliness and willingness to help -- those were key in ensuring my return to the library to find out more.

BTW, thanks to Kevin for these links:

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2 comments:

  1. It's always fun blogging about your adventures in SL. I've yet to understand how the Library in SL works... to date an SL librarian gave me a book (ebook) so I guess they're trying to recreate the function of a library online.

    I just thought of a practical use of this virtual library... it's a great place for new librarians to train under a simulated environment. It's funny though, there's no need for a book drop because you never really need to return the books!

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  2. Kevin, nice idea -- simulation for customer service scenarios is one that comes to my mind.

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