Off the beaten track...


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Presentation from the Games, Learning and Libraries Symposium (American Library Association), Chicago, July 2007.

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  • Off the beaten track...

    1. 1. <ul><li>Off the Beaten Track… </li></ul><ul><li>(Or: A Tale of Two Studies) </li></ul><ul><li>John Kirriemuir (RL and Facebook) / Silversprite Helsinki (SL) / Silversprite (Flickr) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    2. 2. Two surveys <ul><li>SL developments in UK Higher and Education (Universities and Colleges). Funded by Eduserv Foundation. </li></ul><ul><li>SL developments in Libraries . More long-term project. Partially an offshoot of education survey: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>less specific: library in any sense (well known, or “Off the beaten track”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>vague aim is to find lots of libraries, get lots of responses, look for patterns </li></ul></ul><ul><li>UK academic libraries form a survey overlap </li></ul>
    3. 3. The six questions used in both surveys <ul><li>Why are you doing this? </li></ul><ul><li>What functionality does your site on the grid have? </li></ul><ul><li>How much time has it taken to build? </li></ul><ul><li>Who authorised, and funded, it? </li></ul><ul><li>How busy has it been? </li></ul><ul><li>What impact, or consequence, has it had? </li></ul>
    4. 4. UK Higher and Further Education study <ul><li>Aimed to find just those universities and colleges in UK academia who: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>owned or were renting land or a building on the grid </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… and were actively developing. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In March 2007 found 6 institutions. </li></ul><ul><li>Did survey again in July 2007 and found … 41+ </li></ul><ul><li>+ = responses still coming in. </li></ul><ul><li>Some disbelief from academics, so the appendix lists those found so far. </li></ul><ul><li>Report at: </li></ul>
    5. 5. Education study: “snapshot” conclusion <ul><li>Newer Universities: generally forging ahead with the happy help and finance of senior management. </li></ul><ul><li>Older Universities: some academics doing their own thing, a few in secret. Others under pressure from: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>marketing (income from future students). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>alumni (income from past students). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not many courses being run at the moment… </li></ul><ul><li>…but many academics getting ready for running some on the grid in 2007-08 academic year. </li></ul><ul><li>Not much SL development activity in UK academic libraries, though significant awareness. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Waterford Institute of Technology Libraries
    7. 8. Responses to date <ul><li>Total: 37 in sufficient detail </li></ul><ul><li>Academic libraries: 17 </li></ul><ul><li>Specialist libraries: 7 </li></ul><ul><li>Library schools: 4 </li></ul><ul><li>Medical libraries: 3 </li></ul><ul><li>Public libraries: 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Software libraries: 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Business libraries: 2 </li></ul>
    8. 9. 1. Why are you doing this? <ul><li>“ It counts as a library insofar as we intend to store out conference presentations there as well as on our website.” – David Kane, WIT Libraries (Irish consortium of academic libraries) </li></ul><ul><li>“ I assume that various excellent Sci-Fi films and TV programs indicated that a Sci-Fi Library would interest people. The popularity of Harry Potter novels and some Steven King novels indicate an interest in Fantasy at the adult level.” – Frances Jaekle </li></ul><ul><li>“ Second Life represents a particular opportunity to develop our web presence and make the services and information that CILIP provides available in the virtual world.” – Ian Snowley, CILIP president </li></ul>
    9. 10. … other reasons <ul><li>Land is cheap (though staff time isn’t!). </li></ul><ul><li>Other similar libraries are doing it. </li></ul><ul><li>Trains staff in new technologies. </li></ul><ul><li>Continuing talk about SL – not a flash-in-the-pan – will still probably be around in a few years time. </li></ul><ul><li>Younger readers especially more likely to be there. </li></ul><ul><li>Overturns “staid service” image of libraries. </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual arena for multi-branch team meetings. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s fun… </li></ul><ul><li>It “looks” more useful than Facebook </li></ul>
    10. 11. Second Life Medical Library 2.0
    11. 12. 2. Most frequent functionality <ul><li>Displays – all bar five respondents have displays. </li></ul><ul><li>Links to other websites e.g. RL library. </li></ul><ul><li>Visitor logging for site owners. </li></ul><ul><li>Notecards. </li></ul><ul><li>Seated meeting areas. </li></ul>
    12. 13. 2+ Other recurring functions <ul><li>RSS feeds. </li></ul><ul><li>Powerpoint presentations. </li></ul><ul><li>Freebies. </li></ul><ul><li>Survey. </li></ul><ul><li>Video screens. </li></ul><ul><li>Audio channels. </li></ul><ul><li>Summon a person. </li></ul><ul><li>Book-like objects e.g. turnable pages. </li></ul><ul><li>SL book discussion groups. </li></ul>
    13. 15. 3. How much time has it taken to build? <ul><li>“ Hundreds [of hours], I’m sure” – JJ Drinkwater, Caledon library </li></ul><ul><li>“ It’s mostly hobby time” – Namro Orman, Second Life Medical Library 2.0 </li></ul><ul><li>“ My wife has some strong opinions on how long I spend in Second Life.” – Randolph Jeffrey </li></ul><ul><li>Most respondents indicated that the majority of their development and other time in SL was personal time. </li></ul>
    14. 16. Library school academic has own office…
    15. 18. 4. Who authorised, and funded, it? <ul><li>“ Self financed, but eventually to form part of a wider accredited national academic programme.” – Barry Spencer, Shimmer Island / Bromley College </li></ul><ul><li>Out of own pocket. </li></ul><ul><li>Promotional budget. </li></ul><ul><li>Grant. </li></ul><ul><li>Donated land. </li></ul><ul><li>Area on University island. </li></ul><ul><li>Free or heavily discounted in-grid area. </li></ul><ul><li>Siphoned off from stationary budget. </li></ul><ul><li>Important to realise staff time is by far the biggest funding cost, officially or otherwise. </li></ul>
    16. 19. CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals)
    17. 21. 5. How busy has it been? <ul><li>“We haven’t counted. Perhaps we should.” </li></ul><ul><li>“30 visitors a week.” </li></ul><ul><li>“Hundreds.” </li></ul><ul><li>“Eight hours of workshops over two months, for around 45 University members. Plus many visitors in between.” </li></ul><ul><li>“Until it’s finished, non as it’s a restricted zone.” </li></ul><ul><li>“It’s doubling every week.” </li></ul><ul><li>“Some people stay a long time, read, chat. Others fly in, look for 10 seconds, teleport out. You can’t really count them equally.” </li></ul><ul><li>Possible link between diversity of publicity and number of users. </li></ul>
    18. 22. 6. What impact has it had? <ul><li>“ Raises awareness of our library.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Students have read our displays in SL and know what kind of services they can find in the real library.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I get to talk to colleagues I otherwise wouldn’t. This isn’t always a good thing.” </li></ul>
    19. 23. 6+ Librarians = campus technology leaders <ul><li>“ University community has realised that the library has technological expertise, and are beginning to ask us about other technological matters” </li></ul><ul><li>Murdoch University Library, Perth, Western Australia </li></ul>
    20. 24. 6+ Increased visitors and collaboration <ul><li>“ We have people come to visit us in RL because they saw our SL library. </li></ul><ul><li>We also welcome the international dimension to our work in SL and have co-operated with librarians from all over the US and Europe in SL.” </li></ul><ul><li>Cathal McCauley (Gortadoo Ewing), University College Dublin, Ireland </li></ul>
    21. 25. University of Hertfordshire
    22. 26. Represent as in RL, or different? <ul><li>“ Resemble” </li></ul><ul><li>Comforting familiarity, especially for new SL users. </li></ul><ul><li>Easier to model from a tangiable template. </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries lend themselves to easy modelling from a geometric perspective. </li></ul><ul><li>Easier orientation when based on models hardwired into people’s brains. </li></ul><ul><li>Resists a compulsion to try every new script and facility in SL just for the sake of it. </li></ul><ul><li>(Academic) marketing departments prefer it. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Make it new” </li></ul><ul><li>Make maximum use of the facilities within SL. </li></ul><ul><li>Remove limitations of RL building e.g. small rooms, stairs that you have to walk up. </li></ul><ul><li>New technology, so why stick with old ways? </li></ul><ul><li>“ Making it the same as in RL is false, as library users don’t fly around my library.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The University marketing department can go ...” </li></ul>
    23. 27. Librarians and the academic study <ul><li>“ The Library is aware of what I'm doing: the University Librarian was in the front row for my presentation at our Learning & Teaching Conference. Again, I think they're tacitly supportive, as per the eLearning team. All unofficial at the moment though -- just getting a feel for things.” – Peter Miller, Liverpool University </li></ul><ul><li>“ Our LRC Manager has joined our Second Life staff group. I think I’ve also got her interested by telling her about what other library things are going on in SL.” – Pauline Randall, Elmwood College </li></ul>
    24. 28. More … <ul><li>“ The library is very keen to be involved (and indeed three of their librarians have avatars on our island). </li></ul><ul><li>The librarians are using SL for their own staff development – networking with other information professionals around the world and attending meetings / workshops / seminars in-world.” – Peter Twining, Open University </li></ul>
    25. 29. More … <ul><li>“ The library at Anglia Ruskin is very interested - they are one of the first departments who wanted a demonstration and explanation of SL. </li></ul><ul><li>However, they are not sure what SL might do for them - even after looking at various libraries in-world it is not clear what benefits there are over their current provision.” – Mike Hobbs, Anglia Ruskin University </li></ul>
    26. 30. UMBRELLA debate: other library benefits <ul><li>From Mark Taylor’s CILIP blog: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>PR value (announce to local press, trade press, customer newsletters, website). </li></ul><ul><li>Permanent 24/7 3D multi-user collaborative and interactive exhibition – showcase products, play corporate videos, links to website, brochure handouts. </li></ul><ul><li>Business meetings (national/global participants, no conference call/video conferencing costs, save travel costs, better interaction amongst participants, save record of the discussion, watch PowerPoint/video presentation together). </li></ul><ul><li>Staff training/seminars. </li></ul><ul><li>Staff collaboration. </li></ul>
    27. 31. More … <ul><li>Recruitment. </li></ul><ul><li>Customer facing events – training, invitation to hear/see guest speakers, live support sessions, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Links back to website for direct sales/information requests. </li></ul><ul><li>Email links for enquiries. </li></ul><ul><li>Collect database of all visitors for event announcements. </li></ul><ul><li>Business networking (through business park social events). </li></ul><ul><li>Staff morale. </li></ul><ul><li>Fast and low cost prototyping. </li></ul><ul><li>Use of Second Life forums to communicate/advertise </li></ul><ul><li>Cost effective form of promotion. </li></ul>
    28. 32. Future steps <ul><li>Definite: </li></ul><ul><li>Continue collecting responses. </li></ul><ul><li>Report at some point (probably September). </li></ul><ul><li>Hopeful: </li></ul><ul><li>Further Education survey: focus on impacts. </li></ul><ul><li>Progress Library survey: focus on why libraries are setting up in SL. </li></ul>