Virtual Worlds Demand Innovative Roles and Skills from Medical Librarians
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Virtual Worlds Demand Innovative Roles and Skills from Medical Librarians



OBJECTIVES: As our institutions engage in new online learning and community spaces, the roles of the medical librarian have shifted to encompass these new environments. In Second Life (SL) and other ...

OBJECTIVES: As our institutions engage in new online learning and community spaces, the roles of the medical librarian have shifted to encompass these new environments. In Second Life (SL) and other virtual worlds, while the fundamental goals of service, support, collection development, reference, and outreach remain the same, the scope of audience and delivery of health information in support of these goals takes on a vastly different form.
METHODS: An academic medical library collaborated with local health sciences schools and programs on developing a SL space. The librarians initiated training sessions on SL skills; organized a seminar series; developed resources and exhibits that bridged the virtual world and online environments; collaborated with local, national and international partners; and broadly served as community managers for the Second Life community and space.
RESULTS: Outcomes of the librarians' activities as community managers included professional presentations in SL, creation of tools to index health information in SL, engagement with patient support communities, and formation of an international SL health education community.
CONCLUSIONS: Second Life offers exceptional opportunities for health and medical librarians through flexible and innovative new roles.



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Virtual Worlds Demand Innovative Roles and Skills from Medical Librarians Virtual Worlds Demand Innovative Roles and Skills from Medical Librarians Presentation Transcript

  • Virtual Worlds Demand Innovative Roles and Skills from Medical Librarians Patricia F. Anderson 1 , Emerging Technologies Librarian, <>; Jane Blumenthal 1 , Director; Carol Perryman 2 , PhD; Gillian Mayman 1 , Informatics Librarian; Anne Perorazio 1 , Infopoint; 1 Health Sciences Libraries, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA 2 School of Library and Information Studies, Texas Woman's University, Denton, Texas, United States
  • Background: What is Second Life?
    • What is SecondLife?
    • Buzzwords
      • Virtual World
      • MUVE (Multi-User Virtual Environment)
      • Metaverse
    • NOTE: Not a game, although may include game activities
    • Major relevant activities
      • Education (“killer app”)
      • Social networks --> support groups
      • Professional meetings, presentations, seminar series, discussion groups, etcetera
      • Providing information resources and references consultations
  • Background: Why librarians in Second Life?
    • Jason Griffey (via Twitter): “It’s not the tool, it’s the training. Re. SL. We need to get used to that sort of interaction, because it’s coming.”
  • Background: Why are we in Second Life?
    • Vision
      • Ted Hanss, UM Medical School
      • Jane Blumenthal, UM Health Sciences Libraries
    • Timeline
      • March 2007 - purchase
      • Spring & Summer - planning
      • August 2007 - building
      • September 2007 - Wolverine Island opens to select group of faculty and students
  • Phase One: Engagement
    • Context : Wolverine Island “a gleam in the eye”
    • Library develops team with Second Life (SL) responsibilities
      • 1. Build SL skills
      • 2. Discover relevant SL locations & resources
        • Libraries
        • Health & healthcare
        • Science
        • Education
      • 3. Make connections in SL with possible mentors/partners
      • 4. Facilitate discovery and connection for our faculty and University community.
  • SL: Libraries
  • SL: Health & healthcare
  • SL: Science
  • SLHealthy
  • Phase Two: Outreach
    • Context: Wolverine Island in active development, portions open to restricted group, not open to campus community
    • Library team members collaborate with health science schools
      • To promote Second Life opportunities
      • To inform interested faculty about SL
      • To disseminate Second Life skill base
      • To develop a campus cohort with skills & interest
    • Initial outreach and collaboration focused on Medical School and School of Dentistry
  • Phase Two: Presentations
    • What’s a Nice Library Like Yours Doing in a Place like This?:
  • Phase Two: Podcasts
    • Why Work & Teach With Second Life:
  • Phase Two: Orientations
    • Getting Started in Second Life:
  • Phase Two: Really the Real World
    • Face-to-face
    • Consultations
      • Private
      • On-demand
      • In offices
      • In Second Life
    • Classes
      • Single sessions for faculty & staff
      • Student cohort class taught as four session elective in Medical School
  • Phase Two: Video / Machinima
    • Science Learning Opportunities in Second Life:
  • Phase Three: Interdisciplinary Learning Communities
    • Context: Wolverine Island open to campus community, alumni, and invited guests
      • Wolverine Island highly secured, so access must be requested even for authorized visitors
    • Focus on community building & engagement
    • Phase Two activities continue
    • Phase Three activities add to activity mix.
  • Phase 3: Dec 07 - Open
    • Wolverine Island open for community events
  • Phase 3: Dec 07 - Brownbags Begin
    • Every Friday at noon local time, 9am SLT
  • Phase 3: Events - Speakers
    • JJ Drinkwater - SL Community Building
    • Joop Zuhal - SL Teaching, Pros & Cons
    • Jenny Levine @ ALA
    • Caia Alter - Pharmacy Research Labs
  • Phase 3: Events - Tours
    • Dante Project
    • InfoIsland International
    • Nursing Education Simulator (NESIM)
    • Play2Train
  • Phase 3: Classes & Professional Presentations
    • Basic Clothing Design Class:
    • Enriching Scholarship 2008
    • S’Lang Health event:
    • Virtual Worlds, Libraries, Education, Museums:
  • Phase 3: Opening the Library
    • Ground Level: Freebies, Food Court
    • Main Level: Service Desk, Guides, Casual Seating, Fireplace, Games
    • Mezzanine: Exhibits
    • Top Level:Small Group Study Space with Public Slide Viewers / Social Space, Dance Floor
  • Phase 3: Outworld
    • Community building with other social technology & media tools
      • Flickr
      • Blogs
      • Wiki
      • Google Calendar
  • Phase 3: More Machinima
    • html
  • Phase 3: More Presentations
  • Phase 4: Connect RL to SL
    • Core library functions – how do these translate into virtual worlds?
    • Collaborations with our academic environment
    • Grand Opening events and activities — “Wolverine Island Kickoff”
  • Real Life Patrons (est.)
  • Second Life Patrons (est.)
  • HSL - What do we do?
    • Pics of circulation, reference desk, stacks, new journals, and patrons at computers
  • HSL - What do we do? RL SL Circulation X Collections X Document Delivery X Reference desk hours X Reserves X
  • SL - Why not?
    • Other libraries offer reference and reading collections in SL
    • Not enough trained staff
    • Not enough demand
  • HSL - What else do we do? RL SL Instruction X X Liaison services X X Resource guides X X Troubleshooting X X
  • Instruction in RL
  • Instruction in SL
  • SL guides & handouts
  • SL Troubleshooting
    • Installation, updates, permissions
    • Local tech support
    • Highly secure tech environments
    • Teleporting requires network access to adjacent “pipes”
    • Voice/video/versions
    • Videocards
    • Who ya gonna call?
  • HSL - What else do we do? RL SL Community space X X Events & speakers X X Exhibits X X Research & grants X ? Small group working spaces X X
  • Events
    • Pics from events for the SLUM Brown Bag series - Demo of Play2Train space; self-guided tour of Genome Island; putting on school colors for a winter tour of Wolverine Island, a gaming event, invited speaker JJ Drinkwater
  • Exhibits
  • HSL - What else do we do? RL SL Library tours X X World tours X Tools – Information X X Tools – Building, coding X Vendors & ‘sales’ X
  • Tours
  • Tools
  • Vendors
  • HSL - What else do we do? RL SL Free clothes, hair, skin, and a food court, too! X Game days X Maize & Blue (“Spirit”) Shop X Parties & Dance floor X Patient support group X
  • Other
    • Food court and patient support group
  • Who we are
    • Volunteers from the HSL staff
      • Liaisons
      • Infopoint (Reference)
      • More than shown here
  • Our Library
  • Ground Level
    • Casual seating (“Mysti” tables)
    • Food court
    • Freebie vendors
    • Maize & Blue “Spirit” Shop
    • SL tools & utilities vendors
  • Main Floor
    • Welcome signs and library desk
    • Fireplace & chess table
    • Comfortable seating
    • Tutorials
    • Staff SL presentation archive
  • Mezzanine
    • Exhibits and displays
  • Roof
    • Small group work space
    • Open whiteboards
    • Dancefloor
    • Event space
  • Example skills used
    • Editing furniture & scripts
    • Making freebie givers
    • Event planning and coordination
    • Recruiting speakers
    • Mixing sit poses for seating areas
    • Graphic design
    • Setting up vendors
    • Doing slide presentations
    • Clothing design
    • Orientation Island, again & again
  • Campus Communities in Collaboration
    • Health programs
      • Medical School (SL/RL)
      • School of Dentistry (SL/RL)
      • Department of Kinesiology (SL/RL)
      • School of Public Health (SL/RL)
      • College of Pharmacy (SL/RL)
      • School of Nursing (RL)
    • Non-health programs
      • Computer Sciences
      • Dearborn Campus
      • Distance Learning
      • Literature, Sciences & Arts (Foreign Languages, Writing)
      • Libraries
      • School of Information
      • Unspecified
  • Wolverine Island Kickoff
    • Flyer
  • Wolverine Kickoff
    • Ted Hanss
    • Gus Rosania
    • Sharon Murphy
    • Sheri Jaffurs
  • Off-Campus Communities & Collaborations
    • Healthcare Education
      • Ohio State University
      • Pathfinder Linden
    • Healthinfo Island, part of the Alliance Library System based in Illinois
      • Carolina Keats
    • Virtual Abilities Inc, a SL community of persons with special needs
      • Abilities Commons
      • Gentle Heron
    • Organizing for America
      • Siri Vita
  • Rewards
    • Collegial activities with other campuses and institutions (Ann Arbor + Dearborn)
    • Awareness & visibility
    • Learning & engagement
    • Collaboration & sharing
    • Costs ($$) borne by others (mostly)
    • Identified as community leaders
    • Second Life is its own reward
  • Lessons learned 1
    • The power of the freebie
    • The essential goodness of human nature
      • (but one bad apple can spoil a lot of people’s day)
    • There is no limit to imagination
      • (but there is to time and ability)
    • Presence first, then space
    • The importance of being flexible and responsive
      • Ask what is most needed
      • Don’t make plans before you build skills
      • When you do make plans, make backup plans
  • Lessons learned 2
    • “ No man is an island” – especially in SL!
      • Team building
      • Team playing
      • Neighbors
      • Friends
      • Colleagues
      • Community
      • Strangers
  • Whatcha gonna do?
    • Strip to your underwear to teach a class
    • Do Tai Chi on the roof
    • Make a dance floor from pics of human cells
    • Become a skeleton, then a “muscle” man
    • Who knows?
  • When all else fails … dance
  • Contact Information
    • Patricia F. Anderson, [email_address] , Perplexity Peccable
    • Jane Blumenthal, [email_address] , Wrenaissance Jewell
  • Health Sciences Libraries Resources
    • Web:
    • Slides:
    • Blog:
  • Wolverine Island Resources
    • Blog:
    • Pics:
    • Wiki:
    • NOTE: Wolverine Island is not currently open to the public.
  • Presentation Resources
    • These slides are available at:
    • Video: