Second Life and Virtual Worlds


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Week 7 of Web 2,0 and social software module UCD Dublin Ireland

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Second Life and Virtual Worlds

  1. 1. Second Life and Virtual Worlds 21 Oct. 2009, Week 7 IS20090 (Web 2.0 and Social Media: An Introduction) Cathal McCauley University Librarian NUI Maynooth
  2. 3. What is Second Life? <ul><li>A 3-D virtual world established by Linden Labs in 2003. Currently c16.5+ million residents. Download the Second Life (SL) installer from: </li></ul><ul><li>Key concepts: Avatars, Objects, Linden Dollars </li></ul><ul><li>Communication by IM and Voice </li></ul><ul><li>More than a game… </li></ul>
  3. 4. Second Life and the early WWW <ul><li>Content similar: sex, rock-n-roll and free stuff very popular (gambling was) </li></ul><ul><li>Issues similar: US-dominated, uncertainty, rapid change, moral issues, security issues etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Some ‘new’ issues too: virtual world protest groups and riots – but how new? </li></ul><ul><li>Key characteristic is the similarity </li></ul>
  4. 5. Second Life – True of False? <ul><li>Enter the Sistine Chapel and fly up to review the ceiling. </li></ul><ul><li>Train how to give emergency first aid to an injured person outside a busy nightclub. </li></ul><ul><li>Visit the Saltire centre. </li></ul><ul><li>Be an ‘in world’ reporter for CNN. </li></ul><ul><li>Go to the Blarney Stone pub in ‘Dublin’ in SL for pints and craic </li></ul><ul><li>Fight zombies, take the form of an animal etc. etc. </li></ul><ul><li>ALL TRUE! </li></ul>
  5. 6. Education in Second Life <ul><li>Many US universities (including Berkley, Harvard and Stanford) </li></ul><ul><li>More than 70% of UK universities </li></ul><ul><li>Universities from Australia and Japan ‘in world’ too </li></ul><ul><li>Small, but growing Irish interest e.g. UCD, DIT, DHO and others </li></ul><ul><li>Delivering classes, skills session, seminars and conferences </li></ul><ul><li>Key drivers: distance learning, media, technology, design and… Libraries </li></ul>
  6. 9. UCD Library in Second Life <ul><li>Why? Many reasons including: Institutional & Library strategy, reader preferences, resources and PR. </li></ul><ul><li>Entered SL on 7 th March ’07. Part of US-based ALS’s award winning cybrary city. </li></ul><ul><li>Library-wide working group established in April ’07. </li></ul>
  7. 10. UCD Library in Second Life – Key Achievements to date <ul><li>March ’07 First Irish academic library in SL </li></ul><ul><li>Sept. – Nov. ’07 hosted area aimed at new and potential students (repeated Autumn ’08) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ 07/’08 hosted lectures, tutorials and contact time for Prof. Mary Burke (UCD SILS) </li></ul><ul><li>Feb. ‘08 hosted talk by movie director Anne Seidl attended by 30+ avatars </li></ul><ul><li>March ‘08 hosted virtual venues strand of Library Ireland Week – 3 successful events </li></ul><ul><li>Oct. ’08 short listed for UCD Images of Research Competition </li></ul><ul><li>2009 revamped and made more suitable for other uses </li></ul>
  8. 11. Second Life – The PR dividend
  9. 12. Second Life and the Hype Cycle 2003 Launch Summer 2006 Anshe Chung & Business Week Autumn 2008 Reuters withdraws from Second Life
  10. 13. Avatars happy to play but not to pay? Source:
  11. 14. Will there be “A Second Wind for Second Life”? <ul><li>Second life facing many obstacles: </li></ul><ul><li>Technology issues (access, ease of use, reliability, interoperability) </li></ul><ul><li>Ownership concerns </li></ul><ul><li>Figuring out what users want </li></ul><ul><li>Business community uncommitted </li></ul><ul><li>Ambiguous economic and membership metrics </li></ul><ul><li>Digital nomads and growing competition </li></ul>
  12. 15. “ Our evidence so far suggests that virtual worlds have great potential…it is not clear that Second Life …is the optimal environment” Dr Peter Twining, Head of Dept of Education, Open University ( Source: A Spring 2008 “snaphot” of UK Higher and Further Education Developments in Second Life) Second Life is “not the only fruit”
  13. 16. Virtual Worlds: Fad or Future-proofing? <ul><li>Growing market </li></ul><ul><li>Access to the ‘new’ economy </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunity for international co-operation </li></ul><ul><li>Another route to ‘hard to reach’ students </li></ul><ul><li>Particularly suited to some disciplines </li></ul><ul><li>Already estimated 100 million active users of virtual worlds. </li></ul>
  14. 17. Worth the wait?
  15. 18. Things to remember! <ul><li>October 23 rd (this Friday)2009 essay due no later than 5pm SHARP! </li></ul><ul><li>Next week (28 th Oct.) – online video – class back to D114 in Health Sciences Building </li></ul><ul><li>Next blog assignment due end of week 10 (13 th Nov at 5pm). </li></ul><ul><li>Check out delicious links for this week! </li></ul>
  16. 19. Go raibh maith agaibh Cathal McCauley [email_address]