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Talking, Looking, Flying, Searching: A research report on information seeking in Second Life


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This research project examines how residents of the virtual world Second Life seek & find information, based on ethnographic research by a graduate student in library and information science.

Published in: Technology, Education

Talking, Looking, Flying, Searching: A research report on information seeking in Second Life

  1. 1. Talking, looking, flying, searching: A research report on information seeking in Second Life Margaret Ostrander (Testy Outlander) 22 April 2008 Info Island International, Second Life LIS8010: Users in Virtual Worlds, Dr. Michael Stephens Dominican University/College of St. Catherine MLIS Program © Margaret Ostrander, 2008
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Information seeking themes </li></ul><ul><li>Implications for libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion </li></ul>
  3. 3. Methodology <ul><li>Ethnographic approach </li></ul><ul><li>Grounded theory </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews + observations </li></ul><ul><li>Data analysis </li></ul>
  4. 4. What were they seeking? <ul><li>Looking for </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cities and countries that mirror RL places </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People to share RL troubles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>French classes at SL university </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opera music & performances </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Land parcels by name </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Experiencing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Interactive art exhibit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ChatBot conversation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intercultural conversation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Stumbling upon </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A music concert </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Info about SL on a T.V. drama </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Places through ‘picks’ in SL profiles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Info about SL as a corporate training aid </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Themes <ul><li>Fig 1. Categorization of 12 instances of information seeking from interview data </li></ul>
  6. 6. Sociability <ul><li>“ on google you can’t interact with other people looking at what you’re looking at” </li></ul><ul><li>- SL resident on visiting a SL art exhibit </li></ul>
  7. 7. Visual & mobile info <ul><li>“ i took a gondola ride through venice and walked around paris with a friend” </li></ul><ul><li>SL resident on </li></ul><ul><li>finding information in SL </li></ul><ul><li>“ it’s quite different because I feel like I’m ‘virtually’ standing,,,ha ha pardon the pun…in front of people” </li></ul><ul><li>SL resident on </li></ul><ul><li>SL versus the web </li></ul>
  8. 8. Serendipity “ [i] came to this sim through the secondlife showcase thingy. thats how i found out bout this mexican ruins place.. and stumbled into the concert” - SL resident on finding a concert in SL “ I happened onto that when I was looking at my account settings.” – SL resident on finding out about corporate training in SL
  9. 9. Search mechanism <ul><li>“ This falls under ‘wouldn’t it be cool if…….’ It’s not unusual, when searching on a website, to find that the search function is ‘powered by Google’. SL might be served well by taking that approach. Just a thought :)” </li></ul><ul><li>- SL resident on SL search </li></ul>
  10. 10. Play & humor <ul><li>“ ALICE is the artificial linguistic internet computer entity... It sort of tickled my fancy that I’d be able to talk to computers…The first question I asked her was ‘is there a god’…” </li></ul><ul><li>SL resident on a </li></ul><ul><li>humorous conversation with a ChatBot </li></ul>
  11. 11. Library Use <ul><li>Real Life </li></ul><ul><li>Library Use </li></ul><ul><li>100% </li></ul><ul><li>Second Life </li></ul><ul><li>Library Use </li></ul><ul><li>0% </li></ul>
  12. 12. Library Use <ul><li>“ information should be open to everyone really. see here in my country we don’t really have public libraries, so we tend to just turn to school libraries and the internet when we need something. as an adult you have to buy these books to be able to read them” </li></ul><ul><li>– SL resident </li></ul>
  13. 13. Info seeking factors Sociability Sociability Sociability Sociability Visual & Mobile Serendipity SL Tools Play
  14. 14. <ul><li>Questions? </li></ul><ul><li>Margaret Ostrander </li></ul><ul><li>(Testy Outlander in SL) </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>