Tuesday, May 30, 2006

History Gallery Garden

Alliance Second Life Library is pleased to announce the addition of a History Gallery Garden. Visitors may wander through a garden of lifesized photographs of historical photographs and listen to audio descriptions about the photos. This month, Emma Abbott, a nineteenth century opera singer from Peoria, Illinois and Dr. Melissa Germann, an early Quincy physician are featured. Each month, new topics will be featured in the garden. This month's features are from the "Illinois Alive! Early Heroes and Heroines" website at http://www.illinoisalive.info. The Illinois Alive grant was funded with an LSTA grant from the Illinois State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Update on Second Life Library

There is a lot happening this week at the Second Life Library.

We are building Info Island. CK Designs is putting up our new beautiful library building. It should be ready in two weeks.

Our partners World Bridges, and ICT Library have moved in. TechSoup hopes to be up by Monday. The Writing and Performance center had its first event which went well.

On Sunday at 2 eastern, 1 central, 11 a.m. sl time, DJ Under will do a training on broadcasting on the Info Island Radio station. Training at the open air theater.

On Monday at 9 eastern, 8 central, and 6 sl time, the collections group will meet at the open air theater. Cypress Barrett is head of that group.

On Tuesday at 9 eastern, 8 central and 6 sl time, there will be a meeting in the open air theater to plan for the new library space.

On Wednesday at 9 eastern, 8 central and 6 sl time, there will be a meeting in the open air theater of the Citizens Advisory Committee moderated by Patrick Witherspoon. Agenda items include discussion of the second draft of the business plan and projects which will bring visibility to the library.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

EdTechTalk visits the library

I've had the pleasure of participating in a few SkypeCasts with some folks associated with Worldbridges, which is something of a homespun webcasting group. They are very much interested in educational efforts within Second Life and the library fits right in. So I was delighted to see the library featured in the most recent EdTechTalk, a Worldbridges feature program. During the show, they visited various education-related sites in SL and made a visit to the library. You can see an entertaining video of them traipsing about the library by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Big News: An Island and Two New Partners!

Big news! An anonymous donor has purchased an island for us which will give us much more room to grow. It should be ready in the next week or so. At that time, we will begin moving the current library as quickly as possible and then continue to plan for expansion.

We acquired two new excellent partners today who will move to the island with us which will help us make the island a place to go to do a lot of different things.

One of our new partners is TechSoup, which is just building a presence in Second Life.
From the Tech Soup website: "Powered by CompuMentor, one of the nation's oldest and largest nonprofit technology assistance agencies, TechSoup.org offers nonprofits a one-stop resource for technology needs by providing free information, resources, and support. In addition to online information and resources, we offer a product philanthropy service called TechSoup Stock. Here, nonprofits can access donated and discounted technology products, generously provided by corporate and nonprofit technology partners.

We believe that technology can enhance nonprofit work, making us more efficient and better able to serve our communities. We never lose sight of that goal.

Whom we serve
TechSoup is a trusted technology resource that offers a variety of information and services for the benefit of the nonprofit sector.

TechSoup provides instructional articles and worksheets for nonprofit staff members who utilize information technologies, as well as technology planning information for executives and other decision makers. Our introductory articles and message board support are aimed at those who do not have much experience using technology, but we also provide more advanced information.

Our product philanthropy service, TechSoup Stock, is open to all qualified 501c3 nonprofit organizations. "

The other new partner is the ICT Library, or
Information and Communication Technology Library. It
is so named to be more global. "ICT" is a term our
friends in Europe, Africa, Asia, & the Middle East
readily recognize as refering to "educational
technology" and "instructional design."

From the ICT information card:
"Overview of the ICT LIbrary
The ICT Library is a not-for-profit endeavor formed to reach out to members of the educational community working within Second Life. Funds received from sponsors will be used to expand the knowledge of SL members who are interested in using this virtual environment as a way to mediate classes or training.

It is based on a premise of taking information that exists on websites (ex., www.simteach.com, www.secondlife.com/education, various blogs, etc.) and putting it in SL for display and demonstration. The library hopefull will help solve the difficulty many new educators have in finding useful tools and ideas (rather than leave it to serendipity). Central to the Library's goals is the tenet that outreach to educators is essential in helping expand understanding and knowlege of media tools. Specifically, the ICT Library will:

- serve as a repository of tools and scripts that would be useful for instruction (both commercial and "free" tools)
- give hints and tips about how to best use the virtual environment to promote higher levels of thinking and constructivist approaches to learning
- provide case studies of how educators are using tools
- show pictures/descriptions of innovative educational projects
- offer small grants to spur innovation in educational implementation

SL ICT Library History
The ICT Library was founded in spring 2006 on the initiative of SL member, Milosun Czervik. In RL, "Milo" is a research associate and instructional technologist in Virginia Tech's School of Education (Blacksburg, VA, USA). Special thanks goes to SL members Jeremy Kapumbo, Mari Asturias, Pathfinder Linden, and Adiatha Bishop for their continued encouragement, ideas, and assistance. A blog about this project (and other thoughts) can be found at: http://www.rpfolio.com/cblog/"

Sunday, May 14, 2006

New Library Writing and Performance Centre

The Second Life Library is pleased to announce the opening of the Writing and Performance Centre managed by Deidru Valentine. In honour of this event are launching a poetry competition. The prize is L$500.

Rules of the competition:

1) The deadline is 1pm SL time 20th May, 2006

2) The poem may be on any subject and in any form however must not exceed 20 lines.

How to enter.

1) From your inventory menu (Create) choose new note.

2) Right click on the new note and choose rename - type Poetry Competition 05.20.06. On the note enter your name (please note that your name will be deleted prior to being passed for judging and replaced with a code number relating to your name).

3) Type your poem on the note card remembering to ensure you do not exceed 20 lines.

4) Check that the poem is as you wish it to be for spelling, line breaks and punctuation.

5) Find Deidru Valentine in the Find People tab and drop the inventory item on her card.

6) IM Deidru to say that you've submitted for the competition.

Results will be announced by the 25th May. The winning entry and the top ten best poems will be displayed in the Writing and Performance Centre and will be published by the Second Life library.

Anyone wishing to join the Writing & Performance Centre should contact Deidru Valentine for an invite.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A moment for Solitude

Another exciting time for me in Second Life these past 24 hours or so. It started last night, when I jumped into a Skypecast which was being web-simulcast via Worldbridges. A small group of residents were able to chat while touring around Second Life. The participants were interested in education within Second Life and were naturally interested in the library, so I gave them the grand tour on air! I spent hours talking and exploring Second Life with this group and we ended up in the Podcasting News Network tower, where I was able to talk about the library project with a few recognizable names in podcasting. They all wanted landmarks (location markers that allow you to teleport to a location in-world) by the end of the chat. Earlier today, I jumped in-world to find that my Worldbridges friends had returned to the library without my prompting. A pleasant surprise indeed.

This afternoon was the first meeting of the library's Citizen Advisory Committee, which I could not attend. I hope that we can provide a report of that meeting shortly. But we followed that meeting with a discussion of our first big fundraising/grand opening event. A number of good ideas were proposed and a few volunteers identified to look at some of the options. Looks like we will be shooting for sometime in late June to make this event happen, so stay tuned for more details.

But this post is really about a wonderful gesture from an SL artist that took place just a short while ago. The library became the recipient of a lovely sculpture called Solitude, given to us by its artist, Sleepy Rambler.

This picture does it no justice, as the inner parts move and spin around to brilliant effect (they can also be stopped for an altogether different effect). This connection with Sleepy Rambler was made possible by our own Eiseldora Reisman, who is developing quite a fan club of her own.

If you've been to the Alliance Second Life Library 2.0 before, but it's been awhile, come back and check us out. The pace of development is breathtaking, as is the landscape.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Introduction to Alliance Second Life Library 2.0

Alliance Library System/OPAL will provide an introduction to the Alliance Second Life Library 2.0 in the OPAL auditorium on Wednesday, May 31, at 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Speakers will include Greg Schwartz, Tom Peters, Lori Bell, Kelly Czarnecki, Jami Lynn Schwarzwalder, and other librarians involved in the project. They will explain what they are doing, show you what is happening and answer questions about the project. Book discussions, training sessions, and other programs are currently being offered to current virtual residents. The goal of the project is to promote the real library and online library services to adults who might not otherwise use the library.

What is Second Life? Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by nearly 200,000 people from around the globe. There are shopping malls, events, homes, lands of different types, and best of all, participants can contribute content, buildings, and other digital creations. The group is also working on a library for the Teen Second Life Library to open in the fall.

No registration is necessary. If you are interested in attending, please come to the OPAL online auditorium at
Type your name, click enter to go into the room. A small software applet will download to your computer as you enter the room. You may want to check the software before the program to make sure it works on your computer. All you need to participate is a computer with Internet connection, sound card, and speakers.

If you have any problems with the software, please contact Tom Peters, OPAL Coordinator, at tapinformation@yahoo.com or Lori Bell at lbell@alliancelibrarysystem.com.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Google moves into virtual worlds

Just think - by doing what we are doing now, we will be able to help our communities move into the virtual world!

Google moves into virtual worlds
By combining satellite maps and 3-D software, Google Earth is turning into a virtual online playground.
By Chris Taylor, Business 2.0 Magazine senior editor
May 11, 2006: 11:47 AM EDT
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SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0 Magazine) - It's Google's world. We just live in it.

Online virtual worlds are a hot topic, as gamers spend more and more time playing online and virtual real estate turns into a real market. Now Google (Research) is getting into the business -- and if its plans come to fruition, the virtual world will never be the same. In fact, it may look more like the world we know than futurists ever imagined.

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Google already has Google Earth, a 3-D mockup of the planet generated from satellite photos. But Google wants you to do more than just zoom through its virtual Earth. The company wants you to add on to it, too.

At the end of April the company released, for free, a popular 3-D modeling program it bought called SketchUp. Google is encouraging developers to use SketchUp to build 3-D layers on top of Google Earth. There's even a website Google provides called 3-D Warehouse, where you can demonstrate what you've built in Sketch Up.

Enter the metaverse
The notion that you can create objects and buildings and place them in a virtual world makes Google Earth sounds less like a mapping tool and more like a metaverse. What's a metaverse? Science fiction writer Neal Stephenson introduced the term in his seminal 1992 novel, Snow Crash. The metaverse was Stephenson's name for a virtual world where his characters play and do business. It was a black ball 1.6 times the size of Earth, with a giant street running around its equator.

In Stephenson's novel, millions of users uploaded customized "avatars," or virtual personalities, and strolled the street, entering shops and exclusive nightclubs, conversing and trading with the metaverse's other denizens. It was, in effect, a 3-D version of the web.

Online worlds like Second Life and There.com – not to mention online games like World of Warcraft, Lineage, and EverQuest -- are direct descendants of the metaverse vision. Entrepreneurs like Second Life creator Anshe Chung have demonstrated how to run very profitable businesses trading online real estate, avatars, and other virtual goods -- businesses that have no physical presence in the real world.

But as popular as they are, virtual worlds like these are hardly mainstream. They're a little hard to navigate, and a little too videogame-like for the average user. It's hard to imagine your mom running around in Second Life, let alone World of Warcraft.

Googling the planet
It is, however, pretty easy to imagine your mom downloading and using Google Earth (indeed, perhaps she already is).

You can already download user-generated layers that sit on top of Google's 3-D Earth and show you, for example, the location of celebrity houses or hiking trails or famous landmarks. One dating service has even started showing people looking for partners as a Google Earth layer.

Real estate companies have started showing off virtual versions of their buildings (for sale in the real world) on Google Earth. SketchUp allows them to build entire models of their apartments, right down to the microwave oven.

Where will it end? Google Earth general manager John Hanke has said that Google Earth was partly inspired by Snow Crash's metaverse. At a recent Google press event, he described it as a "3-D virtual world."

A virtual Earth
The result could be that we'll soon populate a virtual version of planet Earth instead of the made-from-scratch metaverses like online games or Second Life. The main element Google Earth is missing today is avatars, but at least one observer believes those to be added soon.

"I would expect to see someone using Google Earth as a virtual social space by the end of the year," says Jerry Paffendorf, research director of the Acceleration Studies Foundation, a futurist organization.

Paffendorf isn't just sitting around waiting for the metaverse to happen, either. Last weekend he helped arrange something called the Metaverse Roadmap Summit, a gathering of programmers of virtual worlds.

The idea of the summit was to outline how we're going to get from here to the metaverse in ten years. There were major disagreements between the attendees, most notably between those who believe the Web should stay as a 2-D environment with 3-D components, and those who want the Web to become a 3-D metaverse-like environment where your avatar can call up 2-D screens if and when they need to – say, for a word-processing program.

Those in the latter camp believe, like Paffendorf, that Google Earth is the most likely candidate to become a metaverse. Just add avatars, they say, and the possibilities are endless.

Consumers could fly into the virtual New York, go shopping in a virtual Times Square, get past the velvet rope at a virtual Studio 54 and chat with an avatar dressed as Andy Warhol. They could plan their next trip to the real New York in meticulous detail, become a detective in a Gotham noir, browse an apartment for sale, or jump into a taxi and play a driving game.

There are, in short, many more opportunities in a virtual version of the real world than in an entirely fantastical world like Second Life -- or indeed Stephenson's original vision of the metaverse.

It's early days yet, but if Google Earth continues to develop as it has since its release a mere year ago, and if developers continue to build 3-D content and businesses continue to explore using layers, then the possibilities are as boundless as the planet.

By 2016, Google Earth should be a very crowded place indeed.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Exciting updates

Many updates....
1) The first citizen advisory meeting will be held at the library education center at 3 sl time Saturday. The chair of the committee, Patrick Witherspoon, will moderate the meeting via audio so if you want to attend and hear the audio, go to the Second Life audio room at
Minimize that window. The meeting will be held in Second Life. You can respond and discuss via text chat in Second Life - but he will moderate via audio.

2) The programming group wll meet at the education center at 4 sl time Saturday to discuss a fundraising/opening event. Greg Schwartz has a lot of great ideas.

3) Namro is doing a great job with the medical library. To highlight this part of Second Life Library 2.0, Ebsco Consumer Health is giving Second Life Library and its patrons a trial during June and July. During this time, Maxito Ricardo will do workshops for patrons on how to use Ebsco Consumer Health and how to find consumer health information on the Internet. We can also discuss other health oriented programs for this promotion at the meeting Saturday.

4) We will have an OPAL program on the Second Life Library 2.0 at 2:00 p.m. central, 3 p.m. Eastern, and noon Pacific on May 31. Greg Schwartz has agreed to speak. Eiseldora, Zach, Maxito, Namro, BlueWings and Ray, or anyone else willing to speak on the great efforts you have made on behalf of this project? Please let me know as I will soon put out publicity on this program.

5) We have a jukebox radio in the library. Several commented that they would like music.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Teen SL Library - Meeting Minutes, 5/7/06, Crossposted

Virtual Teen Library Services Meeting
Sunday, May 07, 2006 5:00 PM

Medical Library building, 2nd floor

  • Purpose of meeting
  • Where we are with SL teen services
  • Teen/Adult grid
  • Teen SL Campus in fall
  • Island for library
  • Updates/News
    • School Library Journal
    • YPulse
    • M2-Metaverse Messenger column
    • Focus of project-Teen driven
    • How we can reach them in the game (M2 and in RL)
    • Build partnerships with people/organizations in RL and in SL
    • MySpace account
    • Educators mailing list
    • Private island owner to work with other educators
  • People’s interests
    • Communication (different google group, forum?, etc.)
    • Committees?

In Attendance:
BlueWings Hayek (Kelly), teen librarian
Ray Lightworker (Matt), youth/teens and technology in RL
Klutzy Marx Teen librarian in RL
Cerulean Vesperia (Beth), Library trainer/consultant
Lorelei Junot (Lori), Alliance Library System
Eiseldora Reisman (Jami), LIS student and gamer
Jenna Darrow (Jenna), middle school/high school librarian
Brackish Ludwig (Sebastian) works w/ computers and admin
Rex Riel (Rex), Head Buyer/Technician for a small IT company, library lover, scrounger and info nut
Planetneutral Fackler (Greg), supervisor at a public library
AXEl Foley
Robin Chamberlin, (Robin) YA Librarian & Simmons online CE instructor

Before the meeting officially started, we learned that Eiseldora is training as an instructor through TeaZers, and has added the following classes to next week's schedule: Making a HulaHoop, Virtual Reference, and Basic Decorating. Her rotating chair in the Medical LIbrary won an award at the Wednesday design contest. Congrats Eiseldora!

After a round of introductions, Blue Wings updated us on the progress of the Teen Library on the Teen Grid concept. On Adults are not allowed on the teen grid, and teens are not allowed on the adult grid. For more details, see the message from Pathfinder Linden forwarded from Planetneutral Fackler at http://virtualteenlibrary.blogspot.com/2006/04/explanation-of-sl-teen-grid.html.

We could wait for a Teen Campus (in development) to be completed this fall, or purchase an island outside the teen grid that teens could go to. The benefit is that there would be support for us to be a part of it as a teen services library.

The current procedure is adults must buy an island off the Teen Grid that teens can go to. Islands cost $1200 plus $150 a month for maintenance (20% educator discount). One
option would be to share an island with other educators by renting plots, or creating a content creation space for teens. Islands can't be split between the Teen/Adult grids at present.

Initial funding sources could include Libraries Matter / Alliance Library System for the initial purchase. Grant sources, and corporate funding could fund the $150 a month fee.
Corporate sponsors to approach might include OCLC and Overdrive, or businesses within SL. Lorelei, Ray, BlueWings and Cerulean offered to work on a grant.

Joining the educators mailing list was mentioned again. The Education Community page suggests emailing pathfinder AT lindenlab DOT com
to join the Educator's listserv.

Ray suggested putting together a small group to investigate the island building options; Brackish has some experience. BlueWings Hayek expressed interest, and the issue was tabled.

News and Updates
Rex Riel and Namro installed visitor detectors in the main and medical buildings. Current traffic is around 40/day. Use the command “say list” to view visitors.

A signboard has been added in front of the current building.

A new open classroom has been added next to the SL library, and at the conclusion of the meeting, most of the group went to check out the space. It’s located at Minoa 220, 43 and includes a "Welcome to Second Life" script with notecards from classes and information on how to get started in SL. The space can be reserved through Google calendar or by contacting Rain to schedule.

School Library Journal (BlueWings Hayek) -mention appearing in June issue
YALSA blog (Eiseldora Reisman) - Eiseldora has been doing lots of posting!
YPulse (Katt Kongo & Daughter) - interested in doing a story and getting teen perspective
M2 Teen Metaverse Messenger (BlueWings Hayek)

A discussion on how to reach out to teens in RL followed. There is already a mySpace profile set up at http://www.myspace.com/73899784. Other suggestions included setting up an OPAL room and getting Alliance Libraries involved in recruiting teens.

At present, we don’t have figures for how many teens are playing. Brackish said he thought the teen rate of joining SL is very good at this point, and Eiseldora reported that the teens she's talked to don't know about it, so it's not cool yet, or past cool. The teen grid is not as developed as the Adult grid. Episode 7 of Secondcast interviewed a teen player, Mercury Metropolitan, said there are about 10,000 users, not all are active. Download this episode at:

The issue of cost of getting teens involved came up – Lorelei reported that it is possible for institutions to set up educational accounts with logins/passwords. A basic account is free, but not all teens have credit cards. Cell phones with text messaging capabilities are a no-credit card option.

Action Plan

Continue learning about building and scripting (Eiseldora)
Set up a separate Google Group (Ray)

Set up a Teen Forum and take advantage of the polls options
Conduct a meeting for those interested in funding options (BlueWings)
Continue with mySpace profile
Develop programming (Lorelei)
Create in-world orientation workshops for librarians this summer (Klutzy Marx
Jenna Darrow)
Promote the project in RL workshops and trainings (BlueWings, Cerulean)
Create a Teen SL library Flickr group
Publish meeting notes to:
  • SL blog (Cerulean)
  • Teen SL blog (Cerulean)
  • YALSA Gaming Dicussion Group (Cerulean)
  • YALSA blog (Eiseldora)
  • YALSA listserv (BlueWings)
  • LM_Net listervs (BlueWings)
  • Teen SL Google Group (Ray)
Lorelei gave meeting attendees a Free Culture package, and the meeting concluded with an evaluation to determine if we covered everything we needed to, and a tour of the new open air training center.

Some resources from Planetneutral Fackler – Teen insights to adult presence on the Teen Grid

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Brackeis Education Center

An exciting new space has been added to the library grounds. Now introducing the Brackeis Education Center:

This space will be a venue for classes, programs, fairs and anything else that the growing number of creative librarians can conceptualize. As you can see, it's pretty much an empty canvas.

Lots of great stuff happening all around. More to come regarding the teen meeting earlier tonight.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Great program, great speaker, great crowd!

Tonight, we had a great program by Katt Kongo, publisher of the
Metaverse Messenger about starting and running a business in Second Life. About 30 different people attended, most of them not librarians. There was a lot of great discussion, so the Library is going to form a Second Life small business support group with speakers each month from different types of businesses in Second Life. There are actually some people who work full-time with their businesses in Second Life for their primary income! Now, wouldn't that be fun!

We are also forming a citizen's advisory group to meet monthly to provide feedback and input on our evolving library.

Class tomorrow

I'll be teaching a session of my Intro to Library Research class tomorrow (Sunday May 7) at 1pm SLT.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Kiosk for Real Life Education Events in Second Life and other News

Pathfinder Linden, who works with educators in Second Life, has provided the Second Life Library with a kiosk we have placed right outside the library with information on other education groups and their activities and locations. The library is included!

We will have a weekly column in the newspaper of Second Life, the "Metaverse Messenger."

Thanks to BlueWings and Eiseldora, we will have a small story and photo in the June issue of School Library Journal about Second Life 2.0 and the plans for the teen library.

Namro is heading up efforts for a medical information service.

Second Life at Internet Librarian

In a last-minute squeak-through I, Lori Bell, and Tom Peters will be presenting on the Second Life Library 2.0 project at Internet Librarian 2006. Probably in the last session of the "Digital Strategies" track on Tuesday. Here is the draft session description. (As soon as a final one is release I'll be sure to post it.)

The Second Life Library 2.0: Going to where the users are
Lori Bell, Director of Innovation, Alliance Library System
Tom Peters, CEO, TAP Information Services
Michael Sauers, Internet Trainer, BCR
In April 2006, the Alliance Library System put out a call for librarians interested in participating in a project to set up a library presence in the virtual reality world of Second Life. By the end of the month more than two dozen librarians from around the world were meeting at a brand new virtual library to staff the reference desk, and discussing collection development, online programming, and library services. Since then the response has only grown and Second Life citizens are taking advantage of all the library has to offer. This session will present an overview of Second Life itself, the creation of the Second Life Library, and the services that it is now offering in this completely virtual environment.

Monday, May 01, 2006

My day in pictures.

I went out today to get pictures of the museums in Second Life for one of my finals. I had an lovely day. I posted the highlights.