Although I don’t believe in “virtual depositories” that do not locally store digital documents, I do believe there is a place for virtual government information services.
In service to this belief, and to the believe that it isn’t enough to put up well designed web pages, I have volunteered at the Second Life Public Library. In addition to doing two hours of reference a week, I am setting up their government documents department. If you already have a Second Life, please drop by the library and have a visit. And drop me a line. I am registered as Alaskan Nighbor. The govdocs department is kind of bare-bones at the moment, but it’s growing. The rest of the library is well worth a visit too! If you work with govdocs and want to help — PLEASE!
If you haven’t heard of Second Life yet, here are a few articles to get you up to speed:
- My Virtual Life – A journey into a place in cyberspace where thousands of people have imaginary lives. Some even make a good living. Big advertisers are taking notice (May 1, 2006 Businessweek)
- American Apparel’s Virtual Clothes – The outfit has opened a virtual store in Second Life’s online universe. Though items cost only $1, the company hopes to bolster real life sales (June 26, 2006, Business Week)
- BBC starts to rock online world (May 12, 2006, BBC News)
Certainly Second Life could be a fad, but if Business Week, the BBC and major retailers think Second Life is worth paying attention to, then maybe government information specialists should too. The challege is to pay attention to trends like these while not leaving the millions of un and underconnected behind.