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Nebraska Library Commission has clear purpose in Second Life

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Here is my long-delayed field report on the Second Life Branch of the Nebraska Library Commission.

In short, I’m impressed. The thing I’m most impressed by is that the Nebraska Library Commission offers clear reasons about why they are in Second Life and what they hope to accomplish. They state this on a notecard available in the lobby:

Why we are in Second Life:

1. To network and develop professional relationships with other librarians from around the country and around the world.

2. To explore whether and how libraries might use 3-D virtual worlds to reach out to new users.

3. To gain first-hand knowledge of library activities in Second Life that we can bring back and share with interested Nebraska librarians.

Might not be compelling reasons to all, but I’m glad to see that they can explain why they’re devoting resources to this in a nice soundbite.

All areas of the library appear to be represented, including Government Documents. While there is no formal display of documents that I could find, there was a notecard about Nebraska related questions that included a link to the Nebraska Documents Depository program. In addition there there several Nebraska related maps around the first floor.

The second floor is devoted to a display of photos from the Nebraska Memories database developed by multiple institutions in Nebraska. Here is a picture I took of part of the display:

Notecards describing the photos are available, as is a link directly to the photo’s Nebraska Memories page where people can see more details and search for related items. It has a nice museum feel to it and as I’ve mentioned in previous posting on Second Life, I think musueum type displays are going to be natural for virtual worlds like Second Life.

One last nice touch by the NLC staff is a card in the lobby titled “What to do in Second Life” which features staff picks about places to go and things to do in the virtual environment. It has a mix of education and entertainment. I plan to visit several of the places listed on the card, including returning to Washtown, a Firefly inspired enviornment complete with a replica of Serenity. I went there today, but Second Life crashed on me before I could look around much. More proof that the 3D world is coming, but isn’t quite here yet in the sense that the web is.

What do libraries do in Second Life?

Thanks to Michael Sauers at the Nebraska Library Commission Blog for pointing out this YouTube Video on what librarians and other educator groups are doing with Second Life:

I recommend this video if you haven’t tried Second Life yet. This video downloads a lot faster than SL’s 30MB client software. If you’re intrigued to investigate on your own, go to Second Life and get your free avatar. You’re only cost will be time and a twice monthly railing at required updates.

Proceedings of the Second Life Education Workshop

The Education Dept’s ERIC Clearinghouse gave notice of this recent report on educational potential in Second Life:

ERIC #: ED493670
Title: Proceedings of the Second Life Education Workshop, Part of the Second Life Community Convention (1st, San Francisco, California, August 18-20, 2006)

As a volume of proceedings, this is a compilation of papers. My favorite paper based solely on title from these proceedings is “Down the Rabbit Hole … or How the NMC Took the Red Pill and Got a Second Life (Larry Johnson).”

From a government information perspective though, people might be more interested in “Designing an Educational Island inside Second Life for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) (Eric J. Hackathorn)”

Both papers can be accessed at the link above.

It also appears that at least some of the content in the ERIC database is visible to Google, since I received this link in a Google Alert. It would be interesting for someone to research whether ALL of the ERIC content is accessible through Google since we’ve reported on significant amounts of government information are hidden from Google.

New Directory: Government Agencies in Virtual Worlds

Government agencies, like many businesses, are starting to explore Second Life and other “virtual worlds.”

FGI follows them in with a new directory of Government Agencies in Virtual Worlds.

So far we’ve identified three federal agencies and three State Libraries in Second Life. Know about others? Leave a comment on the directory page or send an e-mail to admin AT freegovinfo dot info.


South Carolina

Here are South Carolina’s virtual 3-D government spots that we know of. Know of something that isn’t here? Let us know.

  • South Carolina State Library – Looks like an experimental space so far. Blog Release | No Second Life link found, follow directions in “Blog Release.”