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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

Federal Agencies in Second Life and Other Virtual Worlds

Below is a listing of US Federal agencies that we know operate some sort of official presence in Second Life or some other 3-D virtual world. Know of a space we’re missing? Leave a comment or send an e-mail to Admin AT freegovinfo.info.

This is a listing by agency. We list the name of the space, a short description, a link to a regular URL page and if we have it, a link into the virtual world. Please note that at least in Second Life, the pointers (called SLurls) may get you close (like on the same island), but you won’t always be dropped right in front of the virtual government facility. It’s not our fault. Wander around, ask people who are there.

  • CDC
    • “Virtual CDC” – In August 2006, CDC set up its first test site for sharing public health information in an on-line, “cyber community.” The community is named Second Life and has more than 3.3 million members. CDC´s member of this community is named Hygeia Philo (“lover of health”). And just like CDC staff, Hygeia is the virtual public health worker in this “virtual CDC.” Press Release | Visit CDC in Second Life
  • NASA
    • Virtual CoLab – Virtual component of NASA CoLab – “The goal of these initiatives is to catalyze the development of a non-traditional aerospace sector to participate in the Vision for Space Exploration.” Website | Visit Virtual CoLab in Second Life
  • NOAA
    • NOAA’s Virtual World – “On NOAA’s island, one can soar through a hurricane on the wing of a research aircraft, rise gently through the atmosphere atop a weather balloon, or search for a hidden underwater cave on a side trip from a NOAA submarine.” Website | Visit NOAA’s Virtual World in Second Life

Government Agencies in Virtual Worlds

As virtual worlds like Second Life, Sony’s Home and other environments come online, government agencies across the planet are exploring virtual worlds as places of education, outreach, tourism promotion and more.

We at Free Government Information are agnostic about whether this is the best use of government resources and to the extent that virtual environments are proprietary and lock things with Digital Rights Management, don’t support Second Life or other platforms as the best ways to access and preserve government information. But the efforts are interesting and virtual environments do seem to have great potential as educational spaces. Which is probably why units of NOAA and NASA are already in Second Life.

So we’ve decided to keep track of the different efforts by government agencies, including State Libraries in Second Life. Click on a link below to be taken to a directory of “virtual spaces” for that level of government. FGI welcomes contributions from any level of government from International Organizations down to local governments. Please let us know what environment the agency is operating in and where, at least roughly, we can find their offices. We’d also like a plain vanilla URL to the organization’s regular web page, hopefully announcing its presence in Second Life or other virtual world.