Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Librarians and Second Life

Educational technologists seem to have a strong leaning towards Second Life, the bizarre online phenomenon which now means so much to so many people - 6,619,620, the site says, as of today. Is the same thing true of librarians (who sometimes bear an uncanny resemblance to the ed tech people)?

I have to admit that my first impulse (and second, too) is to see this as extremely retrograde. Functioning smoothly in the world they are actually standing in seems to be something which many librarians (among others) have yet to achieve, and a second life might seem a lower priority than this one.

However, Kathryn Greenhill has a great post headed Ten Very Good Reasons Why Your Librarians Should Be In Second Life. Read the ten reasons, and then read Kathryn's next post which offers six bad reasons, and also links to Walt Crawford on the topic - one of four million ghost avatars in Second Life, as he puts it. There is more than meets the eye.

What do you think? If people keep raising the subject, I'm going to have to have a look at Second Life myself.

1 comment:

Dana said...

Well, as you saw this afternoon, I tried it and found it lacking. The interface is non-intuitive and clunky, and in combination with awkward graphics at one point while I was trying to dress my avatar in something other than the "city chic" appearance it got burdened with it had hair growing out of its eyes.

While Second Life is blogged and twittered about all the time as the Next Big Thing and a place librarians should check out because Its Where The Users Are, I think our primary user (university age students) would find the poor interface and dodgy graphics offputting (when you gcaqn do better in Quake, and you get to shoot everyone, why would you bother with Second Life?). I think if we want to engage with them via Web 2.0 we need to be looking to blogs, IM, social netowrking sites like Bebo and MySpace, content sites like YouTube, and even informationr esources like Wikipedia -- we need to go where they really are, not where some clever marketing hype hopes they will go.