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Virtual Worlds, Real Libraries: 09/29/11

cover art

Virtual Worlds, Real Libraries by Lori Bell and Rhonda Trueman begins with the Gartner Research Group estimate that 80% of all internet users will experience a virtual world of some sort by 2011. I doubt they're all librarians or library students, but many of them are.

Bell and Trueman's book is designed as a handbook to understanding the allure of worlds like Second Life and how they can (and are) used for things other than just play. There's some history of librarians and the libraries they've created.

That said, the book wasn't as comprehensive as I hoped. It's a little bit of everything and not a lot of anything in particular. This book would work best as a wiki. In that wiki I would put an atlas of library and university sites with clickable links. While many of the libraries are grouped together on a single island, not all of them are.

Part of my online course work at SJSU requires the use of Second Life. I have to admit that when I first heard that, I balked. Until school I'd had no desire to use the program having felt liked I'd gotten all of my virtual world needs out of my system as an undergrad using MMPORGs.

But my school has a virtual campus as do lots of other universities. Libraries are spawning virtual versions of themselves to handle remote reference questions. Google Books even has a library one can walk through to see the books that are otherwise ebooks in the real world.

Three stars.

Comments (2)

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Comment #1: Friday, September, 30, 2011 at 12:22:16


This is interesting. I don't know much about "virtual world" stuff. My college didn't have that type of thing when I finished in 2005 and I always balked about things like SIMs. (Though I always enjoyed RPGs, go figure) I read recently that the Army is employing a virtual Army OneSource via Second Life for families to use (I'm an Army wife) and scoffed. The way you describe the virtual library though has me thinking I should stop the eye rolling and check it out a bit more extensively.

(If your curious about the Army thing, it's here )

Comment #2: Monday, October 3, 2011 at 21:30:22


Thank you for the link regarding the Army's use of Second Life. Second Life is becoming more and more a place to collaborate than just a place to play.

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