Tuesday, August 19, 2008

7 Tips: Starting an Academic Library in Second Life

Following are the detailed tips I presented at the ACRL discussion on Starting an Academic Library in Second Life:

TIP 1: Seek out and be open to opportunities and possibilities
o In December 2005, I attended a wonderful 2-day online New Media Consortium conference on educational gaming
o In April 2006, I got an SL avatar so I could attend the grand opening of NMC’s campus
o In Fall 2006, Lori Bell announced that Talis Company was providing free space for one year for libraries in the new Cybrary City
o I jumped on the opportunity and requested space for a tentative UCLA Library, pending approval

TIP 2: Get approval for a tentative site
o Sarah Watstein, UCLA’s AUL for Research & Instructional Services was extremely supportive of experimentation with new technology like SL & approved it tentatively
o And, Lori Bell very kindly gave us a building and put up a sign that said "Tentative UCLA Library"

TIP 3: Propose a service plan
o Sarah Watstein and I then developed a service plan proposal with 3 main elements:
• Building and enhancing library-faculty partnerships.
• Building and enhancing research collections.
• Enhancing services and focusing on information literacy.
o Our UL Gary E. Strong approved the service plan in Spring 2007 (copies available upon request: estherg@library.ucla.edu)

TIP 4: Start small
o For a long time, the only item in the UCLA Library was a Persian Tree of Life rug that I bought for L$10
o Slowly, very slowly, I added more items, some free, some purchased--I've spent a total of US$10 in SL since April 2006, when I first got an avatar, and the UCLA Library has spent a total of US$100 for a year’s rent
o Kind people like Abbey gave me items, too, including a slideshow display board and a monitor

TIP 5: Be brave and be willing to try, fail, and learn from failure
o I was so proud of myself when I figured out how to replace the urls that the monitor displays when you click on it, with UCLA Library urls
o This was after messing up lots of things, including half-burying the rug under the floor…
o Of course, this was all after I got up the nerve to even leave the home location I'd set for myself when I started out in SL--the New Media Consortium’s island
o I might have left a little sooner if I’d followed the next tip a bit more quickly

TIP 6: Ask for help
o In addition to the help that Lori Bell and Abbey provided, I was so lucky to have help from 50 Winx, a UCLA Library staff member who has very kindly helped make the UCLA Library look and work much better
o Thanks to 50, we now display images from one of our digital collections, the Online Campaign Literature Archive
o She also …
• created and mounted a banner with the UCLA Library logo, above the front door and on the
• figured out how to swap out the image on the monitor so that it's the same as the UCLA
Library home page
• just mounted hovering text over the monitor that suggests clicking on it for UCLA Library
o Very importantly, too, 50 has been instrumental in helping a UCLA serials cataloger learn
SL and hold a statewide meeting of UC serials cataloging staff in the UCLA Library in SL,
avoiding the need for them to spend an entire day travelling to this meeting
o That brings me to the last tip…

TIP 7: Share what you learn and offer to help others
o I've done presentations on SL to introduce it to UCLA library staff and computing center staff, as well as faculty and TAs
o 2 UCLA instructors have been using SL for some of their class meetings and assignments, including a library school faculty member, and I've met with some of their students
o A third UCLA instructor is planning to teach an entire course in SL in the Fall, and I'll be working with her to help her get oriented
o She’s also applied for grants to establish a UC Education Abroad site in SL, and has written me into grant proposals to teach information literacy sessions to students there.
o So far, no luck with grants, but she keeps trying, and that's a good lesson for us all…
o Try something new, learn from it, and keep trying.

1 comment:

  1. It is great to see good use being made of the Second Life real-estate we have sponsored.

    Innovation by just having a go is exactly what we hoped would take place, and it is great you are sharing your experience.

    Richard Wallis
    Technology Evangelist, Talis