Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

Second Life - activities

I'm (obviously) having a difficult time trying to figure out where to keep everything. Joe Floyd and Drew Smith and I did some workshops from the TLT Group about Second Life which resulted in a blog to post informaton for the participants in the workshop.... See

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Learning more about machinima

In my quest to find out more how things are done on Second Life, I attended In Kenzo's meeting on machinima last night. I had a lot of trouble in the afternoon trying to find Amo Island. The Second Life search engines drive me crazy. I know something's there, but I never seem to hit the right search terms - and yes, I'm a librarian, so that's disturbing! - or perhaps the search engine is just flakey at times. It can't be ME, can it?? A message to SLED (the Second Life educators discussion list) indicated that the magic trick: Use the "map" button and then type in AMO - though I'm sure I'd tried that earlier in the day. Anyway... I did manage to make it to the location! and it was worth the trouble! I read some of the posters about machinima. Once more avatars arrived, In got a Skypecast going - and of course I mixed up the numbers at the end of my Skype ID since I don't use it very often and had to go look THAT up - and she proceeded gave us a lot of information in the space of an hour or so. We were encouraged to just go ahead and try recording some of the session. I was somewhat flummoxed by the inability to note if the Second Life onboard camera was off or on and managed to get NOTHING while we were in session, but went back later and managed to get a little clip of no merit, but it worked! And Windows Media Player was happy to bring up the resulting AVI file and play it! Ok!! ( P.S. One piece of info that seemed particularly useful: During filming, save the movie onto an external device.) Of course I don't have all the necessary tools - no editing software - and I gather that it would be nice if a copy of Camtesia would fall off a truck onto my computer - and and and - (sigh) - but I can see that you can do SOMETHING fairly easily even if it's not going to be the snazziest production on the block.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Best Practices in Education In Second Life

I stood around at an inworld meeting planning for the up-coming "Second Life International Conference: Best Practices in Teaching, Learning and Research" ( )(May 25, 2007). Desideria Stockton (SL name) and a few others spent a couple of hours organizing themselves and other volunteers into groups, discussing how to honor their sponsors, etc. What struck me (and why I stuck around even though I didn't have a specific role to play) was the amazing energy of this group of self-starters. I'm guessing that none of them went to an administrator asking for permission to spend their time on this conference. I'm guessing that they see this as an excellent way to spend their professional time and are in "Just Do It" mode. That's one of the nicest - and most unsung - attributes of Second Life educators/librarians/others: Dream up something that seems interesting and just go ahead and do it!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Meebo adventures

Our library decided to try to go with the flow and experiment with IM in place of the chat service we've been using from RightNow Technologies. We started our experiment this week with Meebo. Too early to tell if users are going to like it better, but from our end as agents it's been sooooo annoying it's unbelievable! It's been erratic: Sometimes it loads. Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it likes Firefox. Sometimes it doesn't seem to want to load. Sometimes it likes IE ok. Sometimes it says we're offline when we aren't. We haven't got a way to tell each other if we're in the middle of a chat so that the next librarian can take over. We've taken to pretending we're the public and letting the librarian on duty know that the next person's ready to take over. We can't log on more than one of us as an agent at a time. Since there's no encouragement for users to leave us their email address, if a session gets dropped or we think of something to add to our answer after the session's over, there's no way to get back to the patron. There are no chat logs. There is no automatic way to keep statistics. Running Meebo as a sidebar in FireFox is sort of ok, but it's hard to make Meebo fit in that area very well. If more than one chat comes in, the little Meebo screens just topple over each other making it hard to switch back and forth. We don't have sound cards at the PCs at the Reference Desk so there is "beep" to let us know that someone wants to IM. Meebo doesn't pop up with a window so it is difficult to multitask and remember to watch the screen to see if someone wants to IM. We can't tell when users disconnect. THEN.... to add to the technical issues, we find that we are not doing well at IM. We're not fast enough. If we tell a patron to wait a minute and let us check on something for them, it turns out that they are often gone when we get back.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Second Life, New Media Consortium, Learning

The New Media Consortium has a number of islands on Second Life.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Designing Better Libraries

Steven Bell and John Shanks new blog Designing Better Libraries

Librarians have been discussing what Web 2.0 means for libraries. Have Web 2.0 concepts had an impact on how reference librarians operate and do their work on behalf of users? I don't know... It all seems a bit much and overblown to me. Putting up a web page, putting up a blog... Of course it helps, but does having information online solve all user problems? It doesn't seem so to me. My sense is that we're answering a lot fewer factual questions than we might have in the past, but at our busy academic library, we are still doing a lot of one-on-one instruction. We still have a lot of the "How do I find peer-reviewed journal articles on (fill in the subject)?" kind of question. Do we have information about that online? Sure! Could we present that information in a better way? Probably. (It's the old problem: What do we call an "online indexes that contain at least some online full text articles with our SFX linking tool helping ferret out additional items that might not be available in the database you decided to search but at least you can limit to peer-reviewed journals with are journals where the articles are read by a panel of experts before publication and aren't the same kind of periodicals you find in your dentist's office?") I don't think it matters how "in your face" we get with our online "how to's", there are still going to be users who need contact with a human.

New things

Ok - I'm just plain stealing here - Who knows what languages on Second Life? From Yohan Althouse (SL name) . I'm interested in tracking info about Portuguese because I might get to go to Brazil in November and I know nothing.

Here are some links that may help...

Portuguese Forum
Brasil Sim

In world helpers

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I am not a blogger

Well, I guess we get the idea: I'm not a blogger. I can't seem to get here every day or so and post the things I'm working on... But...our library has made a decision not to support web pages for librarians - and I've been tussling with myself about moving all my stuff and getting something set up on my university's student/faculty web space... not sure I'm up to that though I did save myself some space there...! (Also too lazy to rummage around and find a good non-university web space to use..) .So I'm going to try using this as a way to stash links to interesting things... Not perfect, but let's see what happens. I'm going through my email and saving things... (I listened to McPhail's post about - Went to look.. .That's a possibility... Doesn't quite seem like it'll do it either... Maybe... Oh well - Here's some interesting things:

Open Learning Resources:

The ability to create free customizable textbooks? Now there's an idea!

OER Commons
I like idea of this... but I've noticed in the past that at repositories like Merlot the creators don't keep their modules updated. Buyer beware!

Blogging IT and EDucation (List of 3D worlds)
Emma Duke-Williams

Another IM tool.. We're looking at various chat software at the library. Our web person is pushing Meebo which looks soooooo... incredibly basic... that we'll be giving up some capabilities we have right now with our RNT software. (I'd try adding it to a personal web page if I had one.) The main "pro" seems to be that users would not even need an account on another IM service - They can just start typing. And we'll have NO information about the chatter - No option for them to put in their email address unless we ask and save the transcript - no automatic statistics gathering. No easy way to save and search transcripts that I can see. Why not try something like Trillian that might make chat easier on many many of our users and allow us to try some additional functionality for at least SOME users? One of these days users will stop being shy about using VoIP, etc...

7 things you should know about virtual worlds
I like the non-hysterical approach in this short piece. Virtual worlds - interesting - might do some things well - might not always be the answer - keep an eye on them - sort of tone.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Second Life - and professional opportunities

My, Second Life certainly is in the spotlight! Drew and I have been invited to give a presentation at the Florida Library Association meeting in April - and maybe Joe can come along too... - and I'm going to "show up" for a few minutes at a workshop that two of our faculty are doing at the Sarasota campus - and there's the four of us along with a few other librarians are going to do a presentation at our technology symposium at the end of February - And some of us are trying to organize a pre-conference event for the TCC Online Conference which will be at the beginning of April.. I'm concerned about having some canned presentation material just in case SL is down during any of these presentations. Should we have some backup PowerPoints? Some backup .mov files? I wish the librarians had a commercial for their Second Life activities that was as snazzy as the commericials posted on the SL website. (When I get stressed out, am I stressed on in Second Life as well as Real Life?) Well, I'm going to go take some more snapshots of libraries and put them on my Flickr site.

On a related note: Drew rearranged some furniture in the USF Building and we bought a "circle up table and chairs" that starts out with one chair and as avatars sit down, another chair launches itself - to seat up to 20 avatars. It's magic! (The State Library of Kansas people recommended this set up along with a "magic table" that they have in their State Library building.) We've put that table and chairs on the first floor of the USF Building. We were able to drag that out of my inventory - no problem! I always bought a set "in a box" - and I still haven't figured out how to open it! When I click "open", all I get is a notecard. So far Drew and I took turns sitting on the box. I'll have to contact the creator and ask what I'm doing wrong.

Another idea: One of our library science faculty is into the blues. We'd like to invite him to do a performance in Second Life. That'll take us rustling up some help with audio and getting Scott a guitar. I hope he'll say yes and we can get this together.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I'm posting snapshots from Second Life at
We took these so the editor of "Florida Libraries" could select an image or two to use with the article about Second Life that four of us submitted for possible publication.

Getting your avatar together

Some of the Second Life librarians have been discussing getting their avatar together. They have been touring places together to get free clothing, etc. including Free Dove, NCI, Yadni's Junkyard, Stillman, Dumpster, etc. I have to say that when I first logged on to Second Life in last June, I was put off by the need to decide how my avatar should look and dress. I don't fuss with myself in Real Life. Why would I fuss with myself in Second Life?? I didn't have anyone in particular to talk to and wandering around looking at things just wasn't very interesting. It was only after reading Lori's posts about library-related activities that I decided to get back on. There were other librarians and educators to talk to -and events to attend - and... errrrr...a desire to have something other to wear in Second Life than that first pair of jeans and the t-shirt from Bradley University that I got from a robot in the Second Life Library. So... I've been shopping some... and fussing with my avatar some though she's still not the way I'd like. Maybe it's some latent "playing with dolls" thing that I never finished with as a kid! I've played with my office a bit too - and that feels like a "playing with doll houses" thing that I never finished with either! Well, there's free stuff to play with. I do have some Linden dollars and did invest in a "conservative outfit" since many of the free clothing items tend toward to be either sluty or fantastical - and I'm not ready for either. Dewey took me out shopping and got me to get a dress. I don't own any dresses or skirts in Real Life. When I went to the piano concert the other evening, I was glad that I had a dress to wear since most of the others had on ball gowns. (I don't own a ball gown yet!) I'm worrying more about "presentation of self in Second Life" than "presentation of self in every day life"!

Fleet's transcript

Help for newbies! This is a presentation that Fleet Goldenburg posted on the Second Life Library Google Groups list: It's part of "Establishing an Educational Presence in Second Life and Teen Second Life" that Fleet's doing.

Voice in Second Life

Alan Levine posted something about voice in Second Life:
It uses Skype... and I'm intrigued! Yes, you wear a headset in Real Life as well as in Second Life - and the program finds other Second Talk users in your vicinity. (Someone else pointed out that Skype will only handle 5 users at a time on a conference call - no... someone else says Skype3 will handle 10 users.)

Monday, January 8, 2007

Alliance Libraries PowerPoint on Second Life

Lori Bell, Michael Sauers, and Tom Peters' PowerPoint presentation on Second Life and librarians from October 2006 "Going where the users are"

Second Life is going open source!

Second Life is going open source. Since some of the educators on SL have been crying out for this, I expect there will be some excited talk about this on the SLED (Second Life Educators discussion list)

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Second Life in the NY Times

"The Ultimate Distance Learning." The New York Times for January 07, 2007's Education section has an article on Second Life. The reporter mentions that the Second Life experience helps classes bond - and that it is not conducive to a straight lecture presentation - and that the platform encourages class discussion.
That discussion about what can best be accomplished on Second Life keeps coming up on the SLED discussion list. Is SL a place to gather an audience and lecture? Or is that sort of content better delivered beforehand through readings, podcasts, etc. with other kinds of activities taking place in Second Life? It's the same question I have about real life face-to-face classes. What's the best way to use that synchronous time? I want to keep thinking about that.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Second Life news

New items about Second Life:

Kelly Czarnecki and Matt Gullett called
"Meet the New You." published in
School Library Journal (January 2007). See
One more recent story that might give an idea of the current popularity of Second Life... see this Second Life Reuters news story noting that Reuters has a reporter who's beat is Second Life:

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Starting a new fresh blog

It's 2007 and time to start a new blog. There's new incentive to find a place to stash things of interest, etc. There's some confusion at our library about how difficult or easy for library faculty to use web space at will. Might as well try out some environments outside of the university and see how it goes. The first thing to save is Pamela Slim's 12 ways to feel free more free in 2007blog entry pointed out by Stephen Downes. Perfect ideas to help start out a new year!

Along with this new blog, I set up a Flickr account to post some snapshots of some of us USF librarians and library science faculty on Second Life. See
ilenefrnk's photos. (That's already too many variations on my name for me to remember. I hope I don't lose this piece of paper where I wrote down the latest accounts.)

Second Life... A couple of us at USF are engaged in exploring Second Life and participating in the librarian activities there. Though I originally logged on in June, I was not initially captivated. I didn't have anyone to talk to and felt that I was just wandering around and expected to fuss more over my appearance than I ever have in Real Life. However, after reading postings by Lori Bell about the work being done by the Alliance County Libraries on Second Life, I had to go give it another try - and this time I'm having fun. Even though I'm still stumbling around and flying into trees and wearing the wrong clothes - or sometimes no clothes (!), I'm exicted about the creative, pioneering spirit of librarians who are setting up library spaces, figuring out how to give reference service to avatars, developing continuing education for librarians, organizing book talks, musical performances, and art openings. I have been attending staff meetings and going to events - and hope to find a way to make some contributions in that environment.