Nov 132006

I blogged a note the other day about the development of libraries and library services on Second Life, the online virtual environment. Information Today’s blog had a piece from the Internet Librarian 2006 conference about the InfoIsland Library:

InfoIsland Library, the new library service that’s been built within the virtual-reality world of Second Life. Lori Bell said it’s been a globally collaborative project. Second Life is not really a game, she explained; it’s a virtual world. Reuters just joined SL with a news bureau. IBM is putting up a business there. Wired magazine just opened an office. It’s important for libraries to be there, said Bell. She said the virtual library site receives some 4,000 to 5,000 visitors per day.

She admitted that Second Life has an interesting dimension. “Pornography and gambling have tended to lead the innovative efforts.” More avatars are becoming tired of the sex and gambling so they’re pursuing info-related activities. It’s increasingly being used in higher education, especially for distance learning activities. “Besides building a virtual library, we’re still about books and reading.”

Partnerships are important to the effort. Lori detailed a number with groups like Tech Soup, ICT Library, World Bridges, and more. “Why reinvent the wheel,” she said. “It’s important to be collaborative in our efforts.”