Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A brag and an Article in Wired...

First off:


Okay, for you non-Okies reading this blog, OLA Gold is a leadership institute put on every 3 years by the Oklahoma Library Association. About 25 young librarians are paired with mentors, attend a leadership conference with a renowned speaker in Librarianship (our institute will be led by the awesome Pat Wagner--check out her website at http://www.pattern.com/), and do follow-up meetings and activities designed to turn us into leaders in the profession. It's a big thing to be selected for this, and I am VERY excited (if you can't tell). You can find out more about OLA Gold at http://www.oklibs.org/olagold/gold.html. Also, I'd like to say thanks to Alan and Laura (my director and assistant director at MPOW) for writing what I'm sure were very nice recommendations for me--I couldn't have done this without them!

Now, to the second, and somewhat less self-absorbed bit of today's post: I ran across this article on Second Life in Wired magazine the other day, and I thought I'd share. In a nutshell: There are a lot fewer users than statistics would indicate, the underlying servers can only handle about 70 users a time in a given "island", and corporate outposts in SL are pretty much expensive virtual ghost towns.


Implications for libraries? First, I want to be clear that I hopped on second life briefly about a year ago, wasn't all that impressed (didn't seem like there was much to do compared to the old school text-based MU*s that I grew up with), and left. I did take a look around Info Island (the main reason I checked it out in the first place), and while I may have been there on a slow day, it mainly looked like a collection of librarians milling around, looking for patrons. I've kept an eye on stories on SL in the blogosphere and in the media though, because I thought that if someone could create a compelling reason for someone to go to second life, it might become an interesting community. However, it's been a year, and I've yet to hear a story of a reference interview or outreach program in second life that helped people (in either their SL or RL guises) find the information they needed.

Second Life is an important experiment, but I think it's looking more and more like a fad, and a rapidly fading one at that. That said, I'm a skeptic, and the comments thread is open for anyone who has had a good reference experience on SL, or who thinks that SL libraries are having or could have more success than their for-profit counterparts in Second Life. I've hoped for the last 9 months or so that my mind might get changed on this--it just hasn't happened yet.