Monday, June 16, 2008

LSTA Innovative Library Program Grant Supposrt Second Life Library Project

An LSTA Innovative Library Program Grant award in the amount of $5,400 will be used to create a virtual reference area and exhibit. These will serve as a test bed for experimentation and innovation centering on provision of digital content and library services for the expanding user population participating in Second Life,, a 3-D virtual world. The prototype reference area will provide access to subject specialists and interactive exhibit modules focused on the University Libraries’ rich resources documenting Muncie, Indiana as “Middletown,” a representative American community.

The project will allow librarians to develop the skills necessary to provide rich library resources and services using state-of-the-art new media in this emergent digital environment. The University Libraries will support the work of students and faculty in Second Life while developing best practices for the provision of library services in virtual worlds for the benefit of libraries statewide.

Second Life is a compelling 3-D virtual world where library users can meet and interact in an immersive and collaborative environment. Participants access the world using a computer and are connected in the virtual environment where they create an avatar, a virtual representation of themselves, that they can control in the same manner that one might control a video game character.

Ball State University faculty and students are increasingly using the Second Life world as a virtual classroom. Lectures are conducted and group projects are being undertaken in it. There is great potential for Second Life to become a vehicle for distance education, allowing students to interact in virtual classrooms and library spaces.

For the project, Archives and Special Collections and the Center for Middletown Studies will collaborate to develop content for the exhibit. The central purpose of the exhibit will be to provide an overview of Muncie as Middletown, a representative American community. There will be a core module that will provide an introduction to the Studies. Additional modules will present the six subject areas covered by the Middletown Studies. The modules will include interactive elements such as click-through PowerPoint presentations and hyperlinks to external resources and streaming media such as oral histories and film clips.

The reference area will include a desk and a “drop box.” The desk will be staffed on a scheduled basis and by appointment for the provision of reference services. The “drop box” acts as a mailbox allowing visitors to leave messages and questions for staff when they are absent from the desk or to schedule reference interviews with an archivist.

For more information, contact John B. Straw, Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections,, 765-285-5078

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home