Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ball State University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections Now Providing Reference Services in Second Life

Ball State University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections now offer reference hours in Second Life, a free online virtual world.

Archivists Maren Read, a.k.a. Em Ziplon, and Carolyn Runyon, a.k.a. Carolyn Robonaught, are available to answer questions on Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon and Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. A “drop box” is also available at the reference desk to leave questions and comments about the University Libraries and the Middletown Studies Library and Archives 24/7.

This new service has been made possible, in part, through an Innovative Library Program Grant for 2008-09 to the University Libraries as part of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), funding for which was appropriated by the U.S. Congress in 1996 and administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Indiana State Library.

In collaboration with Ball State’s Center for Middletown Studies and the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts and Animation (IDIAA), the University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections has been working this past year to develop the virtual Bracken Library and the virtual Middletown Studies Library and Archives on the Ball State University Island in Second Life.

When the project is complete in June 2009, students, faculty, and researchers will be able to chat with archivists, explore an exhibit on the history of Muncie as Middletown, watch films such as The Man Haters (35 mm silent movie filmed in Muncie in 1915) in the library screening room, and gather for classes and meetings “inworld.”

For more information, contact Maren L. Read, Archivist for Manuscript Collections, or Carolyn Runyon, Archivist for Digital Development and University Records, LibArchives@bsu.edu, 765-285-5078.

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