2008 Metaverse Tour

This was posted to Facebook recently by John McMullen. Here’s what caught my eye: “There are more than 300 million registered participants in non-game Social Virtual Worlds.”  The quote comes from K Zero – a virtual worlds consultancy.

This YouTube has great video clips of a number of virtual worlds interspersed with fantastic quotes. Take seven minutes and check it out.

Blurring the Lines


We continue to blur lines between real and not real, as well as human and non-human. Once we get people thinking of robots as people, will this make exploration of Mars as exciting as humans on the moon? How long before they make these things look like R2D2 and C3PO so we can actually care about them as we do people?

I think we’re going to see a lot more of this humanization of objects, along with the use of Second Life as a “You are There” type of platform. Once we have online social relationships with NASA’s equipment, along with it’s employees, it seems like the next logical step will be increased interest and funding. The fact that NASA is early with the use of this stuff – Second Life, social networking, creating relationships – makes me wonder about some things:

Are they just quick to jump on the opportunity?

Does NASA have a marketing team? Or just smart, fun employees?

Is this stuff working for them because deep down we still have romantic dreams of space?

Why aren’t other scientific organizations building friendships on social networking sites? (I haven’t found any on FB, although there are tons in SL.)

Here’s an interview with the Phoenix Mars Lander:



By the way, Phoenix is one of my friends on Facebook which is how I found out about “her” recent interview.

LibraryThing for Libraries

I blogged about LibraryThing a couple of years ago as a great tool for readers. But it’s also a great tool for libraries.

One of the very popular programs presented at the library where I work is a series called Brown Bag Book Reviews. Staff members review some of their latest finds while the audience snacks on cookies or eats their lunch. It’s a great way for patrons to pick up some new titles and authors, and they love to hear the reviews.

In our last web incarnation, I had put the lists of the books reviewed on our site – basically, a separate list for each date we did the reviews. Books were listed alphabetically by author – not an easy way to find something you’re looking for, but better than nothing as I worked on building a searchable database. The idea was to come up with a way for patrons who, for example, loved everything reviewed by Carol, to easily find all Carol’s titles. Or if they missed last January’s review program, they could sort the data to find everything reviewed that date.

It occurred to me recently that everything I was trying to put into the database (title, author, reviewer’s name, review date) was able to be done easily on LibraryThing, with no need for me to try to become a master at MySQL or PHP. I had one of those “D’oh!” moments.

I brought this up at a meeting and one of our new librarians enthusiastically jumped at the chance to create our Brown Bag LibraryThing catalog, and tagged the items for easy sorting.

Take a look at our catalog and see what we’ve all been reading. If your library maintains lists of titles for various things, this is a great way to put it out there for the public.

Online Community for Library Staff

Lori Bell from Alliance Library System forwarded this notice to the SL Library groups today. Rachel Singer Gordon has created an online community for librarians and other library staff. Here’s the post:

LISjobs.com Launches Online Community

New discussion forums now open

LISjobs.com, the largest free library career portal on the Internet, is pleased to announce the launch of its new online community for librarians. Devoted entirely to career development and job hunting, these forums provide a space for librarians, LIS students, library workers, and information professionals to discuss professional development issues: http://lisjobs.com/forum/.

“I’m excited to be able to offer this space for collaboration and discussion,” says Rachel Singer Gordon, webmaster, LISjobs.com. “As librarians, we know that we work and learn best in community — I look forward to watching the forums grow.” Current forum moderators include:

  • Michael Stephens, LIS schools
  • Jess Bruckner, Jumpstart your career
  • Meredith Farkas, Professional development and participation
  • Susanne Markgren, Talking tenure
  • Kim Dority, Professional writing
  • Sophie Brookover, Work/life balance

In recent related developments, Info Career Trends, LISjobs.com’s professional development newsletter, has moved to the WordPress platform to better serve its subscribers. Its long-time career Q&A columnists, Tiffany Allen and Susanne Markgren, have moved to their own blog, and author/entrepreneur Kim Dority joins in with her new monthly column on “Rethinking Information Careers.”

Info Career Trends continues to fill an underserved niche, devoted entirely to career and professional development issues for librarians and information professionals. The newsletter and column content are accessible at: http://www.lisjobs.com/career_trends/. Rachel Singer Gordon shares: “I’m so pleased to bring Kim on board, and to watch the Library Career People column evolve in its new blog format. I look forward to hearing others’ opinions across the LISjobs.com online community.”

LISjobs.com, launched in 1996, provides free library-related job listings to both employers and job seekers, as well as related services from resume postings to career development blogs.


LISjobs.com: http://www.lisjobs.com

Online community: http://www.lisjobs.com/forum

Info Career Trends newsletter: http://www.lisjobs.com/career_trends/

Contact: Rachel Singer Gordon, rachel@lisjobs.com

Putting Social Networking to Good Use

While I’m on the topic of social networking, I’d like to point out something I just found out about from some colleagues in Second Life. NetSquared is “Remixing the web for social change.” NetSquared is a project of TechSoup, which is giving out the NetSquared Innovation Award for websites that are using social networking to increase the visibility of social benefit organizations.

From their website:

“The NetSquared Conference (N2Y2) will center on 20 social change projects, and aim to bring together funders, developers, NTAPs, and other people and organizations that can bring these projects to the next level. We are creating a Technology Innovation Fund to provide direct cash support to projects selected by the NetSquared Community. Vote for your favorites this week only!”

You need to register to vote, but it only takes a second and they really just need to know your name and email address (presumably to ensure that results are not skewed by overvoting.)

The list of organizations involved is impressive. Categories include: arts & culture, community improvement, human rights, education, environment, health, housing & shelter, safety & disaster, public & social benefit, youth, and other.

I scrolled through the list and discovered that there is a lot going on that I know nothing about. I have not voted yet, but will be taking a look at many of the websites on the list. I’m interested in seeing how these organizations are using the social networking tools, and will be sure to mention those uses here — after I’ve had a chance to browse through the list. Stay tuned…

: )

It’s Like MySpace, but for Old People!

I did a presentation on social networking last night for RRLC. We had some good conversation, which made this particular class a lot of fun.

Last week as I was preparing for the class I was poking around on the internet, bookmarking useful sites that I wanted to be sure to point out. My usual mode of doing this sort of thing consists of me sitting on the couch with my laptop while watching tv. (I’m a two-screen person, almost always.)

I was listening to one of the news channels — I don’t recall if it was local or national news — and heard them talking about a new social networking site. As it turns out, this new site was created by a young man (he looked to be college-age) who decided to build something similar to myspace, but which would be easy for people his parents’ age to use. What he came up with is MyTimeHero.com. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth a quick look. All the buttons have mouseover definitions so that you know exactly what that button leads to. The site has a clean look that won’t drive you crazy the way MySpace will, with it’s “too easy to be ultra-creative” benefits. (Kids love to put purple text on black backgrounds, barely-readable text on way-too-busy backgrounds, and animations everywhere.) Your profile can be either public or private. You can find other people with similar interests. (Reading brought up a lot of people. Caving brought up zero. Must be an age thing.)

It’ll be interesting to see if this site catches on with the “mature” generation the way MySpace did with the kids.

Social Networking at RRLC

Tonight I’ll be giving a presentation for Rochester Regional Library Council on social networking. I’m really looking forward to this, as there is so much potential for creating new ways to reach library patrons. Static websites are great for storing information, but as tools progress we need to use them to improve communication and interaction with our users.