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Second Life & Virtual World-related programs @ 2009 ALA Annual Conference

The Virtual Communities and Libraries Member Initiative Group meeting for the 2009 ALA Annual Conference — taking place in the hometown of ALA Headquarters: Chicago, IL! — will take place in real life on Saturday, July 11, 2009, at 3:00 pm CT (1:00 pm PT/SLT), at National Louis University, which is located at 122 S. Michigan Avenue. Meet the members of VCL MIG in the Second Floor Atrium.

Do you have friends going to Annual Conference who would like a chance to see what SL is like? IM Oberon Octagon if interested in attending an orientation session in the ALA HQ Training Room this Friday, July 10, 2009 at 10am or 2pm CT for a chance to see your avatar on a BIG screen. Get tips on using the SL viewer, see ALA Island, or just have a group together in one room for a dual-world chat.

There will be free Second Life Librarian ribbons for your badge from Tina Coleman (ALA Island’s Kay Tairov in Second Life) at the Membership Pavilion, Booth #3034, at McCormick Place, which opens tomorrow, July 11, at 8:45 am Central Time.

Pick up your free 2009 ALA Annual Conference T-Shirt for your avatar in-world at the Main Stage on ALA Island (130, 103, 31).

2009 ALA Annual Conference Kiosk and Free Avatar Conference T-Shirt Vendor on ALA Island

2009 ALA Annual Conference Kiosk and Free Avatar Conference T-Shirt Vendor on ALA Island

For news in-world, visit the VCL MIG Twitter Screen Area on ALA Island (131, 213, 28). Join one (or both) of the Second Life online communities on ALA Connect: Virtual Communities and Libraries, Second Life Users Group. Follow ALA Island on Twitter at — and join the ALA Island Facebook Fan Page.

Next week, we’ll be posting a round-up of the Cognotes issues from conference and streaming in any podcasts or video captured at various events and programs.

Our first video is already up! Go to AL Focus Video Village on ALA Island (79, 44, 44) and watch the brief interview with Paula Poundstone before she appeared as a panelist just last night before a 500-strong all-librarian audience for this week’s live taping of the NPR radio quiz show, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! The video is titled Paula Poundstone at Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!

2009 ALA Annual Conference — Sessions discussing Second Life and other virtual worlds

Life After 2.0
Public Library Association (PLA, a division of ALA)
Saturday, July 10, 1:30 pm-3:00 om Central Time
Location: McCormick Place West in W-190b

Track: Digital Information & Technologies
What has become of the initial push for Web 2.0 technologies and services in public libraries? Which programs have been successful? What have we learned from the failures? Blogs, wikis, Second Life, and all things Library 2.0 will be considered against the backdrop of librarian/patron satisfaction. Join our panel of Web 2.0 experts as they discuss what some libraries have done to measure the quality and impact of 2.0 services.

Speakers: Lori Bell, Director of Innovation, Alliance Library System, East Peoria, Ill.; Helene Blowers, Director of Digital Strategy, Columbus (Ohio) Metropolitan Library; Meredith Farkas, Head of Instructional Initiatives, Kretzberg Library, Norwich University, Vt.; Jed Moffitt, Moderator, Associate Director, Information Technology Systems, King County (Wash.) Library System; Michelle Springer, Project Manager, Digital Initiatives, Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Giving Maps a Second Life with Digital Technologies
Map and Geography Round Table (MAGERT)
Saturday, July 11, 3:30 pm-5:30 pm Central Time
Location: Hyatt Regency McCormick in Conf. Ctr. 23

Track: Digital Information & Technologies
Please join the Map and Geography Round Table (MAGERT) in welcoming Mr. David Rumsey of Cartography Associates who will be presenting a program entitled Giving Maps a Second Life with Digital Technologies.  In this program, Mr. Rumsey will show how his increasing use of digital technologies and the Internet over the past decade has transformed his work as a historical map scholar and collector. Using imaging software, GIS, and popular applications like Google Earth and Second Life, Rumsey has given new life to old maps, both in their dissemination and our ability to analyze and understand them, thereby unlocking the information held in maps for use in a wide range of disciplines. He will discuss and demonstrate how he offers these software tools and a growing number of digitized maps themselves on his free public online map library at

Web 2.0 meet the Standards for 21st Century Learner
American Association of School Librarians (AASL, a division of ALA)
Sunday, July 12, 10:30-12:00
Location: McCormick Place West in W-187

Track: Digital Information & Technologies
The panel will demonstrate five Web 2.0 tools, highlighting the features that support our new standards. At tables, groups will brainstorm and develop how these tools can be used to support inquiry learning and report out. The moderator will record these ideas in a wiki designed for future growth. We hope to be able to share this session with 2.0-style—Ustream and have others Twitter in. As a wrap up, we may go into Second life and discuss the same tools with some librarian around the country/world (pre-arranged).

Presenters: Joyce Valenza, Pam Berger, Wendy Stephens, Christopher Harris, Lisa E Perez, Jeff Hastings, and Robin Williams

Making Virtual Reality-Based Library Services Real for K-12 Teachers & Librarians
American Association of School Librarians (AASL, a division of ALA)
Sunday, July 12, 3:30 pm-5:30 pm Central Time
Location: McCormick Place West in W-175b/c

Track: Administration & Leadership; Collaboration
This program will identify and share effective professional development technologies; best practices in using a virtual reality environment to deliver professional library services; information about effective practices in administering a virtual-reality based library services program. Using Second Life, the technology and its uses will be discussed highlighting the benefits to networking, resource identification and professional development. The Chicago Public Schools Department of Libraries Second Life Project will be used to demonstrate from the project planning to implementation. This program will also discuss the future of multi-user virtual reality environments, including information on other current virtual reality  environments, development of education grids, interoperability with other Web 2.0 technologies, and open
standard development.

Speakers: Lisa Perez; Christie Thomas

My Avatar Will Contact Your Avatar: Virtual Worlds, Real Opportunities
Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA, a division of ALA), Systems and Services Section (SASS)
Monday, July 13, 8:00 am-10:00 am Central Time
Location: McCormick Place West in W-178a

Track: Administration & Leadership; Leadership & Management
Virtual worlds are creating a new strain of librarianship, with its own set of opportunities and affordances.  The number of virtual worlds and the overall citizenship of virtual worlds continue to increase.  Many libraries are developing services and collections in virtual worlds.  Sooner or later all libraries will need to make a decision about virtual worlds.  In this program, we will explore the following questions: What are the trends and developments in virtual worlds, such as Second Life, Lively, Qwaq, Teen Second Life, and Whyville? How are they being used by libraries and library-related organizations? What factors should libraries consider in deciding whether or not to develop a virtual world presence? What is the future of librarianship in virtual worlds? What resources and skills are needed to start and sustain a virtual world library presence?

Speakers: Lori Bell, Alliance Library System; Tom Peters, TAP Information Services; Kathryn Robinson, Orange County Library System

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Midwinter Sunday Programming

Contributed by Oberon Octagon and reposted because he deleted previous version

Kay Tairov and I have been pondering how to encourage interaction with SLibrarians who attened MW with those who couldn’t make it. Last summer we tried to have a briefing time for such at Salon Huron and met with mixed success. I suspect that our timing is not in sync with how attendees spend their precious hours at a conference. Even though it might seem welcome to slip into comfy clothes after a long day walking the exhibits and going to programs and fire up SL … I’ll bet the big bed beckons even more profoundly. Anyway, we do know that SLibrarians not attending do stop by ALA Island to get word of what’s going on. To that effect we put a Twitter Feed Screen up and have invited people to subscribe and share. The Tweet is ala_sl, so please join/follow/subscribe …

 Sunday, we had a good turnout for Foxfish Falta’s presentation of Guide to Reference, the Web version of one of ALA’s premier publications. Foxfish really knew what to highlight in what is a terrific implementation of an interactive Guide to Reference.

We has hoped at the last minute to have a simulcast of the keynote speech from the 70th Anniversary of the ALA Code of Ethics by Rushton Kidder, but there were technical difficulties getting a reliable stream from Denver.

Later in the afternoon, we visited the neighboring Cybrary City sim where the Association for Rural & Small
Libraries has its home. Sonja Morgwain gave a great perspective on how rural libraries can band together via Second Life to provide global service.

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Midwinter: Not Over Yet on ALA Island

Contributed by Oberon Octagon

yma mainstage.jpgFor those who weren’t able to attend the program in Denver or watch the Webcast, ALA Island’s Main Stage had three screens dedicated to viewing the video produced for the ALA Youth Media Awards. The media url for the stage will continue to carry that video for the remainder of the month. Also during the period when the Webcast was going on, our Twitter Feed screen was providing commentary from the YMA Tweet. While we did not have sim-crashing numbers during the Midwinter weekend, I felt that we did prove we can handle a variety of ways of providing programming to folks who cannot attend ALA conferences:

  • The Twitter Feed provides a means to network with people at conferences and give and get news
  • The MIG meeting allowed members in Denver and inworld interact to discuss a variety of topics and listen to speakers present programs
  • The Introduction to the new Web-based Guide to Reference used voice and slides to great effect
  • The YALSA members did an outstanding build for their Tech Playground
  • Island staff found fun ways to attract people to the island via the cross country ski course
  • Daily editions of CogNotes and a variety of Office and unit updates and reports were available frvendors.jpgom vendors along the main stage

We anticpate more video and audio presentations from MW to stream into the island in the weeks to come. We also hope to provide very soon Flickr slideshow capabilities to provide virtual members a taste of what they were missing at a conference. With every event, we have learned and are able to show a stronger ability to facilitate programming for the growing community of virtual members, who are also ALA members.

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MW09 Day One: Stats as good as the presentations

first day stats.jpgContributed by Oberon Octagon

Statistically, we did very well on our first days of MW coverage on ALA Island, with a great amount of interest in the Privacy Revolution on Friday and the Virtual Communities & Libraries Members Initiative Group (MIG) on Saturday. I have a graphic that illustrates the spike in attendance at these two venues, and noticed 37 avatars at the MIG meeting. The spike on Tuesday the 22d of January is due to an AASL meeting on the Main Stage, otherwise you can see that attendance on the island during MW has close to tripled the average attendance numbers! On the BBW site, 174 avatars were around at some point, checking out the Privacy Revolution debut and (no doubt) getting their free t-shirts!

On Friday night a number of avatars were also flitting around the YALSA Tech Playground like hummingbirds at a feeder. With a few difficulties at first, the simulcast of the FINRA press conference went well and had a fair attendance inworld and questions from SL were answered by folks in Denver.

The plan for today is to facilitate an inworld presentation of the new Web-based Guide to Reference, to be handled at 10 am SLT (noon CST, 11 am MT) on the Book Logo Platform with overflow handled at the Small Stage below the platform.

We are also coordinating efforts for SLibrarians to attend “Rural Librarians Connecting Globally” on how rural librarians are connecting in SL. Their sim is a neighbor to ALA Island. This will occur at 1 pm SLT, 2 pm MT.

At this time, I am still working with OIF people on the possibility of simulcasting the keynote address of Rushton Kidder on the 70th Anniversary of the Code of Ethics. This will be rather impromptu but will occur in the Banned Books Village square if all goes well. This would take place at 2:30 pm SLT, 1:30pm MT.

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Midwinter on ALA Island

Contributed by Oberon Octagon

Right now, I’m writing this while my avatar is dancing, pretty much alone, at the opening of the Privacy Revolution celebration at the Banned Books Week parcel of ALA Island. We are embarking on our most ambitious series of events yet, attempting to provide members who can’t get to Denver but who have Second Life accounts, to visit the island. There’s a press release available detailing almost all that we’re trying to do.

One strong part of the coverage is a Tweet (Twitter feed) that you can subscribe to by going to Twitter and looking up ala_sl and subscribing. The feed combines with Youth Media Awards and The ALA MW tweets (and maybe any others that are suggested along the way) to provide a way to report what’s happening on the island as well as at Denver. We have a screen at the Members Initiative Group area that displays all the twittering. I want to set up two more of these screens, but unlike a lot of other media screens available in SL, this one doesn’t play nicely with group-owned parcels.  (In attempting to set it up, I once again sent part of the build back to the original builders, so the MIG Center looks a bit austere right now…) At the same area, this blog is being displayed on a more group-owned-parcel-friendly gadget. Be sure to click on video to see these toys do their thing!

With the setting for MW in Denver and because the island is tinged with snow, I put together a cross-country ski trail and placed monoliths of the various book award medals and seals that will be announced over the weekend. We will have a feed of the Youth Media Awards soon after the live Webcast on Monday.

Kay Tairov has been publishing like mad providing a Thincbook publication, vendors for AL direct and Student AL Direct, CogNotes, and Linden knows what else. ALALibraryVal Miles is doing her usual thakless task of posting notices, calendars, and scouting press releases and other events, and will likely post here as well. I intend to blog and Twitter about our efforts, so please feel free to converse in whichever medium you feel most comfortable or IM me inworld at Oberon Octagon.

The ALA Island SLurl is:

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Happy New Year

You should be able to read this blog on ALA Island now. I’ve set up an RSS Screen that converts the feed to Quicktime and displays our blog pages on a screen in the Communications center, where we have the Members Iniative Group information located. I’ve also set up a Twitter Feed screen that will be handling a number of feeds related to Midwinter Activities. If you know of a feed I should subscribe to, let me know. Both screen require that you either have video feeds automatically turn on when you are in range of the screen or need to turn the video button in the lower right part of the SL viewer on.

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Tantalize Author Speaks on ALA Island Main Stage

Posted by Oberon Octagon

Young Adult author Cynthia Leitich Smith, will be presenting on the main grid of Second Life on American Library Association’s Island at (ALA Island 129, 105, 29) October 14 at 5pm PST, and on the teen grid at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County’s Eye4You Alliance island (118, 153, 21) October 28 at 1pm PST. She will present on her YA Gothic fantasy, Tantalize, (Candlewick, 2007-2008) and (Listening Library, 2008) as well as forthcoming related releases. “I’ve long been interested in the idea that books and technology can compliment, rather than compete, and look forward to stepping into this new virtual venue, says Leitich Smith. For more information on how to access ALA’s island on the main grid, contact Donavan Vicha, Web Developer, ITTS at or via IM to Oberon Octagon. For information on how to access the teen grid, contact Kelly Czarnecki, Technology Education Librarian at

Young Adult author Cynthia Leitich Smith -- as Second Life avatar, Cynthia Zanzibar -- will be presenting on the American Library Association’s Island (ALA Island 129, 105, 29) on October 14 at 5pm PST.

Young Adult author Cynthia Leitich Smith -- as Second Life avatar, Cynthia Zanzibar -- will be presenting on the American Library Association’s Island (ALA Island 129, 105, 29) on October 14 at 5pm PST.

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Open House: Association of Virtual Worlds

Posted by Oberon Octagon

I took advantage of the invitation and visted on September 24, the HQ of the Association of Virtual Worlds. It was online here, which may require a download to complete visit. This virtual place (see pics) uses GoWeb3D as its platform and worked fairly smoothly, though I am so enamored of Second Life movement controls I had some problems. I was able to chat with Dave Elchoness for just a few minutes before I was dragged away by real life exigencies.

I was able to put together my avatar and then stroll about the AVW compound, looking at various kiosks with information on a fair number of virtual worlds before I ran into Dave. I had trouble viewing him, tired to reboot as he suggested and then was called away before we could resolve the issue.

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The Real SLCC08 Wrapup!

Posted by Oberon Octagon

So sorry about my previous post, which presented all that lovely MS Word code! It was late that night before going away from a long, much-needed weekend off the ‘net and all things virtual! I really didn’t mean to submit what was basically my internal report about SLCC 08. Let’s try it again …

For me the difference between this year’s convention and last year’s convention was striking. The Education Track was so full they actually held an extra day for just their programs on Friday. And on the other two days, there was usually a choice of two or three presentations per time slot compared to the other tracks. Furthermore, the hotel’s technology actually supported a number of “interworld” presentations and all the keynotes streamed to fairly significant numbers of avatars in three locations inworld. Yes, there were times when people at the convention were asked to log off of SL to accommodate the folks inworld, but that’s a good thing, right? Finally, it was so much better in terms of meeting people since I was there 24/7 rather than visiting a hotel in Chicago for each day as I did last year.

While I didn’t actually get to handle Inworld Coordinator duties for which I signed up, I did observe the people who were doing it and have a good idea of how it was done. I also have names and will contact them for more details so we can do the same for our events. I would love to see a program track in future SLCCs for learning to do this very important task.

The education tracks were good, I suppose, but only a few applied to librarians/libraries. Those I attended were very well done. AJ Brooks’ Workshop on Building Community was outstanding … he’s a good presenter and a great evangelikal for SL. The Global Kids stuff was terrific; Barry Joseph ( is just incredible, speaking on the “Ludic Life,” the blending of Game Life and Real Life that signal that virtual worlds are not a passing fancy but an evolution of society as we know it.

Last year’s educational presentations were awe-inspiring … this year had some of that but also just down-to-earth practical stuff. They attempted three formats of presentation: Speed Mentoring (30-minutes focuses on a specific topic), Programs (usual fare of mixed media presentations), and the  SLED Sparks (presentations of 20 slides in 2 minutes!)—We all need to look at these, which is very advanced in eLearning circles. See for full list of streamed content and particularly the 20-minute Sparks video.

Last year had a much better (healthier?) balance of community and business tracks as well as education tracks. This year the balance really went toward education. Yes, we need a library track … One question I would put forward, however: does it go in with education or business or community? I would like to see more practical presentations at SLCC, like how to make machinimas, create and use textures in building, building and terraforming tricks of the trade and any tools available, do streaming presentations in SL, etc. I would hope the preponderance of education tracks won’t have a chilling effect on attendance or programming at next year’s SLCC, which is rumored to be set for Las Vegas but will take into account the educators who really didn’t like the September dates for this year. (They’re gonna love Las Vegas *rolls eyes* … )

At the NonProfit Commons discussion, Kay Tairov and I were “streamed” to about twenty inworld participants as we talked about ALA’s objectives. MJ Linden (Matt Jensen, Proactive Concierge, assigned to nonprofits in SL for LL) was there and we exchanged MOO cards – another good LL contact along with Claudia Linden, of course.

All About the People

I met a number of people I’ve worked with inworld: Jeremy Kemp (Jeremy Kabumpo, SL) from SJSU and Robin Williams (Greylin Fairweather, SL), now with Sun Microsystems, but who was the lead designer for the SJSU team of grad students; Jeremy Koester (Jeremy Braver, SL), who is an education consultant on Virtual Worlds and Social Media, who gave a great low-tech presentation; AJ Kelton (AJ Brooks), the SLED roundtable moderator; and Bernadette Swanson (HVX Silverstar), who ran the Machinima Institute on ALA InfoIsland before we took it over (no hard feelings!). I just noticed in the program that I missed Kelly Czarnecki (BlueWing Hayek), with whom I’m working on a YA author presentation on the island.

Upon returning from SLCC, two contacts presented me with inworld gifts! Loki Clifton, gave me a demo copy of his Holodek, and California Condor, gave me a HUD edition of the Bible.

What was a great surprise were the number of librarians who recognized my avi name and greeted me quite enthusiastically. In particular, Jean Gardner from the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, which was a neighbor to the Washington Office’s building early on—asked about Galen (Mark Bard). Jean’s husband is associated with the Kaufman Foundation and he was very interested in exploring ways we can work together. These SLibrarians were glad that ALA was supporting them inworld with the island and  represented at SLCC. Kay and I held an informal breakfast meeting on Sunday with a fair turnout of librarians.

Moving Forward

We’re ramping up our second annual Banned Books Week for Second Life and hope the SL community will join us in celebrating our freedoms of speech and communication. Scheduled to begin September 27 and run through the following Saturday, we will have presentations and social events.

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End of Day 3 of SLCC08

Posted by Oberon Octagon

Panel on Machinima: Art of Visual Animation

With 11 years of experience in machinima, their favorite is SL for tools

–Film on Virtual Africa–

sitting in the sun too long!

nice edit from 13 min to 2


Teaser for version of CSI for SL — cool

–Grid Review–

NBA headquarters, streaming tv
the Green 13-week series (actual green clothes)
Walk the World …. end child hunger
“If you can’t spot the sucker after a half hour, you are the sucker.”

–John Ecscher Pilot–
“Serious” drama … make avatar of dead wife … pretty odd
Mix of FL film and machinima

Let’s talk!
Grid Review lost their sponsor ….
Labor intensive: week between segments, to create three minutes
Day to write a script with a lot of improv
Two days to shoot. Finding assets is biggest problem … repurposing stuff
Drax and Seabrook are married, quite charming

no script or idea …. edited before the script, the stage business was removed for the clip
250 hours total, including picking up or buyng props and animations and such
Generosity of people allowing filming on their property
Traditional film bakground, and he rstuff is going to Cambridge film festival, and largest showcase of machinima
Response is very encouraging
VW Conf — two days devoted to machinima

Escher thing has an actual relation … watching one’s avatar being tortured affects the person
“Walmart of animation”

Do script and ideas and push machinima to match the level of that idea, if you let yourself limit your ideas by what you have in inventory or repurposed material.

Don’t be deterred by trying it.

Capture to HD 60fps use apps to convert the raw to QT
Can’t turn off anti-aliasing on a Mac

Final Cut and Audio Clip apps for final production

iMovie on Mac works well in down and dirty

Machinima is a democratizing medium–a strength of SL

What can we tell the Lindens?
Positive meeting with L … access to points on the face for fuller expressions

Movie Storm is a free environment for making movies (good for expressions, not so good for costumes)

Visual voice of the virtual world

Great presentation that was missed by several people I knew wanted to see it because of confusing announcements made during the day. And there doesn’t appear to be a detailed schedule for tracking down the names of the people on the panel.

And here’s a brief summary of what I mentioned in an earlier post: The SLEDcc people had so much material and were so much better organized (or probably just had more volunteers) that it was like a conference within the convention, except it was bigger! For example of this, you need only look at the schedules presented on the Web:

Community Track One:
Business Track:

Last year’s convention was much more balanced in this regard with more and better presentations in the Community and Business tracks.

My brain is fried and I can’t really think of much else to report. The biggest thing for me was just the immersion in the whole convention. I met face to face Pedro McMillan, of Sloodle fame, who flew in from Scotland; Greylin Fairweather, who helped build ALA Island (and gave it an exam after our terrain problems went undiagnosed by Linden Labs); HVX Silverstar, our former tenant on ALA Island, proprietress of Machinima Institute; and AJ Brooks, ringleader of the SLED Roundtable. Plus I met a number of librarians who had actually heard of and were pleased to meet me! Jeremy Kabumpo, of SJSU, I’d met before and it was good to be able to tell him his investment in ALA Island is working albeit slowly. Last year, I wandered lonely halls filled with these strangers and then rushed back to ALA office to file blogs because our power was out at home (all weekend!) and never had the evenings to schmooze and get acquainted.

I can’t wait till next year!

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