Sunday, October 28, 2007

IL2007: Workshop wrap-up & Sunday thoughts

Yesterday, I was part of a team that did a three-hour workshop entitled Libraries on the MUVE in Second Life (SL). The other members of the team were:
  • Kitty Pope (Kitty Phillip in SL), Executive Director, Alliance Library System
  • Barbara Galick (Puglet Dancer in SL), Executive Director, Cullom-Davis Library, Bradley University
  • Tom Peters (Maxito Ricardo in SL), Founder, TAP Information Services
  • (My avatar name in SL is Jillianna Suisei.)
The handouts for the workshop will be online later this week at

From the workshops I've done on SL, there are several things people often want to know. A few of these questions were raised yesterday:
  • What equipment is needed to do SL? The info is on the SL web site...but good to have better than what they state.
  • Do you need to pay to do SL? No
  • How do I know who these other avatars are in real life? Look at their profiles and/or ask.
  • How much does it cost to own land in SL? The land prices are on the SL web site. Not-for-profits can receive a 50% discount. There are also monthly maintenance fees. All of these fees go to purchase and maintain server space.
  • How much does it cost to construct buildings in SL? Well, often people will volunteer to do construction, which means the labor is free. However, if you need to pay someone, then the costs can vary, likely based on the person's skills and the time required to do the building. Buildings can be inexpensive ($50 - $500) or very expensive (multiple thousands of dollars). It was noted yesterday that one person charges $2,000 to do terra forming (forming islands to specifications).
  • How much time do people spend "in" SL? That really varies. The consensus is that spending a lot of time upfront learning the commands, etc., is very important. After that, it depends on a person's preferences.
How many people are active in SL? I like to raise that question. Generally, at any given time, there are 30,000 - 50,000 avatars in SL. In the last 60 days, 1.4 million avatars have logged into SL. However, you'll notice that there are more than 10 million registered avatars. This morning, Stephen Abram mentioned over breakfast that many avatars go into SL around 5 times and then quit. Why? I believe it is because SL is not intuitive and not easy to learn. People may also not understand what the benefit is for them.

How many virtual worlds are there? Tom Peters has been keeping track and has a list now of 50+ virtual worlds. Some are geared for young children, which means that kids are growing up understanding this technology. How will that influence there interface preferences, etc., when they are adults?

One of the other breakfast topics with Stephen was federated search. Are there federated search software options we have now reflective of what federated search will be when in grows up? No (and glad to see that Stephen and I agreed on this). Federated search is in its infancy. It has to change (grow up) in order to do what we really want. (I'm talking about federated search tomorrow at the conference, so I'll talk more about this after that.)

We also talked about digital asset management software. Although there are many software solutions, many people play "follow the crowd." As our parents all said...if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too? Okay...following the crowd can be good, but when it comes to DAM software, we hope that people would not feel pressured to do what everyone else is doing and rather make the correct decision for their specific situation.

Today is actually a "free day" for me, so I've walked, eaten too much, and done lots of talking. As for food...last night dinner was at The Grill in Carmel. Lunch today was at Old Fisherman's Grotto on Fisherman's Wharf. Right now I'm at Cafe Noir (free wifi) drinking coffee. Cafe Noir is a cafe in a movie theater lobby. The smell of popcorn is a bit overwhelming! Tonight there is an event at Monterey Public Library.

Finally, I want to introduce you to my other blog (eNetworking 101: The Blog), which is very new. This blog will focus only on social networking tools. Part of this post is also going to get posted there. I've been blogging in various places about social networking tools and was persuaded that I needed to create my own site on the topic, so I did.

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