Wednesday, April 09, 2008

CIL2008: Liz Lawley

Liz Lawley did the final keynote. She was also the final keynote for Internet Librarian and I was interested to hear what new stuff she would discuss. Her presentation was actually titled "Libraries as Happiness Engines." Libraries are than place; they are emotional centers. Lawley pointed out that, these days, happiness is big news.

There are four components to happiness:
  • Satisfying work to do
  • Experience of being good at something
  • Time spent in a place we like
  • The chance to be part of something bigger
For some, their virtual world quality of life is better than that in the real world. This is causing people to blur the boundaries between their real lives and their virtual lives.

Games feel rewarding, even when playing are doing repetitive tasks in order to get to the next level. These repetitive tasks are referred to as "the grind." Because there is a goal to them, they feel rewarding.

There some specific game mechanics that help to make games fun:
  • Collecting (information and stuff)
  • Points (something that allows you to be ranked)
  • Feedback (on how you are doing in the game)
  • Exchanges (Exchanging what you have for other things)
  • Customization
The question is, can we use some of the principles of gaming in our world lives or in normal activities? Yes:
  • Chore Wars
  • Seriosity's Attent
  • Social Genius
  • Passively Multiplayer Online Game (PMOG) -- This allows the web to become a game board.
Interestingly, the virtual is bring people back to the real. It is not making the tangible go away.

So what was the bottom line from Liz Lawley's talk? I don't think she really talked about libraries as happiness engines. What she did do was give us a peek into why we cannot ignore games. I would think with our current economic condition that we might find more people playing games as a way of escaping their day-to-day reality. If that is true, will libraries get more into games? And will the gaming night next year not have people wondering what games have to do with libraries?

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