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Library services in virtual worlds


Orchid at Kew

At Birmingham City University I’ve had a number of opportunities to hear about interesting and exciting use of technology for teaching especially virtual worlds.

One project is Shareville, a virtual world with real life video to provide gritty and realistic scenarios for learning and teaching. Students can walk around this virtual world based on Birmingham, including a representation of  City North campus, and click on various hot spots to interact with different scenarios. As well as Shareville, the University’s Faculty of Health has developed the VirtualCaseCreator, which is ‘software that supports rich, highly interactive, multimedia, online, simulations.’  Unlike Shareville however this has no real video footage and all the scenarios are  computer animated.  Hearing about these amazing projects, and getting to meet the creators, got me thinking about library services and what value they could add to these virtual worlds, and came up with the list below (I suspect there are many examples of these in practice)

  • virtual representation of a library to provide inductions and tours
  • virtual trade magazines or journals on coffee tables, buses etc which when selected provides the table of contents or links to articles
  • shelves of books, cabinets of documents etc which link directly to the online version
  • representation of student study space
  • calendars, notice boards, post it notes on fridges etc to remind users of library opening hours
  • TV/computers as hotspots once clicked can link to streamed media
  • avatars as a representation of the library catalog or search interface

I am not clear as to how much library resources play a part in this type of learning process, however it did make me think more about how the importance of being part of the students workflow and not just part of the learning process but conusmption of information on a daily basis.


1 Nigel Wynne { 11.02.09 at 2:14 pm }

Hi Damyanti,
Just caught your blog entry re: VCC. I am the lead for this project at BCU and would like to add that the VCC simulations all contain video footage. What VCC aims to do is to provide messy learning environments in which problems can be identified, and solved and decisions can be made. Feedback on decision making is given formatively and summatively. Where video adds to the interactivity of each simulation and its learning outcomes then these are developed and integrated. In addition video that is already in existence is often repuposed within VCC. Todate we have over 35 simulations and these are being used within the NHS and by other universities. We are also engaged in an exciting Virtual Worlds projects that will provide an interface between existing online resources and 3D virtual world collaborative activities. I think that there is something exciting here in terms of supporting library services.

Give me a shout if you would like any more info on VCC or the VW project.



2 damyanti { 11.13.09 at 12:10 pm }

Hi Nigel, many thanks for the clarification, VCC seems like an amazing resource and I really enjoyed hearing about it at the Learning Festival. The Virtual World projects sounds exciting and would love to hear more, I think trying to provide more intiuative and usable interfaces to resources is key and something the library service is keen to pursue.


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