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Costumes Around the Conference

Today is Halloween, and several attendees observed it by coming in costume.  Below are a few pictures of some of those folks. 

Google marked the day too with a special logo.


Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and IL2007 Blog Coordinator

The Library as Community Commons

Terry Huwe, director at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE; Univ. of California, Berkeley), and columnist for Computers in Libraries, talked about the recent changes implemented at his library. Library skill can drive organizational change – and they used it to vastly increase the reach of the library staff into the lives of its users.

IRLE has fully renovated its Library. The new “Library Commons” provides an array of digital and traditional library services in a homey and inviting environment. The library has become like a comfortable, cozy living room—but one with appropriate technical options like wireless. The space has brought them opportunities to show the integrated environment they offer. It became the community builder that they had hoped it would.

The challenge today is how to mix/integrate new technologies with legacy (static) systems. Standard Web technologies can be the “glue” for most 2.0 applications.
The Library Commons is powerful – and has proven to be a popular place. It has provided pervasive technology and effective group spaces – it’s become the place to hang out.

Given the changes within the university—collapsing of traditional departments, merging of fields, collaborations across disciplines—means there are opportunities to guide them.
They have taken the lead on introducing many new technologies. They evolved from strength in Web management to blogging, Webcasting, Webconferencing, wikis, Facebook involvement, etc.

On their radar are social bookmarking, instant messaging, Facebook…but Terry said it’s important to match the right 2.0 tools to your situation.

Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief
Information Today, Inc.

Checking Out Virtual Lives

I came to the session titled World of Warcraft Versus Second Life because I was skeptical but wanted to expand my horizons. I also thought it would help me understand my son’s fascination for gaming.

I was very surprised to first hear Cindy Hill talk about her virtual work existence when she was at Sun Microsystems. She said that nearly 50 percent of Sun employees now have no assigned physical space and work outside the Sun offices regularly—resulting in monetary and environmental savings for the company. Sun also worked to change the office space so it was more collaborative. It also changed IT so that the distinction between outside and inside is gone. But, here’s the big news: The company will be building a new office named MPK20—but it will only be a virtual building. This will be their own space rather than in Second Life, so they can maintain confidentiality and privacy. People will retain their real names. It will offer an enterprise-grade infrastructure. Design concepts from virtual worlds are now playing into designs for new enterprise work spaces—very cool stuff!

For more information, check this out:

U.K. consultant Mary Aukland talked about her experiences of playing World of Warcraft—dressed in costume. She said there are 6 million players, each paying about $20 per month. It crosses generations and genders. She plays to chill out—it’s her form of relaxation. It also has sharpened her mental abilities and increased her eye-hand coordination. She also does it for social networking. It has taught her about herself and to be more assertive. It is also a good tool for encouraging reading—something that eases my mind over my son’s involvement with the game.

For libraries, the implications concern how people are organizing themselves in guilds and how they work in teams. And here’s a thought–Tomorrow’s CEOs are all playing Warcraft now!

Lori Bell’s whole family is involved—daughter, son, and husband all playing World of Warcraft while she stays in Second Life. She had the figure of 9 million players for WofW. People frequently don’t know what to do in Second Life, since there aren’t really games—so the retention rate isn’t very high. Both virtual worlds are addictive and fun.

Liz Lawley discussed some of her concerns about both—giving just a small preview of her afternoon keynote. Her 13 year old son loves SL. For him it fills a gap for his lack of control in the real world. For her, remodeling a real house is enough work.

She said that Second Life becomes a solution in search of a problem for most adults. Take a step back and ask why you are using it. “I can’t do anything in SL that I have an unmet need for in the real world.” She’s troubled by the segregation of adults and kids in SL—while in World of Warcraft she can interact and play with her children.

But with both, you need to ask why you are using them. It’s important to at least try these environments so we understand the dialog and the issues. From games, we can learn about what motivates people.

Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief
Information Today, Inc.

Internet Librarian 07 Becomes Part of History

As Don mentioned earlier, part of last night’s session was on gadgets and part was on a really cool project that four Dutch men have undertaken. They flew from Amsterdam to New York, rented an RV, and proceeded to drive it around the US, hitting the 5,000-mile mark as they got to Monterey. Along the way they visited libraries and interviewed all sorts of librarians about how they saw the future of libraries. Wow, what a story they have to tell.

(L-R: Edo, Japp, Geert, Erik in the RV)

And so it was no accident that they dubbed their project Shanachie Tour. ("Shanachie" is Irish for "Storytelling." They filmed their interviews and their trip, and are creating a documentary about it. At IL’s session they not only showed parts of what  they’ve filmed so far, they made our audience part of it. They did live interivews during the session and projected them on the screen in real time. Nothing like seeing yourself make history as it happens. 


I know that Erik, Jaap, Geert, and Edo made a lot of friends along the way. They certainly did in Monterey. Soon they’ll fly home and head back to work at Delft’s" Library Concept Center." ( But you’ll want to enjoy their web site while you wait for the finished product. Maybe you’ll see some of the colleagues in the crowd! 

Thanks, gentlemen, for reminding us how much American libraries rock–and for showing us how much Dutch librarians rock!

~Kathy Dempsey

CIL & MLS editor