Wednesday, July 26, 2006

second life library more

I liked the idea. I liked it so much, the idea that a truly collaborative virtual universe needed library services, that I went and signed up for a free Second Life account, made my avatar, and have been hanging around the library there ever since. I rarely go anywhere else.

Unfortunate scheduling seems to have me logging in to SL when no one else is around in the library. So I look around at the changes, admire the architecture, sit on a cushion, look at a shelf full of books I can't read, and soon log out again. The librarians probably come around later, you know, West Coast time or East Coast time, and have big trainings and massive chats. Learning from each other, they postulate on building better virtual and digital library resources and services. And that's great.

But where are the patrons?

Where are the patrons, and what do they think when they come and look around? When they click a really great link on the reference terminal that takes them to a website in a web-browser outside of the SL environment, do they wonder why they bothered? When they can't find books -- or worse -- when they do find books but realize they'd be happier sitting on the couch with a physical book, a beer, and a cat? What happens then? Do the patrons wonder why the hell there's a library in SL in the first place? Do they wonder what the point is, or am I missing something? Certainly SL Library isn't a case of librarians letting their normally quashed vainglorious sides take a peacock walk through ubernerdling land...

I learn lots from librarians -- from talking to them, observing them, from reading library publications and blogs. But I think I learn even more from my patrons. I learn the patrons' needs, preferences, habits and tendencies. I learn why the patron was unhappy that she didn't find what she needed so that I can help get her to the resource that does have what she needs next time.

How can SL Library mature without real need from patrons? How can SL Library become meaningful and relevant?

If these questions are answered well (and I hope that they can be), I think it will shine a real ray of hope on the future of libraries generally.

federate this

Convince me, someone, that all federated searching does not suck.


Watching: Deadwood, at last.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

ancient book of psalms in irish blog. er, bog.

The really sad thing? I first read this as "ancient book of psalms found in Irish blog".

speaking of psalms...

google mandarin, beta

Yes. Just did a little experimenting, and it looks like Google's translator will now tackle Chinese. This is new to me, and it makes me happy. I can finally Baidu.

waggin' my chinese

Taking a cue from Dr. Nokes at Unlocked Wordhoard, I think we've got a Chinese ISHUSH on our hands. There's a "beta" translate button in Mandarin beside your Google search results when you use the interface to search for roman lettered words now. Another minor synchronicity. I've been feeling an odd itch to learn that language since I got back from Free China a couple of years ago (never felt much of a pull to learn it while I lived there...). Maybe one of these days I'll take the urge seriously and start practicing my tones.

carnival 47

Yo. Next week we'll have a round of the Carnival of Infosciences seated here, at ISHUSH. If you'd like to submit, please email me { kdevans {at} }. The Carnival gets in on this coming Monday morning, 30 July. Send submissions by Sunday, please, and without much straggle.

But don't worry. Even if you're late, the rides run all night long.

virtual reality and time travel

Quick note.

Thinking on the uses of a virtual reality -- or augmented reality, actually -- and thinking that to me, in my life, one of the best applications would be the ability to spend lots of virtual or augmented time doing something, and have that something take up very little "real" time. To have my mind affected by the VR or AR process in such a way that I could use three seconds of real time to read a chapter of a book, practice playing the guitar, or post a blog entry. Like they did in the Matrix, but not quite as "jacked in" -- more on-the-fly like. More ad-hoc. Like you could use the time you were sitting in traffic at a red light to complete the Chen Style taiji long form, then snap right out of it and get your truck in gear and go.

Dilating and contracting time as you go, as needed, to learn new skills or accomplish tasks.

That'd be great.