Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Virtual Librarian Conference October 2008

October 1-2, 2008, I attended and presented at The Virtual Librarian Conference. The conference was held online and delivered via Adobe Connect.

My presentation was on the role of the academic librarian in virtual worlds. The focus was on my experiences as my university's main academic librarian in SL. I will embed my updated slideshare presentation here for those who are interested. My original presentation was 14 slides. Since it involved application sharing of a flickr slideshow I had to turn some of those snapshots into ppt slides so the presentation would work without the app sharing. Hopefully this will make sense to viewers of my Slideshare presentation. (If you see formatting problems in the embedded ppt below, please click the title link to watch on the Slideshare site.)

My Session took place on Day 2 of the conference and though I have attended many webinars using Adobe Connect, Elluminate, etc., I had never presented using one of these programs. That alone was a good learning experience for me. Since I decided I wanted to use application sharing in the middle of my presentation, I was stretched a little further by learning how to use some advanced features.

The conference attendees were made up of a little over 80% librarians along with a few educational technologists, etc. Many attendees freely participated in the discussion via comments and questions using chat which always adds value to the presentations.

There were four separate sessions each day including a panel discussion during day 1 made up of four people including Barbara A. Galik, Executive Director, Cullom-Davis Library, Bradley University (aka Puglet Dancer in SL). I was glad to see this and I enjoyed hearing the different viewpoints on the panel.

I recently interviewed Barbara Galik (Puglet Dancer, as the interview took place in SL) regarding her role as an academic librarian in Second Life. At the time I did not know she was the Bradley Univ library director or that she was the main person responsible for the Bradley University presence in SL (things I discovered during the interview). I find that I learn much by following trailblazers like Barbara, Lori Bell and others who presented and contributed during the conference.

It was helpful to learn more about the history of the Alliance Virtual Library during day 1 of the conference from those who founded the project and were involved from the beginning. Lori Bell and Abbey/Rhonda Trueman did a nice job explaining how this amazing project came about and how it is progressing. Joe Sanchez gave an interesting talk about librarianship in virtual worlds and the work he is doing in SL with students from the University of Texas at Austin. Here is a blog link for Joe on the Educators Coop in SL, which I have visited in SL and will continue to follow.

Day 2 of the conference was equally valuable. Jeremy Kemp of SJSU has considerable experience teaching and learning in SL and has accomplished excellent work inworld. From Sonja Plummer-Morgan, a public library director from Northern Maine, I learned about some of the administrative issues around building a library presence in SL and the great work she is doing with her library and as a volunteer for other organizations. And finally the conference ended with Matt Krull's presentation on "Creating Educational Tools in Second Life for Libraries.” Matt is a creative and talented individual. Educators in SL would be in trouble without people like Matt- people who understand the potential of virtual worlds and have the know-how to develop tools to help us fully utilize all VWs have to offer.

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