Well folks, our library is making the move and has decided to test the possibility of providing research assistance in Second Life (SL). The pilot project will focus exclusively on GIS research assistance, after which we will examine its outcomes and decide how to proceed.
So, starting with the public opening of the new Info International Island tomorrow (Friday, 09/21), anyone needing GIS research assistance can receive live assistance help from Mapz Oh during the times listed below. The hours listed here are in SLT (Second Life Time), which is the same as PST.
- Sundays 5-8 p.m.
- Wednesdays 5-8 p.m.
- Fridays 2-4 p.m.
We also created a new SL group, entitled GIS Researchers. The purpose of this group is to (1) provide an in-world network of enthusiasts and experts who can provide research assistance, and (2) to announce any GIS research activities in SL, such as presentations, showcases, discussions, etc.
Bear in mind, however, that things move and evolve so fast in SL that the purpose, direction, and goals we initially have for this new project may change as we see what needs (if any) arise.
Here is a sample from the GIS Research Assistance notes available in-world:
GIS Research - Types of Assistance Provided Here
For this SL venture of GIS Research Assistance, we envision providing assistance with RL geographic information systems research.
Here is an overview of the services we envision providing:
1. Locating geospatial data sources
2. Integrating these sources into your GIS
3. Performing GIS analysis (Beware, however, that we are most adept at using ESRI ArcGIS software)
4. Assistance automating ArcGIS via Models, Python, and VBA
5. Pleasant conversation about all things GIS
GIS Research - Why Offer GIS Assistance via SL?
Three reasons. First, it is my belief that virtual reality will play a major, possibly a dominant, role in the future. As information professionals (librarians), it is our responsibility to learn to interact with and to master these tools. Second, at this point we do not know how many of our students use Second Life. If any GIS users do use Second Life, they will surely use this service and then we can actually know and count the number of users. Third, why not? It is so easy to provide this additional service that we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Thanks so, so much to the great librarians at Info International, especially Abbey Zenith, for allowing us to set this up on their space. A great big thanks also to Razitra Artizar for SL enthusiasm and guidance. You guys are the best.