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Posted: 27 June 2007

UCD library joins Second Life

Second life is a 3D online digital world imagined, created and owned by its residents. It is currently inhabited by over seven million people from across the globe. Using their Avatars – their virtual selves – people set up homes, build businesses, and trade goods and services in this virtual world. It has even been reported that several entrepreneurs have made their fortunes trading in Linden Dollars - the currency used in Second Life which is named after its founding company Linden Labs.

Recognising that this online digital world offers a unique opportunity to extend the boundaries of traditional library services, the UCD James Joyce Library has established itself as the first Irish library in Second Life.

UCD Library in Second Life
UCD Library in Second Life

At present, there are over 40 libraries in Second Life. And the list is growing. Most can be found in a place called Cybrary City on Second Life’s Info Island - a purpose built space where libraries can establish their own virtual library presence to showcase their local resources, and where they can provide their services and learn new skills associated with 21st century librarianship.

“We’ve had instant messaging and blogs for quite some time now, so we thought that this virtual world might offer another useful compliment to the provision of traditional library services,” says Cathal McCauley from UCD Library Services. McCauley, who is leading the project for UCD Library, explains that Second Life is reminiscent of the internet in the mid-1990s. “We want to investigate the possibilities it might offer.”

At the Second Life branch of the UCD Library you can search web resources using a virtual PC, consult several e-books, view library presentations, complete a visitor survey, leave comments and suggestions, and even watch Sky News. But McCauley hopes that over time the virtual library branch will develop further to perhaps include a regular staff presence that would teach visitors new skills and ways of availing of the services offered by the UCD Library.

With Berkley, Harvard and Stanford having a presence in Second Life, the UCD virtual library is in good company. Reuters, Sony and IBM are just some of the companies which have established themselves in this ever expanding online world.

In certain cases, UCD lecturers supply their students with downloads of lecture notes and podcasts via UCD’s own website. However, McCauley says that these materials could also be delivered through Second Life. Working with his colleagues, he hopes to further meet the needs of UCD students, scholars and researchers in this virtual world.

For more information about the UCD Library in Second Life visit:

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