The Immersive Information Professional – Next Steps

Two avatars interacting within Kitely

The 2013 iteration of LIBR559M is wrapping up, and on reflection it’s been the best offering of the class since I started to teach it in 2008. A lot went well this term, and overall I’m happy about student engagement and the quality of their discussions on Connect.

In the sixth and final module on Immersion, I’ve asked SLAIS and WISE students to explore a virtual world. I’ve been (re)exploring several myself, trying to keep an open mind about what they might offer to information professionals and trying to determine where immersive platforms are headed for the future. Just when I think information professionals are finally moving out of Second Life, I get this invitation:

My other eureka moment this week has been the realization about how difficult it is to immerse yourself in new virtual worlds without good directions. In other words, despite new research by Mon (2012) and Hill (2013) what information professionals (e.g., librarians, archivists and museum curators) really lack are directions about where virtual worlds are going and where they should visit inworld to get a hang of things. For example, the Wikipedia page is out of date and not extremely helpful:

My page for museums and archives is marginally better:

For those of you keen to consider other forms of “reality”, perhaps you will find these entries in the wiki useful:

The challenge in this whole virtual continuum is assessing whether any of these trends are worth our time and intellectual energies. If you have the answer, please let me know.


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