This is copied from an announcement I received through the Exlibris listserv, and I thought readers of The Stoa would be interested as well. I’m not a big proponent of Second Life, but I do like seeing how people are coming up with interesting (and potentially useful) ways to use the technology. I feel the same way about Twitter, incidentally.
Have you heard about virtual worlds? Ever wonder what how they might be used in the world of archives and special collections?
Come find out at Stanford University’s Special Collections and University Archives’ virtual “Open House” in the virtual world Second Life on Friday, July 31st from 9:00 to 11:00a.m. (PST). Drop in anytime during these hours for an overview of our new Virtual Archives which allows scholars to discover and use our primary resources in a virtual environment.
For the first time scholars and the casual passersby can walk Stanford’s closed stacks and browse some of our manuscript collections—a practice not offered in real life. Stanford’s Virtual Archive is a very small but growing subset of our deep storage facility replicated in Second Life. Patrons can open virtual Hollinger boxes and a sampling of scanned documents from the real life box will appear along with a link to that collection’s online finding aid. They can then post their reference questions on the bulletin board which sends email to our Special Collections staff. Stanford’s Virtual Archive provides access to patrons around the world without endangering the collection.
Second Life (SL) is a virtual world where more than 15 million users have created avatars–or online personas–enabling them to explore SL and interact with others from in real time. Reference in SL occurs through in-world text and voice chat as well as our reference bulletin board.
Please join us at our Open House to learn more at the following SLURL address (this is the Second Life location for the Stanford University Special Collections’ Virtual Archive): http://slurl.com/secondlife/Stanford%20University%20Libraries/85/224/33 This address launches the Second Life application from your web browser. For those not already in SL, joining is free at http://secondlife.com/ and we will be happy to help get you acclimated in-world. Look for Sicilia Tiratzo and my colleague in SL, Mollie Mavendorf. We will be on hand to demonstrate the archives site and answer your questions. We look forward to seeing you “in world” on July 31st.