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Showing posts with label Cybrarians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cybrarians. Show all posts

Sunday, August 23, 2020


So…you are tapping away on your computer, working on a research paper for your online class.  You are writing a fluff piece on a rather well-known topic like, “Where did all the antimatter go and its effect on the unified theory of physics?”, when suddenly you hit a snag and need more information about the topic.  Where do you go?  Normally, you might Google the question, but decide you don’t want to wade through 2,354,287 hits. You want professional help. You could go down to your neighborhood public library, and ask Marian the Librarian to point out the reference section on Unified Physics theory.  Unfortunately, due to a worldwide pandemic, Marian finds herself in a high-risk group and decides to close the library and stay home.

Fear not, my fellow intrepid seeker of knowledge. Help is only a few mouse clicks away. Enter the Virtual Librarian.  Fortunately, one of the Metaverses foremost experts in Virtual Library services consented to an interview. Dr. Valerie Hill (Valibrarian Gregg) is a Subject Matter Expert in the field and also happens to be a resident of SecondLife..  I caught up with her the other day and she graciously consented to answer my questions.

Josh Bellic (JB):  So tell me Val, what types of people use virtual libraries?

Valibrarian Gregg (VG):  Good question, Josh. All age groups now access information in digital content, so depending on your definition of a virtual library, everyone uses them.  
One definition (IGI Global) is "A Virtual Library is a collection of resources available on one or more computer systems, where a single interface or entry point to the collections is provided".
The Community Virtual Library is a VIRTUAL WORLD LIBRARY rather than a physical library or online database.  Nearly all physical libraries now provide digital access. such as on a cell phone.

VG: Any services provided in the physical world library can be offered in the virtual world including: exhibits, books, storytelling, writing workshops, seminars, conferences, tours, immersive role play (such as the Dickens Project every year), read-alouds, book discussions, and 3D projects such as Metaliteracy Symbolic Modeling (coming up on Sept 25th at 9am in SL).

JB:  How can a virtual Librarian best assist a researcher?

VG:  Virtual librarians can provide help accessing specific databases or resources in subject areas but, more importantly, can help individuals navigate changing information landscapes.  Digital citizenship requires "metaliteracy"- a new way of accessing and sharing information in digital culture where most content is born digital. Learning to evaluate information and use it ethically is an acquired skill.

JB:  That must require specialized knowledge to be effective? Is there a governing body or accreditation for Virtual Librarians?

VG:  Accreditation and certification requirements vary across the globe but most are standard in requiring an MLS or MLIS (Master of Library Science or Master of Library and Information Science).  In the US and Canada, the MLS or MLIS is required for most librarians in public, academic, or special libraries.
The board members of the Community Virtual Library in Second Life are professional librarians with a master's degree in library and information science (one with a degree in education). Volunteers (friends of the library) are provided training, particularly if they serve at the reference desk.

JB:  Are there any Librarian Groups in the Virtual World?

VG: Second Life Library 2.0 (main group for the Community Virtual Library
ACRL in Second Life (for Assoc of College and Research Libraries virtual world interest group- mostly academic librarians)

JB:  How can someone find a virtual Librarian?

Most academic libraries have a virtual librarian online (sometimes with live chat or through follow up). The Community Virtual Library (CVL) has librarians on duty at the reference desk and trains volunteers to help.
In addition, CVL is building a spreadsheet of educators' office hours in virtual worlds to help individuals network and navigate virtual environments for learning.

JB:  Is there anything else you would like to share with our Readers?

VG:  Yes.  I would like to invite your readers to check out Google Group:  metaverselibraries
Dr. Valerie Hill has researched virtual world libraries since 2007 and her recent book focuses on changing literacy with emphasis on virtual environments.

So there you have it, folks.  Next time you are looking for a recipe for dragonfly soup, or the proper way to store macadamia nuts – or even looking for the secrets of the universe in an “Illustrated Novel” – Ask your friendly Virtual Librarian.  You’ll be glad you did.  And be sure to visit the Community Virtual Library (CVL) at:

See ya in the Stacks! Aloha!