The Shifted Librarian -

« December 02, 2005 | Main | December 06, 2005 »

* Monday, December 5, 2005


A Picture Share!, originally uploaded by The Shifted Librarian.

George Needham vs. Kathryn Deiss. 'nuff said :)

5:47 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   TrackBack [0]  |   Google It!

Gaming Symposium 04: Walt Scacchi

Opportunities for Game Culture and Technology in Public Libraries

– games as immersive, experiential literary form – game play as emergent narrative
– gaming as rapidly growing global industry
– modding and making games as practice-based learning and career development
– games as new media and cultural form
– game culture as social movement

walt mentions web 3.0! (third place) has more than 80,000 channels right now

20,000 open source collaborators, which averages out to 2 per project
law of averages means there’s a core group of people driving and networking these projects
a small number of people can connect a large community (eg Kevin Bacon)

making games as career develoment – unreal tournament


Kinetic City as a standard for science standards – oriented only to 12–year olds
cost $2 million to build!

unfortunately, I missed the rest of Walt’s talk, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find more blogger notes about it at

4:36 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   TrackBack [0]  |   Google It!

Gaming Symposium 03: Constance Steinkuehler

The Gaming Generation & Libraries: Intersections

defined Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs)
– highly graphical 2– or 3–d videogames
– online social interaction
– persistent virtual worlds
– real-time, perpetually accessible
– loosely structured by open-ended (fantasy) narratives, but…
– players free to do as they please
– “Escapist fantasy” yet emergent “social realism” (Kolbert 2001)

people end up spending a lot of time in these games worrying about things like crime, families, etc.

spotlighted Lineage II
showed her character, which is not a Barbie
military strategist; 2–6 weeks to plan a siege!
showed a clip of a siege

audience question: what happens in a game like this when you die?
Constance: it’s not permanent death; I’ll die 12 times, but I’ll lose a little “experience” (which is like losing work and time)
highest level character is 72

audience question: is there an overlap to playing multiple games?
Constance: they’re time-intensive, so overall, not more than one or two at a time

showed Everquest money for sale on ebay 
77th largest economy in the real world w/GNP between Russia and Bulgaria; platinum piece trades higher than both Yen & Lira

intellectually rich environments
– collaborative groups that look like “cross-functional teams” by Glenn M. Parker; starts to look like fast capitalism
– constellation of literacy practices (“the literacy scare” out in the media) – have to define reading in the first place! showed a “constellation of literacy practices” just from Lineage (just dealing with print, reading and writing)

in-game talk
example: afk g2g too ef ot regen no poms; necessary when you’re dealing with 58 players
if you do the functional linguistic analysis that acknowledges the intact activity structure, coordinates the other participants who remain, and displays community standing as “beta vet”

— missed a bit while we looked for Michael’s suddenly missing Airport Express!!!! — anybody seen it?!

talked about massive sites that fans maintain (similar to Wikipedia)
Constance is looking at scientific inquiry in fan forums
personal gameblogs are very popular, documenting all of the escapades you go on
fan fiction
– showed a couple of great examples from kids (middle schoolers); the writing is part and parcel of game play

MMOGaming isn’t replacing literacy activities. It is a literacy activity.
if you compare the writing to NCTE standards, it’s not bad; same for technology standards
these literacy practicies exceed national reading, writing, & technology standards! (10th graders)

so what’s up the media scare?
– fear of technology
– fear of youth culture (while they claim kids aren’t reading and writing, they’re really more concerned with WHAT they’re reading and writing)

systems of reciprocal apprenticeship
– orientation to goal
– practice —> feedback
– focuses learner’s attention
– practice —> feedback

mentor actually teaches, without waiting for the apprentice to get an 85% or better on the quiz
master elf’s actions tied to a particular set of values, a particular view of the world
peers are enculturating each other into the world!

so what’s of value?
what is she overtly or tacitly trying to teach me?
you can see the signals in the transcript
– procedural dexterity
– mentorship
– (virtual) material is mithrill and it’s good
– membership
– equal distribution of opportunity * (not equal distribution of outcomes, but opportunities)

ethos of meritocracy
– used example of MadamSin transcript; she owned 4 of 6 castles in Lineage I, and two years later, she’s still well-known, part of the lore (in real life, she was an illegal immigrant welder, and yet she is a powerful leader online)
made the comparison of high schools – what if kids had had these virtual places to be something other than themselves?
– participatory culture
– awareness of different ‘games’
– primacy of the subjective (being the hero of your own story; McLuhan: searching not for goals but for roles, a striving for an identity that eludes”

videogames are a push technology
as gaming enters the home, computers go along with that
not just hardware, but norms as well; participatory culture

why should libraries care about videogames?
– intellectually rich environments
– collaborative
– sites for literacy practices (compare to libraries – how similar, how different?)
– enculturation into practices & perspectives (cultural shift towards participatory consumption and then sharing it with their social network)


“social mod” – put aside their fighting to “farm the farmers” to get rid of the people making money off them; the company that made the game had NO idea this was going on!

showed a mod (built for fun) downloaded more than 1400 times
average download for academic papers is 1.8
– user identified a problem, built the mod, had conversations with other mods, and now he no longer plays – gaming becomes modding)
– they’ve started recording movies of gameplay of World of Warcraft
– “beer for my horses” movie – 164,000 downloads of just this one movie (923 a day!)

— found the missing Airport YAY! wireless network is back up! —

idea of third place
– video games are third place for today’s youth
– they build social networks here
– they bridge networks here

audience question: is there the possibility for mutiny in Lineage?
Constance: ohhhhhh, yes

next Games, Learning, & Society conference will be June 15–16, 2006

Technorati tags: GaminingLibraries2005

2:29 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   TrackBack [0]  |   Google It!

Gaming Symposium 02: Steve Jones

The Gaming Landscape: College Students, Gaming & Learning

spent a lot of time gaming on Plato, very little time spent on it learning

Pew’s funding runs out at the end of this month?!

Background for The Gaming Landscape study:
– paper survey distributed in 2002 to students at 27 higher ed. institutions in U.S.
– 1,162 surveys returned
– online survey randomly distributed among college students at 25 U.S. higher ed.
– observations and interviews conducted at 10 universities

3 categories of games that are not mutually exclusive:
– video games (those requiring consoles and tv sets)
– computer games (that require a PC)
– online games (those that require an internet connection, typically for multiplayer interaction)

what we know:
– 70% of students surveyed reported playing games “at least once in a while” (surprised at the low number)
– 65% of students reported being “regular” or “occasional” game players
– all of those surveyed reported to have played a video, computer or online game at one time or another – THIS NEVER HAPPENS IN THEIR SURVEYS!! tells us something about the integration of games in these kids’ lives

of the 27% of college students who said they do not occasionally or regularly play video, computer, or internet games at all the primary reasons for not playing:
– 20% cited “lack of interest”
– 13% cited “waste of time”

what was interesting is that to them, pulling out your cell phone and playing a game while waiting for a friend didn’t constitute “gaming” for them
only 2% cited a lack of electronic gaming resources (speaks to the issue of access to games for this generation)
– only .5% cited unfamiliarity with games (don’t even know what to do with this number because their margin of error is 3%)

more women than men reported playing computer and online games (60% women to 40% men)
gaming is pretty ubiquitous across racial groups
computer games held a slight edge in popularity (71%); then video games (59%); then online games (56%) – makes sense because of the proliferation of computers
computer games also have an edge over video games and onlien games in time used
daily, twice as many college students play an online (14%) or a computer game (13%) as play a video game (6%)
nearly half (45%) of college students reported going online to play a game (as the sole reason for going online)

69% were exposed to video games in elementary school! online games come as they get older; jr. high/high school and college, move to online and computer games

one of the ways kids move through the types of games and what they play, it’s a deliberate setting for activities
– if I’m home and I’m bored, I’ll play video games
– if I’m online and doing something else, I’ll play an online game
– if I’m waiting for someone, I’ll play on my gameboy or PDA
==> so gaming is becoming slotted into particular activities; understanding this is going to be an interesting effort for libraries to understand when we’re slotted; to do particular things at particular times

when do they play?
– 41% of college student gamers reported playing mainly after 9pm
– I missed the other two statistics

where do they play?
– 31% at parent’s home
– 27% friend’s home
– 23% dorm room
– 2% at the library

in what ways, as children grow, are they still acclimated to libraries?

does gaming impact their academic lives? – got contradictory answers
– 66% said gaming had no influence on their academic performance
– however on another question, 48% agreed that gaming keeps them from studying “some” or “a lot”
– 9% said their main motivation for playing games was to avoid studying

– 69% said they’d never used a video, computer, or internet gaming in the classroom for educational purposes; which means 31% have! (glass half full?)
– 31% admitted playing games that were not part of the instructional activities during class

they want realistic graphics, excitement, interactivity in games
in video games, racing games are far and away the most popular, followed by role-playing/adventure and then arcade games
card games were the predominant interest of both computer and online gamers

– the most important trend spotted is the integration of gaming into other activities (“multitasking”)
– take time between classes to play a game
– play a game while visiting with friends or instant messaging (other things might be going on in the room, too; it’s not a pure behavior)
– play games as a brief distraction from writing papers or doing other work
– play games when “bored” (regardless of setting)

the younger the student, the more likely they are to play games
they also did a survey of college faculty (when will there be enough faculty that are gamers?)
at what point will there be a “verge” of opportunities for gaming in the classroom?
thinks this divide will maintain itself for a little while longer (among teachers and librarians – in terms of meeting a diverse range of patrons)

is there a gaming divide?
– higher family incomes correlated to a higher likelihood of gaming; everyone experienced it, but the likelihood of frequency goes up with income
– bur race does not seem to be a factor in gaming
– has to do with some of the same digital divide issues (access to technology, resources, etc.)

– Visualization
– Interaction
– Collaboration
– Immersion
What might it look like?

teaching higher math seemed to make more sense in something like the Cave, which costs $500,000–$1 million for 10’ x 10’; it IS networked, though, so can share environments!
Immersadesk – Lincoln School in Oak Park?!
GeoWall, AutoStereo & Beyond – walls of displays
example of taking you back to the Harlem Renaissance, gain insight into the music and the literature
does information in these types of environments have to hew to some standard of accuracy?
– the accuracy school says if we’re going to recreate Harlem, it must be exact
– the educational school says I don’t want the building where they really were because going from the Apollo to the Cotton Club will be too far for them to traverse
==> when these two groups get together, it’s explosive!

are these fiction or nonfiction environments? do we have standards by which to judge? important for libraries to consider if we’re going to create virtual worlds

– global high-speed networks will have an impact on gaming (there are everquest users from around the world)
– culture and language (bartering, negotiating); might see cross-cultural game trainers emerge
– public support

audience question: have they ever asked how many people are playing board games?
Steve: we did in the second round, but we don’t have that data yet; they didn’t get many responses, possibly because the perception was that the survey was about electronic gaming

audience question: are they looking at data from forums
Steve: no, but others are

audience question: if we integrate the gaming more fully, do librarians become the introducers? we already have a 10–week computer club for middle school kids who don’t even have email accounts
Steve: groups, probably peer-led, are a good option, so keep doing that; when they take the immersadesk to schools, it’s the first time the kids see it, but they “get” it right away

audience question: given the number of hours people play games, do you envision or have there been any studies done correlating gaming and sustained reading?
Steve: I”m not aware of any, although I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some out there; some studies have shown a weak correlation between gaming and literacy, but it’s a chicken-and-egg proposition, so it’s difficult to tell

audience question: you’ve noted the interstitial use of gaming, which seems at odds with the dashboard theories in the last session
Steve: noted the book “The Second Self;” children are oriented towards mastery of the world around them, so mastery of something like a gameboy is an important state; later in life, that mastery becomes less important, at which point socializing becomes a bit more of an issue; some will always spend an inordinate amount of time gaming

Technorati tags: GaminginLibraries2005


12:24 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   TrackBack [0]  |   Google It!

Gaming Symposium 01 - Les Gasser

Les gave the first keynote speech of the symposium: New Landscapes for Libraries
Les teaches a LIS course: Game Culture and Technology

courses in GSLIS and across the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign to use gaming and new media

3 models

“A Box of Books” (“The B Model”)
– an information repository

the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but they do
libraries shouldn’t be flying, but they are; how do we keep a library afloat
where did the initial incentive for libraries come from and how do we keep that going?

Digital Transformations:
ebooks – since the platforms haven’t worked well, people have repurposed them for gaming
epaper – flexible; “readius” device that takes epaper and scrolls it; digital paper that is downloadable (may see this first with restaurant menus)
– will start to emulate the books we now love

Transaction Costs:

Ronald Coase argued in 1937
– if TCs are high, it pays to hire employees (organization) vs. contracting out jobs (market)
– arrangements of transaction costs shape social organization

Extrapolate that to Information Transaction Costs

= each has a cost… each contributes to the cost of other activities

in the year 500, what it cost to copy information (monks writing) vs. now
as a general trend the cost of all of those information transactions is going down, to below zero in some cases
= actually goes negative in some cases, so you make money by copying information (Google as the example)

flickr (where many of the pictures in this presentation came from)
copyright conflict
flame wars
open source

BoB Libraries???

near-zero or below-zero Tcs drive consumers away from libraries
– movie attendance
– radio listenership
– television viewing

increasing pressure to profit from every customer “touch” (lending transaction)
– disintermediation of libraries

increase circulation via CRM
maintain symbolic status quo of mission

hooking them with something else and then pushing the book on them maintains the symbolic status quo

but libraries should maintain the stewardship of resources
paperbacks (preservation)
A/V & media
console games
= same debate

can libraries benefit from this new landscape?

What’s in a Library? (“The K Model”)
Willam Learned: Library as community intelligence center
university of the people
informed citizenry/availability of public knowledge

critical role of innovation for society:
assimilating the new
visiting the cutting edge
migrating new knowledge/experience into practice (e.g. readers’ advisory services)

World Bank Study: 2–5% of the population will become entrepeneurs, will become producers instead of consumers

Library as venue of community & cultural innovation
a place where society innovates

(Aaron comments that I probably love all this because of my interest in participatory culture. He’s right!)

can view games as a ubiquitous reflection of emerging culture
foundation of cultural mythology and transmission

example of Les’ son and Harry Potter
there’s not just “one” Harry Potter – there’s the movie version, the game version, the cover of the books version
the ways we transmit culture are happening through the games, which means we have to build a relationship between games and libraries

woman that studied apprenticeship in African tribal cultures
==> defined learning as “gaining membership in community (of practice)”
can’t learn if you don’t participate in the community
so if libraries are stirring up society in good ways, leading innovation, etc., then we have to think of libraries as fostering participation in communities

however, there are some issues with that:

the world of gaming is primarily one of open systems
– practices, environment are constantly changing (unlike the cycle of new editions of books)
– player directed content is important; narratives emerge from the actions of players
– emergent experience; you don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens
– unplanned interactions
– cultural conflict (Grand Theft Auto)
– can involve external worlds (your cellphone, GPS, play the game outside in the place – not a fixed, indoor location)

libraries depend on the stability of structure, content, and meaning; on control over quality (who assures the quality of information)
but that’s not easy to control in a world of openness
stewardship of enduring resources of culture; what’s enduring of this constantly changing melting pot?

The Primer: Neal Stephenson’s Diamond Age
how do we use the library to open the world of The Primer?

– could be a space of extended placeness (virtual spaces)
– multi-modal inter-acting webs of services
– immersive, persistent (web 2.0!!!!!)
– social, collective
– game models as metaphors

showed Guild Wars Information Environment
“dashboard” of information
showed same thing from World of Warcraft
can buy your own island in Second Life and leave information there

faculty at U of I bought an island in Second Life and they’re keeping information there and meeting there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

showed video of a large, immersive “book” where the person moves their hand and the pages change (too cool!) – VR goggles
“the cave;” hand-controlled joystick that lets you walk into the book!!!
“a mobile information service” – readers’ advisory
literally walking over the page of a book
find a printing press, can make letters move onto the printing press
move into a painting of The Last Supper

an immersive, virtual environment with few clues for navigation

Gaming and Libraries: I model

– virtual place extensions (library services in other places)
– immersion in experience
– new venues for services
– competition, chance, simulation, vertigo (4 types/aspects of games) – are these things libraries need to think about exploring to let people experience innovation?

how do we create these new venues to exploit these new transaction costs?

mentions Apolyton University for Civ III

advocates getting away from thinking about libraries in any kind of a traditional way
promoting knowledge, access to knowledge, citizen participation – anywhere we don’t normally think to go

audience question: the expense of creating games like “the cave”
Les: around 400 “caves” and they’re not cheap; certainly a factor for why we can’t just jump into this
what could be interesting would be game mods; exploiting communities of modders to create the kind of things we want to create

audience question: are there studies that show our imagination changes in these immersive environments
Les: used the song “California Dreaming” as an analogy; he used to be able to imagine his own vision of the song, but now he just gets the music video
possibility for exploration and discovery; ways to trigger creativity

audience question: World Bank study about entrepeneurship – are gamers becoming producers?
Les: p2p file sharing studies show that very few people actual upload files, but a large number download; statistics are roughly the same for game mod producers versus consumers; crosses more than just the World Bank study

audience question: if looking for parallels to immersion model, as a musicologist, he was part of a trend where they got the original instruments and immersed themselves into the period; similar parallel – has really reshaped their thought to what went on during that time; but by revisiting the past, it’s a wonderful learning environment
Les: traveling in time to become part of a community; see for bringing back nostalgic games, TCM for old movies that no one may want to watch anymore – same thing

audience question: mentioned looking at museum game metaphors, what kinds of services would you like to see libraries provide for academics like yourself?
Les: will have to think on that

audience question: we do gaming at my library, and bridging the gap between haves and have-nots seems to be a big piece of this; all types come together for the gaming, though, and become a community; do you agree this might be a new role for libraries? a melting pot with gaming as a catalyst?
Les: certainly – we’ve seen this in the past with immigrants; for whatever reason (risk aversion, economics, etc.), libraries need to make this accessibility happen

audience question: Arizona state university is trying to innovate in this area, exploring gaming – trying to build a game to teach information literacies; want their catalog and databases to be more immersive and look more like gaming; how do we begin to put these ideas into actions? what kind of skills should we be looking for in IT people, recent graduates, etc.?
Les: it’s a constant struggle at the U of I library school because most students come in with wonderful experiences of the library and they look to understand how to duplicate that; teach me the way it’s done so I can do what I saw and loved; so people trying to prepare students for 20 years down the road is difficult; how do we envision the future and discover what skills will be needed? they teach general concepts (metadata, etc.), but we don’t think far enough ahead; need to have a lot more conversations

audience question: would avatars be useful in library tutorials? interested in the dashboard concept. do you feel that the complexity of the dashboard is what people find engaging?
Les: what you saw doesn’t come with the game – it’s complexity you build while playing; you can make it less or more complex, which is how people play the game
followup: could we have some chatter like that and have learning happen?
Les: might think of games and learning as “math blaster” (high uptake and then abandoned by games); simulation (flight simulator, stocks, etc.) where intent is to learn; both of these are explicit learning, but the third model is implicit – need information navigation skills, and tons of other skills, so you have to learn that from other people to play; better think about your theory of learning so you know what you’re going to build – is learning a side effect?

audience question: I’m a programmer by accident and a librarian by profession; writing a game is not easy, so it’s no accident that only 2% generate all of this information that the rest of the world consumes; if you look at the library historically, 500 years ago we cataloged information that the world is flat, so it seems like libraries should be immersed in gaming; now realizes that it’s not wrong to collect bad information
Les: “Science and Action” book opens with 3 vignettes; Tracy Kidder’s “Soul of a New Machine” – the place to live is when information is a mess, that’s where innovation happens

audience question: was thinking of a model for the library as an IT center for the village/city
Les: yes, many people have been thinking along those lines; we buy proprietary games for circulation, but not free software; wouldn’t it be great to be able to try out software from the library; when I’m interested in a new idea, I go to the library and check out books AND software; why don’t we do this? we don’t think of software as an information resource we catalog, and we don’t have the culture, means, or resources (or even skills), but it’s another possible avenue; some corporate libraries do this, but it’s a matter of thinking openly about resources you bring in; do this with game mods?

Kathryn: director of the LBJ library said we can’t predict the future, but we can shape the narrative; could these immersive experiences do that?

10:41 AM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   TrackBack [0]  |   Google It!