Second Life & Medical Libraries

I’ve just tagged another article about virtual medical education in Second Life.

The relevance of Second Life to medical libraries was a controversial topic at MLA ’08. One view is that Second Life is overhyped and our customers are not there; we should not waste our resources on it. The other side points out that Second Life reaches users who can’t come to the library for one reason or another — homebound caregivers, stay-at-home parents, people whose disabilities make travel difficult. They point to a large Second Life community of health information users and providers.

I attended a couple of intriguing presentations by University of Michigan librarians, who moved into Second Life when its medical school began to develop its virtual presence. Gillian Mayman et al presented an entertaining skit demonstrating a reference transaction in Second Life; it reminded me of staffing the reference desk at the community college, where some students think nothing of answering their cell phones in the midst of the process. The slides for another presentation by PF Anderson, Second Life for Engagement, Outreach, and Building Interdisciplinary Communities of Learning, are available at Slideshare.

I found it very interesting, but since I work in a hospital system that blocks streaming video due to bandwidth issues, I don’t see Second Life in my worklife in the forseeable future.

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