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Back to blogging, after catching up on email. I will try to group some of the presentations I attended:

I tried to attend as many presentations on gaming in libraries as I could, since that has become a specialty of ours at ZSR and Giz and I are scheduled to present at the 2nd Gaming in Libraries Symposium in Chicago this summer. Our gaming experience has been largely a marketing strategy to try to attract students to the library, but other libraries have gone the next step and are trying to incorporate the gaming experience into library instruction.

The first presentation was by a team from the University of Cincinnati Libraries. They called their inhouse team of librarians a learning community because they knew they would be learning as they went about their project. When they submitted their paper over a year ago, they thought they would have a viable, tested product focusing on using a video game to teach plagiarism and report on its success. In fact, they discovered they were in a bit over their heads with the complexity of the gaming software and after the head of the Faculty Technology Resource Center who offered to do the programming for them left, they had to go back and reassess. Next, they looked at trying to incorporate existing games and found that Second Life was not suitable at all for their project but that two games called Montage-a-Google and Guess-the-Google had modest success when used in library instruction.

The second presentation was an excellent comprehensive approach to all aspects of gaming in libraries, called “Gaming for the Ages: A Wholistic View from Collections to Services” by David Ward and Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They covered topics like Gaming in Society, Gaming in Education, Gaming in Libraries, a Five Year Plan for Gaming at UIUC, and Future Directions. One difference I noted in their environment was that they had a number of faculty at UIUC who were doing active research on learning through gaming. They are taking the view that in 10 years gaming will be a major avenue for learning. At the UIUC Undergraduate Library, they have begun a gaming collection of both hardware and software. They have not tried to write any gaming software, but have tried simple games like the “ESP Game” and “Tapper” in their library instruction. Here is a challenge for Erik to think about: “wouldn’t it be great if the OPAC were a fun game?”