I’ve been reading McKenzie Wark’s Gamer Theory in print and find it a fascinating experience. I’m reading with the book open to two pages. You may know that he wrote the book online through a system developed by the Institute for the Future of the Book that invited user comment on the text. Those comments are published with the book as “Cuts (Endnotes).”Â I’m accustomed to looking to footnotes or endnotes for citation information and expansion of an idea, but this is the first time I’ve encountered reader comments. It’s a little like reading the transcript of a conversation, though Wark doesn’t directly respond to the comments. The book is available online. It may actually be easier to read online than in print.
- Author: jwa
- Published: Nov 28th, 2007
- Category: Library 2.0, Library Trends, Theological Libraries, gaming theory
- Comments: None
“Library 2.0 applied to RA means that our core serviceâ€”fostering connections and discussions about items in our collectionsâ€”can be enhanced and adapted by social technology. Library 2.0 tools play to the strengths of RA work and can deepen and broaden the interaction, introduce new ways of connecting books to other items, and enable librarians to enlist the entire community of readers in the collaborative creation of RA services for everyone. This is happening most quickly through a revisioning of what annotations are, where they exist, and who creates and uses them. ”
“2.0 for Readers; Online innovations reinvent how we use a classic RA toolâ€”annotations”
by Neal Wyatt — Library Journal, 11/1/2007
- Author: jwa
- Published: Nov 27th, 2007
- Category: Library Trends, Theological Libraries, gaming theory, spiritual practice
- Comments: 2
They are the basic, primal form of social interaction. Social exchange can be very explicit or implicit (i.e. emergent) For example eBay feedback has evolved into a tit-for-tat social game: give me a feedback, Iâ€™ll give you one.Trading is an explicit social exchange. Example: trading in World of Warcraft; trading in Mogi-Mogi (a GPS-based game in Tokyo to collect virtual objects.)
â€œGiftingâ€ is an implicit social exchange, youâ€™re not forced to do it but the system makes you do it.
Examples: NetMarble (Korea); HabboHotel (you can buy object with your points and give gifts); Helios that targets the MySpace generation, ability to give ringtones, wallpapers, etc. If you want to create interesting social dynamics you have to allow users to exchange gifts. Itâ€™s a very powerful social exchange.
MySpace has both implicit and explicit social exchanges: â€œadd friendsâ€ is explicit but comments are implicit.
I was reminded of that by the post on if:book about the recent interview with Junot DÃaz, the author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
Nobody learns to read outside of a collective. We forget â€“ because we read and we read alone â€“ we forget that we learn to read collectively. We learn with our peers, and a teacher teaches us. . . . When you read a book â€“ and especially like this book, where there’s gonna be Spanish, there’s gonna be historical references, there’s gonna be nerdish, as they say, forget the elvish, the nerdish, there’s gonna be fanboy stuff, there’s gonna be talk about Morgoth, about dark side, about John Brunner’s science fiction books, about Asimov, about Bova, about Andre Norton, about E. E. Doc Smith’s Lensman, you know all this weird esoteric stuff, amongst all these Dominican references, Caribbean references, urban black American references, all this nerd talk, all this kind of hip “we went to college” speak â€“ the reason that’s all there in one place is the same reason that reading is a collective enterprise. When we did not know a word when we were young and learning, we would ask someone. We forgot â€“ I think many of us forget â€“ that praxis, that fundamental praxis. What I want is for people to read and remember that reading, while we may practice it alone, in solitude, it arose out of a collective learning and out of a collective exchange . . . .
I wonder if a return to reading as a collective enterprise might be the kind of social engagement described by Amy Jo Kim. A few weeks ago I preached a sermon in chapel about in which I talked about open source spirituality, a move toward collective spiritual practices that result in a spirituality greater than the sum of the parts. Might collective reading be such a spiritual practice?
I’ve been writing about the Library as game, but it’s important to recognize another significant trend in libraries. Many libraries (both public and academic) are adding games to the collection and providing space for playing games in the library. The University of Illinois Library has a recent post on gaming in the undergraduate library. Among the helpful links is a link to the Gaming Collection page that has links to a gaming research guide, gaming literature, and donate games to the library (among others.)
- Author: jwa
- Published: Nov 26th, 2007
- Category: Library 2.0, Library Trends, Theological Libraries, bibliographic resources, gaming theory
- Comments: 2
Of course, the problem with ego-centric networks lies in the fact network-reestablishment is the main chore. Talk to individuals joining Facebook today – what are they doing? They’re using inbox importers and searching to find their friends/ex-classmates/etc. It’s a game, it’s fun for a bit, but then (say it with me readers) “What’s next?” Yes, the what’s next moment occurs. This is not to say the network becomes useless: no, it’s very useful rolodex, and the newsfeeds introduce concepts of peripheral participation (or social surveillance), but the game is in essence over.
One of the big problems I see in trying to make the Library more “game-like” (see my earlier post) is sustaining interest, or avoiding the “what’s next” problem. Admittedly, this is a challenge not just for libraries, but for any game designer.
Amy Jo Kim, Creative Director of ShuffleBrain posted notes over at we-make-money-not-art about the “Putting the Fun in Functional: Applying Game Design to Mobile Services” session at last year’s Emerging Technology Conference in which she discusses five game mechanics that make the interactive experience more addictive:
- Collecting: amassing and showing your stuff
- Earning points: related but more sophisticated, itsâ€™ a very simple way to keep the interest alive.
- Feedback but you have to use it creatively.
- Exchanges are structured social interactions. They are the basic, primal form of social interaction. Social exchange can be very explicit or implicit (i.e. emergent)
- Customization increases investment in the experience.
(Amy provides helpful examples of these five mechanics.)
One of the findings from the University of Rochester Study was that undergraduates want to be able to Customize the library’s web site to fit their own needs and preferences. Essentially they were describing a portal interface that allows one to Customize content in much the same way one is able to do with Google or Yahoo. While it would take a bit of effort, this could be accomplished in most libraries. UofR also discovered that students wanted to “customize” the physical library. Students wanted to move furniture, for example, to suit their needs. Students also defined some areas in the library as quiet areas and others as more collaborative areas in which a conversation and collaboration were more common. The difficult part of allowing customization of physical space, however, is that it is shared space. One can’t guarantee that it would remain the same for the next time the student came to study.
Collecting seems more difficult for me to imagine incorporating into the Library player’s experience. Amy talks about collecting friends in MySpace or Facebook, or baseball cards, or any type of collectible in the physical world. While it is a game, we want the game to focus on information, not simply gimics. One might, however, imagine a student collecting citations, even better annotated citations. Bragging rights go to those with the most citations.
And of course Points might be awarded based, at least in part, on the number of annotated citations one accumulates. One might also receive Points by means of a reputation system, a little like E-bay or Amazon. Points would be awarded not just on quantity, but quality.
Contributing these annotated citations to the social network that might grow up around a Library would be a type of social Exchange. A Library might implement a tagging or commenting facility directly into the online catalog. Penn Tags is an interesting model. Penn has implemented a tagging system for the opac that allows library users to add their own tags. (http://tags.library.upenn.edu/) “If you want to create interesting social dynamics you have to allow users to exchange gifts. Itâ€™s a very powerful social exchange.” (Amy Jo Kim)
Designing the Library game to encourage addictive library use is an interesting challenge, very focused on the user experience. Focusing on game mechanics seems like a helpful way to approach the challenge.
- Author: jwa
- Published: Nov 23rd, 2007
- Category: Library 2.0, Library Trends, Theological Libraries, gaming theory, social construction of knowlege
- Comments: 3
After the MIT Communications Forum on “gaming and civic engagement” a few weeks ago, I mused about the possibility of viewing the library as a game. Ian Bogost commented that one of the things he finds most fascinating about games is that they force the player to live in a world whose rules are constructed by someone else (see my previous posts). Librarians construct the rules (policies, procedures, physical arrangement of materials and furnishing, subject headings, indexing, etc.) and require players (those who use our libraries) to function within the world we construct to obtain the information they seek to complete their tasks. I still find this an interesting way to look at the Library. The recent University of Rochester Undergraduate Research Project suggested that students may already be interacting with the Library like a game.
Nancy Fried Foster observed about the trend toward a self-service model that we see in most young adults:
It is tempting to relate this trend to lack of time, but I think it resembles a pattern of information seeking that is evident in studentsâ€™ recreational activitiesâ€”gaming, for exampleâ€”when time is not an issue. Video and computer games come with little by way of directions. Manuals are available but not all gamers want or use them. When a gamer gets stuck in a game, s/he commonly runs through a variety of information-seeking activities, starting with experimentation with the game itself (Gee 2003). If this fails, the gamer may seek an online site for the particular game to see whether there are any â€œtipsâ€ or â€œtricksâ€ that solve the problem. The point is that the parsimony of the gamersâ€™ information seeking is not related to time pressure. It is related to a view of life in which instrumentality trumps relationship.
So self-service is the preeminent model and strategy of the information-seeking student. But when the student cannot satisfy his/her own needs and turns to real-life service providers, what happens? In their drawings of ideal library spaces, students sometimes group librarians with technical support staff and baristas at service desks (see Chapter 4). When they do not differentiate between different kinds of service providers, it is in part because they do not know the service providers, having experienced few person-to-person service relationships. If they have a need, they want it filled. If they want a need filled, they want to go to a font of all sorts of service, a sort of universal service point, a physical Google. In other words, they want Mommy.
But â€œMommyâ€ is not the same as a real studentâ€™s real mother, a person with whom s/he has a complex and ever-changing, ever maturing relationship. When I speak of the Mommy Model of Service, I refer to a Mommy who is the provider of everything to the infant. (p75-76)
If we were to imagine making the Library more game-like, perhaps we might:
- Make the Library’s Web site a place to go for Tips and Tricks to be used when the player gets stuck.
- Think about creating different “levels” in the Library that can be entered when one has found the right tool or accumulated the right number of points to proceed.
- Ensure that guides and wisdom figures (avatar-like or not) become visible to the players periodically, giving the player the visual queues necessary to them identify them as safe to approach.
- Provide an easy way to “save the game.”
- Develop and support remote, virtual and on-site playing areas.
- Develop and support multi-user as well as single-user playing modes.
- Develop and support interactive interfaces for players who play the Library remotely, virtually, as well as physically in the Library.
Foster, Nancy Fried, and Susan Gibbons. 2007. Studying students the Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries. http://www.acrl.org/ala/acrl/acrlpubs/downloadables/Foster-Gibbons_cmpd.pdf.