Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Improving: the new me resolution

After 3 days and 2 nights of living in the sick bay (a.k.a. the pull out bed in the couch), I'm starting to feel better. Appetite is back and so is some of my energy. I'm currently laundering and cleaning any items that I may have "infected". My wife does not want a repeat of the nagging cold she had that turned into a massive ear infection.

This has been a reminder of some of the words I posted before going on holiday and some of the words from Michael. We really do need to slow down sometimes. While are minds are capable of so much, our bodies can lag and sometimes we just need to rest.

Common sense? Yes, for those that have it. But we all know how easy it is to let ourselves get caught up in things and then slip into some form of illness or injury. Some of us this plagues more than others (it's 12:45PM and I just remembered to eat breakfast...)

I've taken quite an interest in many health related things; because of what I've experienced in the past, as well as my acknowledgement that aging requires you to treat yourself differently (no more skateboarding for me...). No, I'm not that old, but it doesn't stop me from thinking about my health and my future.

So I encourage everyone to step back and take a break. No, you don't have to take a week off with a flu/viral infection (better for you if you can avoid it!), but, try to find something you can do everyday to improve your wellness. Be it a small change to your diet, increased exercise routine (or starting one for that matter), or picking a time to just relax and do "mundane" things to let you mind unwind (unwinding the mind has a big effect on your ability to sleep at night...).

I'm not suggesting any New Year's Resolutions, because lets face it, those have just become a cliche. Everyone knows if you make a New Year's resolution you won't keep it.

Think of this as a new me resolution. A promise you make to yourself and/or those that love you, that you will do something every week/month to improve your wellness, be it physical or mental.

If you could do something everyday to feel better, why wouldn't you want to?

My tip for the day: Relax the eyes.
Close your eyes. Take in a deep breath and then tense every muscle in your body (yes. like you're straining on the toilet). Release your muscles while you exhale.
Do this a few times on every break you take. Especially if you stare at the computer screen.
[Kudos to the Nov 2005 Issue of Men's Health magazine for this one]

**Disclaimer: I am not a health professional. I'm telling you something I read in a magazine column that was authored by a health professional. I am not responsible if you hurt yourself doing this. You are responsible for you. If something hurts when you try this, then it is not a good idea to keep doing it and you should see your health professional to speak about it.

***Isn't it sad that I feel I have to post something like the above? But really people, use what common sense you have. Seriously.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Five days offline and what do I get for Xmas?

The flu! Or some derivative of it according to my doc. He suggested 2-3 more days of staying at home and gave me some "concoction" to help with the soreness in my throat.

So thank you whoever it was that passed me this great virus!

Looks like I'll see everyone sometime after the new year...let's hope this only lasts another day or two.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Michael Says: Take a break!

Michael made a post in January 2005, that he resurrected in TTW favorites, that really hits home with me.

"The Balanced Librarian" touches on something I've been struggling with lately. Since Internet Librarian I have been pushing myself at a frantic pace to come up with ideas, programs, projects, and anything I think that could turn into something for our members.

Since then I've started two blogs, a gaming project, enhanced our web services internally, and am getting ready to launch a new web service early in the new year. Not to mention all the new contacts and friends I've made. Of course, my wife and I are expecting our first child in March.

In a given day I have more thoughts that I forget than ones I remember to write down, let alone ones that become a tangible idea or prototype. That has been driving me crazy. At least 3 times now in the past 2 months I have stayed up until 3 or 4 in the morning working on something.

Just the other night it happened again, I was up until 230AM, for no reason other than I couldn't stop working on the program I was working on.

Normally when this used to happen to me, it was a hobby related thing and it would pass. But this is my job. For me, the lines between work and fun have been blurred. The work I do is fun to me, it's challenging, and I can't just stop.

Starting tomorrow (friday dec 22nd) at 5PM, when I leave work, I will not be on the Internet. I am not going to write any more code, I'm not going to make little changes to any projects I am working on. I'm going to see my family, spend time with my wife, and play Nintendo.

I will be back online Tuesday at 8AM when I come back to work. And you can expect nothing but the frantic development pace I've been on since late October.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Carnival of the Infosciences #18

I'll blame it on the holidays, but today's carnival tour will be a little short. It seems that many of our infoscience bloggers are not at their computers. Thanks to those who answered my plea and got entries to me late Friday.

Before we enter the carnival I have one service announcement: Bloglines users will be lost today while Bloglines moves datacenters. For most of the day the site will be up, but they will stop updating later today and hopefully tomorrow Bloglines users the world over will wake up to a faster, more responsive Bloglines (though I thought it was doing pretty well for the most part).

Today we start off with one of my favorite topics: Library 2.0. John Blyberg posts his thoughts on the road ahead; how we can reach library 2.0. Just a few days later Michael Stephens and Michael Casey had an IM conversation about where to begin.

Moving right along Laura Blalock reveals a dark secret. She doesn't use tags. Not even on her own content. But worry not my fellow geeks. There is method to her madness. If not method, at least sound reasoning. Hear her out before you decide to unsubscribe to her blog!

If you're sad about Bloglines outage today then you'll have time to try out something the 'Brary Web Diva has been using: Feedblitz. Kelli tells us why she thinks Feedblitz is interesting and a few things she found surprising when learning how people subscribe to her feeds.

The week in controversy: Do conference organizers need to rethink how they treat invited speakers? The Shifted Librarian seems to think so. Who could truly disagree with her plight? Conferences do cost money, but being an invited speaker, you would think that conference fees could be waived at least for the day.

While browsing around carnival hosts of the past I found this from the Lethal Librarian. Seems the Non-Female Librarians Association has got itself a little (unwanted) attention. While I can sympathize with their plight (I am the only male in my office today), one must tread carefully. I'm not much of an association man, but I can't say that I have not noticed I am often outnumbered in this profession. Though my age, more than anything, has really determined how people view me (Oh yeah, I'm the youngest full-time staffer as well). Which is ok by me, I do mostly enjoy change and I love to shake things up :)

Hopefully none of this scares away Joy. But after reading about what she has done to land a library job, I'm not sure she'll turn around and run just yet.

As we exit, I truly wish you all have a wonderful holiday season. Do what you enjoy with the people you like to be with!

While you're taking time off, be thinking of what you can send to Joy for the Carnival of the Infosciences #19. She'll need your entries by January 8th. That's plenty of time to come up with something to ring in the New Year, carnival style.

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Need submissions for: Carnival of the Infosciences #18!

Hello dedicated readers (all 10 of you anyway ;) )- I need entries for the next Carnival of the Infosciences which I'm hosting on MONDAY DEC 19th!

For information on how to submit an entry read this. Following those guidelines, e-mail me, with:

  • The title of your entry.
  • The URI (address) of your entry.
  • A description or summary of the entry.
  • Your name or other moniker by which you wish to be referenced.
So far I have one entry submitted, and one that I found and will be including. So help a blogger out and send me some entries so we can make the next carnival a real show.

Send me your entries by 6PM Eastern on Sunday Dec 18th (my wedding anniversary!).

It's the last one before the Christmas & New Year's break so let's make this one help jump start us into 2006!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Small victory...a personal note

Probably..this isn't the place to post this given the intent of this blog, however, it is my blog so I guess I can post whatever I feel like.

Some of you may know this, many don't but, five years ago I was the recipient of stem cell transplant, during my second round with hodgkins disease. Fortunately, I was able to donate the stem cells to myself, not requiring another donor. I was told a lot of things, 50-70% cure rate, no chance of having children naturally, blah blah blah. Most of it went in one ear and out the other.

Six months ago I saw my doctor, the usual, doing fine, blood's fine, nothing weird going on. That was just days before we found out my wife was pregnant. We knew a few months earlier that having children was no longer going to require us looking into adoption or other means, but we didn't say anything to my doctor.

Until today. When my oncologist walked through the door, we must have looked like two kids with our hands in the cookie jar, she stopped, looked at both of us and said: "What? What's wrong?" I couldn't help but grin from ear to ear and then I asked Rachel to stand up, and the words I heard next won't leave me anytime soon.

"Is she, wait, she', HOW DID YOU DO THAT??"

That's right. My oncologist asked how we managed to get my wife pregnant. Sparing her the birds and bees story I reassured her, to her disbelief, that it is in fact our baby and things happened natuarlly. She was floored.

In her ten or more years in oncology, I am her first male patient to have fully recovered in every way from a stem-cell transplant. She has one female patient that, under similar circumstances, recovered fully as well.

So, how good do I feel today (did I mention I'm off all day too)? And in another 30 minutes, I get to see our darling daughter again!

For some of the folks at LCLS this story will hit kinda close to home, because it was our former director Susan Lucco who told me to take as much time as I needed and kept a job waiting for me when I was ready to come back to work.

Things do work out, sometimes in ways we'd never expect.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Using Firefox? Add an LCLS Web catalog title search to your Firefox Search bar

I decided I wanted to know how this worked, so today I came up with this:

I created one for LCLS and for MLS (because it was so easy).
This will let you do a title search right from the Firefox search toolbar, instead of having to load the catalog, and do it there. I will be posting this to our catalog to invite patrons to try it out if they are using Firefox.

If you're not using Firefox, check it out. It's a great browser. One of the few browsers that has really changed how I use the web. (Can you say Tabs? I knew you could!)

Calling for submission(s)

On Monday, December 19th I will be hosting: Carnival of the Infosciences #18. So what does that mean!? I need submissions. If you read a great post on one of your favorite infoscience blogs this week, send it my way!

I won't really have a "theme" per se, so whatever you find to be interesting just email me, or post in the comments.

To get an idea of what the carnival will look like, check out: The Krafty Librarian who is hosting this week's Carnival of the Infosciences #17

So check it out and e-mail me (chrisd at lcls dot org) or leave a comment!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Finally had some fun with fd's Flickr Toys

Made myself a trading card. These are great!

Chris' trading card

Check out the rest in the Librarian Trading Card Pool on Flickr.

Want to make a card? Check out fd's Flickr Toys

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Almost forgot...Videos!!!!!!

I took a few videos on my Canon A70 camera.

Eli commentating a Mario Kart tournament match - .AVI 12.3MB, 49sec
DDR - Jenny and Jack - .AVI 11.6MB, 46sec
DDR - Eli and Chris K - .AVI 20.2MB, 1min 10sec
DDR - Jenny and Chad - .AVI 27.3MB, 1min 53sec (battle of the Bloggers! Hidden Peanuts vs The Shifted Librarian)

If anyone wants to mirror these, let me know!

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I'm back home...collecting my thoughts

What a conference. If you weren't there, you really missed something inspiring. But, there is hope...thanks to Blogger Alley, you can read not only notes, but thoughts on what was said and done at the conference.

Who made up "Blogger Alley"? These are the people that made themselves known:
(and sat in the back corner together ;) )

Aaron: Walking Paper
Beth: Game On: Games in Libraries
Chad: Hidden Peanuts
Jenny: The Shifted Librarian
Kelly: Library web Diva
Michael TTW
Me Clam Chowder

The symposium also made it into ALA TechSource:

And you can check Technorati: GaminginLibraries2005
For pics...Flickr of course!

I met a lot of great people, the bloggers listed above weren't the only ones.

I can see a lot of great ideas and collaborative projects coming from this. My thanks to all the speakers who shared their ideas and especially to Eli. Eli has shared his work at Ann Arbor and given us all a lot to think about. I know his colleague John blogs...but maybe one day Eli would consider it! Michael stated..A big, big, big thanks to Jenny. Jenny has the vision to put this kind of stuff togehter. She's not only an asset to MLS, but to Illinois libraries and systems, and to the greater library community. So thanks Jenny! I am definately looking forward to the next one.

Read on...I'll post more of my thoughts as soon as I get caught up and have more time to think on it. Also, look forward to seeing some new ideas worked into my Gaming @ Your Library program. The response by LCLS members has been better than I thought it would.

As it was said at the conference, having gaming in your library is not an "if". It's a "when".

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Gaming in Libraries: “What Libraries Can Do for Gamers Other than Programming” – Beth Gallaway, Northwest MA Regional Library System

“What Libraries Can Do for Gamers Other than Programming” – Beth Gallaway, Northwest MA Regional Library System

Beth is our DDR queen. She took top honors in Monday night’s DDR tournament run by Eli.

Beth gave a shout out to Blogger Alley

Thanks Beth!

Seven Things You Can Do Tomorrow – To make your library more welcoming to gamers

  1. Use games to do readers advisory
  2. Be a strategy guide
  3. Embrace your inner technogeek
  4. Be flexible
  5. Plan change
  6. Immerse yourself in pop culture…especially videogame culture
  7. Try some games!

See Beth’s blog @

Games as reader’s advisory:

Instead of:
-What authors do you like to read?
-What are the last 3 books you read?
-What did you like about them?

-What movies do you like?
-What TV shows do you watch?
-What games do you play?

Research the games and find what is appealing about the games. That will help you to make recommendations.

Beth has posted a list of suggested author based on what games they liked. She picked MMORPGs first since those are some of her favorite.

Historical simulations – On screen now is a list of “historical simulation games” and types of books that may interest players of those games.

Sports games – what kind of books would players of these like?

Strategy & Puzzle games – what kind of books would players of these like?

First Person Shooters (FPS) – what kind of books would players of these like?
Simulations (things like the Sims) – what kind of books would players of these like?

Japanese/Manga tie-in – Tie in games with popular Japanese Manga/Anime titles.

Gaming Books for Librarians:
John Beck & Mitchell Wade – “Got Game?”

James Gee – “What Video Games Have to Teach us About Learning and Literacy”

Neil Howe – “Millenials Rising: The Next Great Generation”

Henry Jenkins III & Justine Cassell – “From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games”
John Katz – “Geeks: “

Be a strategy guide:
-Don’t be a level boss – in the game world there is usually a “boss” you have to beat. Be a coach or mentor
-Show, don’t tell
-Make it interactive
-Get them started
-Have a free-for-all
-Ask for a demo of expertise – find out what your teens know and may be able to help you with. Get them involved!
-Be open minded – “non-judgemental”. Don’t make judgments about what they play.

Embrace your inner technology geek
-Upgrade – Keep up! If you can’t afford it, write a grant
-Get a screen name – Use IM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is where they are! And of course…
it’s free.
-You can’t break it
-Pilot projects
-Read tech news

Try it! This generation does not expect perfection. It’s “cool” if there is something new every week.

Be Flexible
-Change the space
-Flexible furnishings – has more than one use. “Stool, or Tray?” Gamers like to be able to control their environment. Give them options!
-Say yes. “If it starts to feel good saying no…that’s when its time to get out of the public library business.”
-Go meta. Gamers can see a wide perspective. They are attuned to details and can see a wider perspective.
-Customize. Offer different formats, different software, RSS feeds for your blog…(YES RSS, I will not quit talking about it!)

Plan Change
Have a long-range plan; be willing to change it!
-Sticky content – frequently updated, see what’s new.
-Accept Change

Immerse yourself in pop culture
-Know what’s hot/what’s not
-Pop goes the library
-Know about crossovers – Movies/music/games – find out what’s coming out and what related items are available.

…Especially video game culture
-Watch Red vs Blue (
-Read Penny Arcade(
-View PBS’s Culture Shock You Decide: Video Games
-Skim gaming magazines
-Link to gaming websites
-Pay attention to gaming! Watch the kiosks at Wal-Mart, etc. See what people are playing!
-Join the LibGaming Google Group
-Read the blog:

What services from game can libraries adopt?
-24/7 access
-Free services – chat, music, articles, movies, games
-Home delivery/online content delivery
-Social bookmarking or tagging – within the library catalog (I really really want this.)
-Nonjudgement from librarians
-Avatars / immersive library tutorials
-Customizable / modifiable
-Food – we eat at our computers!
-Programs of interest to gamers (gaming fests, readers advisory/gaming tie-ins, etc)

Ok……my fingers are tired..I think this is a wrap up. Beth is finishing up what I think was a great wrap up session. Check the other blogger’s I’ve referenced and make sure you check out the pictures on Flickr:

I’ll be back tonight and at work tomorrow with a lot to talk about!

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Supporting a Culture: Gaming at the Library – Matt Gullet and Kelly Czarnecki, Bloomington Public Library

The second to last session of the 2 day Gaming in Libraries Symposium. As I post this, they are wrapping up with questions on this session.

Supporting a Culture: Gaming at the Library – Matt Gullet and Kelly Czarnecki, Bloomington Public Library

Purposeful programming
What do teens represent in the life-cycle of a library patron?
Builds on the holistic approach to serving lifelong learning
Fits into the overall strategy of technology programming
Maintains purpose space & value in the minds of our public

A key is to make these things a “team effort”. Get people on board and supportive of the program.

Approach asking for resources with confidence. Don’t feel like you have to beg your way into getting prizes/equipment/etc.

Video: Matt is showing a promo video for the game fests. Not only do they use PC games, but they have consoles and regular board games as well.

The PC games they use are Battlefield 1942 and Sims 2. They also are using DDR (PS2) and Mario Kart (Gamecube). For Battlefield they can turn down some of the options to make it less graphic.

Bloomington does theirs quarterly.

How did the GameFests progress?
Funding – Bloomington was awarded some small grants as a technology center in IL
Administrative support
Lessons Learned

These things can impact kids and parents and create a good feeling for the library.

Ok I had a few interruptions, so I stopped about halfway through here. Getting back to it.

Creating a culture, ecology, or Community? … @ the Library.
Combining events – Anime / DDR night. Kelly has held some Anime / DDR nights at BPL.

BPL is a Project Next Generation site. This helps fund the after school computer club.
BPL is using a game-creating curriculum from The Learning Community Group’s CyberSchool. This curriculum is used with the computer club.

Quick notes – our Internet has still been spotty. And for some reason, there is now an obnoxious hum in the speakers, so it’s been kind of a pain to listen to. We thought it was Eli’s amp for DDR, but nope. Not sure what’s doing it, and neither is the A/V guy here.

Overall, this has been an awesome two days. We still have one speaker left to go. After a day or two, I will post my overall thoughts on what I saw and did here.

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Gaming in Libraries: Eli Neiburger, Ann Arbor District Library – “Implementing Gaming Applications in Libraries”

Ok. If you read nothing else of my notes on this. Read these. Read all the notes on Eli's presentation. AADL is doing this right and they are doing it BIG. The important point is that they started small and it took off.

Eli Neiburger, Ann Arbor District Library – “Implementing Gaming Applications in Libraries”

Eli, is the man when it comes to gaming in libraries. I got to spend a lot of time talking to Eli last night during the tournaments and at dinner. He is a very cool guy and is willing to share what has worked and has not worked for AADL.

His presentation is the true application of what we have been talking about since yesterday.

Why Videogames?
$11 Billion/year business
Fundamental Component of the “Modern Media Appetite”
A new format libraries should not ignore
Boys! 95% of teens boys play videogames.

To circ, or What?
MARC Records
Intense Competition (against video game rental services)
Kiosks and “The Bun” – Gaming kiosks in libraries will have “rules” vs. kiosks at other places where there are no rules.
Quote of the day!!
“If you have to tell your board you want to do gaming, then they are micromanaging you. You should be able to tell your board you are doing gaming. Its just another format for a library program.” –Eli
Establish a brand
Brand your gaming events separately. Call it something different, so you can label it and brand it.

AADL has tournaments:
Super Smash / Double dash
Dance Dance Revolution
Kids’ Kart
Adult Kart and Super Smash

You can’t try one program and give up if attendance is low. Just keep doing it each month, you can use the same program over and over, but as it gains popularity it will draw more and more people.

One parent commented during last season’s DDR tournament: “Did you know this is the first time all summer he has been out of bed before 11?”
(Imagine drawing kids to your library like that.)

AADL – has not had any complaints from parents about these events.

Their tournaments have age brackets, ex. Grades 1-5 have a Mario Kart tournament.

Libraries have lost the 20 something generation. We need to work on targeting their kids and get them into the library. To change their view of libraries and services they offer.

”If you do not offer them something of value now, you will be irrelevant to them for the rest of their lives”

Libraries must stay relevant. It is important to draw them to the library during their formative years to leave that impression on them about the library.

Gaming events can be a core service, just like story-times.

Once you buy all the equipment, you can reproduce events over and over at a low cost.

“There’s no bottom line for us (libraries). All you have to do is not spend more than you get.” –Eli

Why Mario Kart?
Consoles have an advantage over PC games because the set up is much easier. Usually there is no configuration of IP’s, servers, etc. Also, if you do PC games, especially MMORPGs, you are not adding any social dimension to the game. Those games are social.

Consoles, however, the social dimension comes from playing the game with more people than they could at home. (Home they could have up to 4, but with a network you can link up to 16 consoles [if you have the resources]).

Also with PCs, many games have very high requirements for the processor, memory, etc. So it makes it very hard to play the latest games.

Ideas: Collaborative story events where people come in and tell stories about their adventures in MMORPGs.

Why Nintendo? Their games are some of the “best on the market” for all ages. They are competitive, and fun.
(Using the ESRB ratings to choose age appropriate games)

Why these games?
Game Cube – 3 games use LAN mode, best one is Mario Kart, plays up to 8 players
Super Smash Brothers – no multiplayer, but very easy to do tournaments
Both these have high replay value
Dance Dance Revolution – about 50/50 boys & girls

Super Smash / Double Dash
6 month season
6-hour tournaments
Single Player and Team Events
Sur-Prize Round (A different game each time)
$70, $50, $30 giftcards
Clan Play (organized teams) and Leaderboards
Championship Prizes: PSP, iPod, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Gameboy Advanced

Competitive, Collaborative, and Creative.

Consider setting up the equipment once, and doing a weekend worth of events.
(Check out their blog @
AADL uses the website and blog to keep kids interested in the “off season”. The kids can sign up and leave comments.

They also use it to show the leaderboards.

(By tying all this together, the kids get a sense that they are a part of something bigger. It becomes a part of their life and something they look forward to)

Running a Tournament
Open Play
Build Brackets
Qualification Rounds
Keep Score
Serve Food & Drink (if you do DDR, have water!)
Elimination Rounds
Finals and Prizes
Minimum 2 staff, scorekeeper & m.c.

Above and Beyond
(add these to the event to make it even more valuable to the players)
Play-by-play and color commentary (they choose contestants to provide commentary to the events. How cool is that?)
Project a cube, a camera view, or both (a spare console that you can use to show a view of the game)
Televise (or webcast) it Live! ( I’m totally sick. They broadcast their tournaments, LIVE, to cable TV)
Make it a season
Track statistics
Open Play and tournament weekends.

Doing it on the Cheap
Find geeks to help and get teens involved
Have attendees bring their own equipment
Partner with Schools and Nonprofits
Free & Low-cost promotion (post DDR tournaments to places like, etc)
Get several events out of a setup

Selling it to the Brass
Popular with parents
Make your library a focus of their interests
Get boys in the door
Guaranteed to induce gasps (When was the last time you told middle schoolers dropped their jaws when you told them about a library program?)
Promote core services to a tough audience (not just on their own, but by promoting the gaming events, they will find out about the other services you offer)
Games are not all “prostitutes and gunplay”
They’re going to be taxpayers someday
Not just for teens
(Tip turn off lights! Kids don’t want to be reminded of school, make it dark like a basement)

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Day 2 - George Needham, OCLC, Keynote @ Gaming in Libraries

Day 2 – George Needham, OCLC

“What Can Librarians Learn from Gamers?”
(If you have seen the pictures, then you’ll know that George was no stranger to DDR last night, if not, check them out:

“How gamers can show librarians a new way of developing and sharing knowledge”.

OCLC’s 2003 Environmental Scan: Pattern Recognition
Trends: Self-service, disaggregation (the web makes it easy to break up information and get what you want), collaboration
Gamers show all three of these trends in action. Gamers represent a change in the way people use the net and access information.

How environmental factors shape life:
Ex. George’s grandfather, Joe Duffy. George is listing all the historical events that happened during his grandfather’s lifetime. We are shaped by the world we live in. Joe Duffy, was shaped by the events that occurred during his lifetime.

First Video Game (via Wikipedia): “Tennis for Two” (1958)
First Computer Game: “Spacewar” (1962)
First Home Video Game: “Pong” (1975)
Nintendo Console Gaming: Japan, 1983, USA 1985; Gameboy 1989
First Multiplayer Online Game: “Air Warrior” (1987)

How many gamers are there?
According to Michael Tchong:
83,000,000 gamers --- everything from online backgammon to Battleground 2.
$11.2 billion/year industry
80% of households with children
Almost half of college-age online gamers are women

What makes gamers special?
They think and process information differently
… (missed something)
… (phone call)

He’s going over some of the information from John Beck’s book on gamers and how gaming has shaped the way they think.

A study by Dr. James Rosser Jr., did a study that showed that gaming surgeons performed better than surgeons that did not play games. Dr. Rosser is a 50 year-old surgeon and gamer.

Gamers want to win, they want to compete. But when they are done, they collaborate on how the game could be better. In online games, veterans often help “newbies” (aka n00bs). Even though, those newbies will eventually be their competitors.

What should librarians learn from this?
Rethink how we offer services
-Provide multiple paths to the same information (you know like, RSS)
-Many formats (like RSS)
-Consider the non-print learners (online tutorials, gamers are very familiar with these)
-The librarian and “information priest” is “as dead as Elvis”
-What can the user contribute? (Can you say Wiki? If not, you need to be thinking about it.)

(George is discussing someone who asked: “Why not do a library mashup?” For example when the new Harry Potter movie comes out, you could display the Book, the Movie, the coloring books, the VIDEO GAMES, etc. Promote the whole package)

Rethink where we offer services
-Physical layout
-Online services are “journeys” not “destinations”
-24/7/365 is barely enough

Bottom line...if we’re not where the users are, they are not using us.

Rethink privacy in this new context
We need to use the data we get from our patrons to better design and target our services.
What about using circ data to buy the 20% of materials that are really circulating? What about leverging paypal to let people buy the library materials they want to see?

What should librarians learn? (cont’d)
Short cuts, not training. Gamers like shortcuts; they want to know how to get to the end and fast.
Risk-taking and trial-and-error are OK. We have to try things; some things will work, some will not. But we should try.
Expertise is more important than titles or credentials. Specialize in what you have expertise in.

Can LIS learn from gaming academic programs?
You must appeal to the different learning styles. Gaming is a learning style. It is just different than the traditional text based style.

How do we apply this?
Play! Try the games, “get behind the console…get on the dance pad”
Stock the cheat books (aka Strategy Guides) (further: post cheats or links to hints on your website!)
Offer services using IM, use text messaging
Throw a LAN party (or have me come out and run a Gaming @ Your Library program! [if you’re an LCLS member])
Bring “Digital Natives” into your planning process (if you have interested teens, bring them into the planning, they will be using the service/attending the event, so include them!)
Respect non-print learning

Nothing is built on stone;
All is built on sand,
But we must build
As if the sand were stone.

Jorge Luis Borges

OCLC report: Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources (

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Monday, December 05, 2005


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"The Gaming Generation and Libraries: Intersections" -Constance Steinkuehler

Even more Gaming, Learning, and Libraries coverage

Constance Steinkuehler – “The Gaming Generation and Libraries: Intersections”
U of Wisconsin
Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG)

What is an MMOG?
Highly graphical 2d/3d
Online/social interaction
Persistent virtual worlds
Real-time, perpetually accessible
Loosely structured, open-ended
Players free to do as they please
“Escapist fantasy” yet emergent “social realism”(Kolbert, 2001)

Discussion: Lineage II
MMOGs feature totally immersive environments where players can do whatever they wish (in most cases).

Constance previewed a video of a massive battle she and her clan were part of that involved seizing a castle. Such things can take weeks to plan, and becomes more than just playing a game.

There are millions of people playing these games.

MMOGs have created their own market places. Example: On ebay people are selling items they have earned in game. Because of this, you end up with an exchange rate (ex. US Dollars to game currency).

Intellectually Significant

Collaborative problem solving – ex. Group hunts. Going out to hunt a “Boss” monster to defeat it. I.e. Cross-functional teams – take on a project: planning to follow-up, individuals have functional roles, self-managed, semi-permanent, group goals w/individual accountability. This seems to mirror “fast capitalism”, less of the pyramid structure and more flat. You end up with leaders and followers.

The literacy scare

Books such as: “The collapse of literacy and the rise of violence in the electronic age”
“Video games hurt brain development…”
“Video games…displacing print media…”


In-game talk: players can interact through the text-written talk.
Because of so much going on in the game, gamers use shorthand (really creating their own language) to communicate with text.
“orally” delivered narratives
in-game letters
Player generated content becomes more important (and accurate) than the official contents of the game. Fan sites, clan sites (photo albums, forums), personal game blogs, and:

Fan Fiction
Game fans just begin to generate fiction based on the game. They do not see it as writing or a separate activity, but a natural part of their game play.

Games are not replacing print media. They are about literacy activities.
“sure, but quality matters”

Some MMOG literacy practices exceed national reading, writing, & technology standards.

Back to the literacy scare
Fear of technology
Fear of youth culture
Fear of what, not whether (or how well)

Games as an intellectually rich environment

Systems of reciprocal apprenticeship
Features of apprenticeship (she listed many, but I’m just putting a few here)
-Join participation
-Valued / routine activity
-As you go forward the learner takes more control of the activity
-Apprenticed into a particular view of the world (the teachers culture)

Players can feel they can be something they aren’t because in real life they see their looks/appearance as a barrier to being a leader.

Ex. MadamSin – in real life she is an illegal immigrant welder. In the online world, she was a powerful leader.

-decentralized authority (Beck & Wade)
socio-technical skills over status
reciprocal apprentice ship

Participatory culture
collective intelligence (Levy)
Awareness of different ‘games’
Multitasking across multiple “attention spaces” (Lemke)
At ease with dynamic & evolving knowledge
Primary of the subjective
McLuhan: “searching not for goals but for roles, a striving for an identity that eludes.”

Video games are a push technology.
Not just hardware, but norms (society/culture) as well.

Why should you care?

Games are intellectually rich, collaborative problem solving, literacy practices, and enculturation into practices and perspectives (shift toward participatory consumption).

Mods: Modifying a game, creating your own content

Social mods: unintended changes in the rules of the game. Ex. Instead of sieging castles, players (even enemies) band together to fight (in game) a group or people that are not playing the game as it was meant to be.

Technical mods: Mods that alter the interface of the game.

For some modders the game becomes about modding. They no longer play, but spend their time making mods for the game.

MMOGs are functioning as third places. A new space for people to build social networks. A place to build social capital.

Games * Learning * Society
June 15-16, 2006 Madison, WI

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"The Gaming Landscape" -Steve Jones

More Gaming, Learning, and Libraries coverage

“The Gaming Landscape”
Steve Jones – UI @ Chicago- Senior Research Fellow, Pew Internet & American Life Project

The Pew survey on gaming
market research on gaming tends to focus on game adoption and revenue
social science research tends to focus on social problem areas, such as addition, social isolation, violence

Three categories of games (not mutually exclusive):
Video games (consoles + tv sets, e.g. xbox, ps2, gamecube)
Computer games (e.g., pc only)
Online games (require an internet connection, multiplayer)

If you want to track gaming activity in the library – how do you break it down?
What we know:
70% of students surveyed reported playing video, computer, or online games at least “once in a while.”
65% reported being “regular” or “occasional” game players
100% reported to have played a video, computer, or online game.
27% said they don’t play games at all:
--20% “lack of interest”
--13% “waste of time”

2% cited a lack of electronic gaming resources
The resources for gaming are there
.5% cited unfamiliarity with games
More women than men reported playing computer and online games
60%women / 40% men
Same number of men and women reported playing video games
Gaming was ubiquitos among races

Computer games hold a slight edge in popularity
Computer games also have an edge over video games in time used
Daily, twice as many college students play online or a computer game vs a video game.

Nearly have reported going online just to play or download games.

69% were exposed to video games in Elementary School, 28% exposted to computer games in elementary school, 6% exposed to online games in Elementary school.

How do people decide what type of games they will play?
Deliberate decisions about the setting within which the activities take place.
Ex. Home and bored – play a video game (if you have the equipment).
Ex. Working on a paper – maybe I’ll logon and see whats going on in an online game
Ex. Waiting for someone – maybe I’ll take out my PDA/phone and play the game while I wait

When do they play?
41% after 9PM
8% before noon

31% - Parent’s house
27% - Friend’s house
23% - Dorm room
2% - Library

Does it impact their academic lives?
66% said no influence

48% said it kept them from studying “some” or “a lot”

Gamers’ reported hours studying per week match that of other college students (about 7hrs per week)

Games for learning?
69% said they never reported having exposure to video, computer, or Internet gaming in the classroom (31% have been exposed)
32% admitted playing games that were not part of the class, during class.

What do they want?
Realistic graphics, excitement, interactivity

Racing, role playing/adventure, arcade
Card games were the predominant interest of computer and online games (e.g., solitaire)
(That’s an interesting finding)

Integration into other activities. Gaming is not just an activity unto itself. (multitasking)
-Play while visiting friends or IM’ing, as a distraction from doing other work, when “bored” regardless of setting.

Gaming does not seem to be a “pure behavior”, that is, it’s not the only thing they will be doing.

(Just before I left for the airport, my wife and I were “killing” time by playing Star Wars Battlefront 2. Even when her mom got there to go with us, we still finished the game before we left).


Younger are more likely to play games.

As the age of faculty goes up, likelihood they have had game experience goes down.

Is there a “verge”? Will teachers become products of the games they played?

Is there a “gaming divide”?

Higher incomes = higher likelihood of gaming

Race does not seem to factor into this

(Again, this is a place where gaming in libraries could help bridge that divide and introduce people to the culture of gaming)




What would this look like?

What will make a difference?
-Global high-speed networks

-Culture and language – what about “cross-cultural game trainers”? Learning to work with other cultures in games.

-Public support


Still going..

I'm taking more notes and forming them into posts. Our "pirate" wireless signal is fading in and out as more laptops have entered the room. It seems to last about an hour, then someone has to go unplug the airport and plug it back in. At first it seemed to be a DNS issue, so I messed with the configuration from Michael's iBook (yes..I touched a MAC!).

Blogger Alley is still going strong, at anyone time at least 4 of us are connected.

Hidden Peanuts
The Shifted Librarian
Walking Paper
Tame the Web

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Gaming, learning, and libraries - Opening session

Here we go!

The wireless is back up and Kathryn Deiss from MLS is on the stage. She's on to the housekeeping bits...and a schedule change!

Not as many laptops up as I figured, the back corner here has the largest concentration (aka “Blogger Alley”). There are 131 people here, a great turnout for such a cutting edge program!

I also got a glimpse of AADL's Cobalt Flux dance pads, brought by Eli. Can't wait to try them out!

We all just had a chance to totally embarrass Jenny. How fun is that? :)

Our first speaker is Les Gasser, from UIUC. Les has been teaching a class on gaming in libraries at UIUC.

(I'll need to check out the UIUC GCT Research Poster Session)

Center for computing humanities and social sciences (CHASS)

UIUC seems to be very on top of researching gaming and learning.

Les just admitted he is not a librarian (“IANAL” – I am not a librarian), that's ok Les, I'm not really either. I'm just surrounded by them and I’ve been sucked into their culture. Not a bad thing J

The library "B" model - the box of books model. A repository of information. Libraries collect & organize books (& stuff) and provide it free by amortizing the cost over large numbers of patrons and long time spans. Promotes knowledge in society.

What is challenging whether & how libraries will be able to "fly"? (a.k.a. continue to exist as they do).
-E-books -- content goes mobile
--E-books as game platforms. On screen Les has samples of E-book chessboards & checkerboards
-E-paper -- electronic signage. This stuff looks cool, its electronic flexible paper that you can download content too.
--Readius, takes e-paper and scrolls it.
--Fujitsu's digital paper is a standard paper size, e-paper. One potential use is downloadable restaurant menus.

Ronald Coase - transaction cost economics.

Information Transactions:
Copy, Transport, Translate, Collocate, Index, Arrange, Transcode, Search/Find, others } each has a cost and contributes to the cost of other activities. (Basically the cost of information transactions determines what it really costs you to get that information)
-Copying information is getting easier and less costly. The cost of copying information is below zero, you actually make money for transacting information, i.e. Google. They are making money by transacting information.

Results of these low transaction costs:
Napster, Kazaa, BitTorrent, P2P, Flickr, Blogs, Wikis, MMOGs (massive multiplayer online games), copyright conflict, filtering, “flame wars”, open source

Liabilities of the ITCs (info transaction costs):
Near Zero/Below zero costs drives consumers away from libraries – movies, radios, TV.

Many people do not think of going to the library, because of all the sources of information available now.

There is a pressure to profit from each “customer touch” (a lending transaction)

“disintermediation of libraries”?

Gaming and Libraries, in the B model. “A way to get patrons into the library”. (On the screen, Les has a picture of fly traps). We can increase circulation by “CRM”, customer resource management, by saying: “Come play games, and oh yeah we have books”. By doing that libraries maintain the symbolic status quo of their mission.

((trying to debug wireless issues)) So I missed a few slides J

((ok, more debugging..looks like its DNS releated. Might not be able to fix it for a little bit))

The “K” Model – What’s a library?
-Critical role of innovation for society

--Assimlating the new

--visiting the cutting edge

“Library as a venue of Community & Cultural Innovation”

2-5% of the population was willing/interested/able to become producers – entrepenuers – and move into the new/to shift and innovate. (the early adopters/living on the bleeding edge)

Games as:
-Ubiquitous cultural phoenomena

-Reflection of emerging culture

-Foundation of cultural mythology/transmission

--Games reach kids and shape their Myths – i.e. there are many different harry potters. All the same character, but he exists in video games, the books, the movies, etc.

A relationship must be built between libraries and games. If you look at new movies, you’ll see that almost all new movies also include related games and other materials.

Learning as: “gaining membership in a community (of practice)”. Learning is becoming a member of that community/participating in that community.

Gaming as a community. Learning games and becoming a part of the community in the game. Games like world of warcraft, guild wars (the MMORPGs) become their own communities that people learn to be a part of by participating and interacting.

Issues with gaming

-Open Systems

--Constant changes – practices, environments

--Player directied content – the player is the center of the game. Build their own modifications to games, tell stories from their experiences

--Emergent experience

--Unplanned interactions

--Cultural conflict (e.g. “Grand Theft Auto”)

--Inolving external worlds (e.g GPS) played online, but also have a real world component, geo located. Not just a fixed indoor place, but outdoor as well.

-Essential misfit with existing library structures and processes

--Libraries depend on stability of content, structure, format, and meaning --- in order to catalog it

--Control – libraries can assure the quality of the content.

--Enduring quality

The third vision of libraries – the primer: Neal Stephenson’s “The Diamond Age”

The “I” Model, what could a library be?
-Extended placeness (virtual spaces)

-Multi-modal interacting webs of services

-immersive, persistent

-social, collective

The information environment / information organization (sample screen: Guild wars/World of War Craft). Game environments can be very sophisticated and display a lot of information to the player about the other players, chat conversations, and other happenings.

Virtual Information Systems

Wow…on screen now is a video of a virtual environment called “Cave”. The subject in the video is using his virtual controllers to manipulate the book. But instead of reading, he steps into the page and is immersed in a virtual city with kiosks that have information to help the user find stuff. In the environment, there is a mobile information service (an “avatar”) that is leading the subject in the video around the virtual city and teaching the subject about the environment.

All I can say is wow. I want one of those. The environment is totally immersive and you can interact with many objects inside it.

Wow. A totally interactive learning environment where you can step into the world and into the information you want to learn. I want one.

The “I” model for gaming and libraries

-Virtual Place extensions

-Immersions in experiences

-New venues for services

-4 dimensions of gaming: Competition, chance, simulation, vertigo (exhiliarting physical experience)

In the game “civilization”, there is an in game library; that provides information on how to play the game

What about moving library services into games?


Cost of making games, like cave?
What is cheap: Game mods. Making a mod for an existing game (like The Sims), using the supplied SDK. Mods can be made low-tech and cheap.

(Thought: what about a project to build a mod/addon for a game that has interactive library services)

Do games change how we imagine things?
Remember when music videos came out? When you see a video you are being asked to buy into it. Even though it is not your imagination, the environments can still be exhilarating.

A parallel between the way gamers are becoming active in communities of practice and the 2-5% of the population that is producing content.

The same is true with game modding, more consumers than producers. Example: File sharing, more people are downloading than sharing (via P2P networks).

Bridging the cultural gap with gaming – providing the opportunity to those that may have never had it. What a traditional role for libraries, wouldn’t you agree?

((ok that’s the end of the keynote notes))

This session leaves you with a lot to think about, more than just having simple gaming nights at the library. The future implications for library applications to gaming are very, very many. Like all things tech, this is definitely one more aspect that libraries should stay tuned to and think about how they can reach their patrons where they are.

You have patrons in games, what if the library could offer services in those games?

(Just imagine a virtual reference service staffed by librarians across the world where players could ask questions and get answers from in game characters)

Another question:
What if libraries bought software and let people try it out and explore it? Why not? Libraries already offer proprietary information in other ways (cd’s, games, etc). So why not buy software to let people try?

Gaming in Libraries 2005 - I'm here!

I'm here...we're just about to get started. Behind me is a row of Bloggers that incluces Jenny Levine, Aaron Schmidt, Michael Stephens, and a few others I don't know. To my right is Chad, we have the same camera.

They have 8 game cubes set up running several games. No one has started playing yet, I'm tempted too but breakfast is a little more tempting at the moment.

I'll be live blogging each session...more soon!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Announcing: Gaming @ Your Library - A project of the Lewis & Clark Library System!

Here it is! Just in time for the Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium, I am announcing a project I've been working on for the last few weeks!
Gaming @ Your Library is a new project of the Lewis & Clark Library System. The project will bring gaming events to interested libraries. Two libraries are currently planning Gaming @ Your Library events. The Glen Carbon Centennial Public library will be having the first Gaming @ Your Library event on January 13th, 2006.

Gaming @ Your Library events are designed to attract teens and gamers 12 & up to the library for a night of gaming. Each event will feature several pre-selected video games that attendees will play. The first event will feature a Playstation 2 with Dance Dance Revolution and four Xboxes (supporting up to 16 players at a time) networked to play multiplayer games like Star Wars Battlefront 2 or other multiplayer games.

The Gaming @ Your Library website features an interactive blog, and an RSVP system. LCLS member library staff can logon with their existing CLeO accounts and create a Gaming @ Your Library profile.

If you are interested in the project visit the web site:, or contact Chris Deweese ( for more details.
Gaming @ Your Library. Bringing together gamers @ the library!
The website is live and so are the RSS feeds. So head over there and let me know what you think!

I'll be asking and listening a lot at the symposium monday & tuesday.

Can you tell I'm excited about this? :)