Tuesday, December 06, 2005

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: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/gaminginlibraries2005/)

“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 (http://www.oclc.org/reports/2005perceptions.htm)



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