Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Information Literate plans

Chatlogs edited and mounted: 1 (good); New Google calendars created: 1 (good); New wiki page created: 1 (good); Emails sent to important IL person: 1 (good); Anxieties about amount of work storing up for self: many (bad)

Have put online the transcript of the discussion on 10th June, which discussed the idea of a US Information Literacy month (see http://www.infolit.org/news/campaign.html) and the possibility of an Information Literacy Week in SL. The chatlog of our meeting is here: http://sleeds.org/chatlog/?c=437

Was a smallish meeting (boosted by a few observers to start with) but there were good ideas and people thought that an information Literacy Week in SL was feasible and worth pursuing. You can read more in the chatlog.

Have created a page on the Infolit iSchool wiki here http://infolitischool.pbworks.com/Information-Literacy-Week-in-Second-Life-2009 (please tell me if you have problems viewing it!).

Set up a calendar on Google here, which obviously doesn't have much on it at present, though there is a meeting on 9 July at noon SL time to update people - plus obviously the week istelf is already on the calendar.

Sent an email to the Vice Presidents of the National Forum on Information Literacy (which is behind the Info Literacy month initiative) and it looks like they will be supportive. Yay.

So, only oodles and oodles of work to be done to plan it .... am already getting distracted by planning the freebies, to start with, an Information Literacy calendar (using the IntelliCalendar factory ... this, of course, involved buying the factory. Will explain its working when have published the calendar).

Sunday, 28 June 2009


No of different tags used in this blog: 450 (approx) (like, wow)

Have just added list of Tags/Labels used in this blog to the Adventures home page. Can be found on the right after the j-pop player. There are an awful lot of them. Therefore thought should explain something about my approach to tagging.

Now, whilst at the Uni of Strathclyde, taught indexing for several years. This was for usual reason i.e. no-one else wanted to teaching indexing and I agreed to do it when arrived as new lecturer and knew no better.

Thus am aware of benefits of controlled vocabularies, can tell a Broader from a Narrower term, and describe the glory that is the Scope Note. Since started in this business when indexes were mostly on paper also know the difference between KWIC and KWOC and might even still attempt a description of PRECIS.

However, fond readers will note that in this blog have happily thrown all that nonsense out of the window. Instead am practising the art of Tagging as Stream of Consciousness. Basically, when come to the end of the entry, fill in the tags happily with whatever first comes into head. This is usually related to the content of the entry, though this is not guaranteed. Sometimes yield happily to word association e.g. in post before last tagged Mirror (because was using mirror water effect) and then tagged Smoke, since, you know, there is that phrase smoke and mirrors. Think this may be rather ineffective subconcious act of subversion against the dark tides of orderly metadata.

Therefore you may find the list of tags:

a) A delightful source of serendipitous amusement; or

b) A disgrace.

Enjoy! (As the waitress says when serving you with a plate of slightly overcooked pasta and a glass of slightly underchilled white wine)

Reflecting on glitches

Shapes lost by Linden Labs: 1 (v.v. bad); Times trapped under umbrella: 1 (OK); Times part of land unexpectedly disappeared then unexpectedly reappeared: 1 (fortuitous)
Talked to yet another person in RL who was sceptical about SL because they found it difficult, kept bumping into things etc. Ruminated today on how you *keep* bumping into things in SL, but suppose difference is you get to know:
a) bumping into things is ok;
b) how to get out of places when you are stuck;
c) when you do, and do not, need to worry when strange things happen.

For example: when I teleport in somewhere and find myself about 10 feet off the ground unable to move and with my arms and legs waving - know that this is usually because there are loads of people tp-ing to the same spot and I'm stuck on the top of someone's (currently invisible) head. Normally if you just wait they will move and you can proceed as normal, or at least you need to wait til things rez and you can see what the problem is. Glitches over the past days include:

1. My shape disappeared from the Database. I noticed this 20 mins before giving a presentation on Thursday and it did not exactly reduce the mild sense of panic I already had. Had noticed a message about something not being found in the database but simply clicked it away and it was only when I cammed out to see the poster I was preparing I suddenly realise my feet were larger than my shoes (see first pic) and my hands were like dinnerplates. A quick inspection proved that other parts of the Yoshikawa Shape were also different. Attempts to Wear "My Body Small Feet" failed miserably and so had to disappear underwater for a quick slider session, reducing (e.g. foot size) and increasing (e.g. body fat) various aspects of appearance.

My Body Small Feet is still Absent Without Official Leave. This is indeed Worrying as perhaps is sign that having reached 25,000 items my inventory will go AWOL piece by piece ... on the other hand is problem (apparently) with central database rather than actual inventory. Not sure which is worst.

2. When trying out a new DSN gift, namely parasol table and stools, placed stool too near table so that, on standing up, was catapulted onto table under parasol and trapped (see pic). This is one of those situations where one's Virtual Literacy skills come into play, since know now that easiest thing to do is to find something to sit on (in this case, stool) and then sit on it.

Also since have editing skills, could move stool backwards so didn't get trapped again. In early days would have wasted time struggling this way and that. Associated is the "when it's very laggy rez a box, sit on it and move that around" solution (see also: jumping from pose stand to pose stand to move in a crowded fashion store)

3. Teleported home to create poster during Educators Coop retreat (see last post) to find that the bit of my land that is in another sim had disappeared. In fact the sims on BOTH sides had disappeared. However, since this is mainland & my payments are up to date, did not panic. Instead took the opportunity to take mirror-water reflection of the land that HADN'T disappeared (see third picture), so actually saw it as happy chance.
Opened Map to see whether the sims were offline, but there they were, as usual, and when teleported to the land-on-other-sim - everything was as normal. Odd.
Perhaps this is actually example where should be panicing - is this the beginning of the end? The whole of the mainland flickering in and out of existence? But seems more likely that it is glitchy business-as-usual.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Retreat, Mirror, Sheep

Retreats attended: 1 (v. good); Mirror presets discovered: 1 (amazing); Hours spent taking pictures with mirror presets: 2 (at least) (bad); Information Literate sheep created: 1 (ok, could do better)

Today was Educators Coop retreat. We gathered at the Mesa on the Educators Coop, and then were told to teleport to sparkly new Educators Coop 5, which will be official HQ with breakout areas, auditorium etc. Agenda can be seen in the picture. After brainstorming ideas of what we would like to see, went off to breakout groups.
Inevitably tp-ed initially to WRONG breakout group but then had useful chat with North, Larry and Pirate on cool palm shaded island. These palms are by same person as made the new treehouse on Infolit iSchool. Have in fact just invested in palm trees by this person (Tobias Novi) myself, since are only 2 prims for clump of 4 trees plus you get animated palm tree shadows. Not cheap but is copiable.

I had ideas about creating individual exhibitions for each coop member, and also mentioned the Swine Flu project. We also talked about pooling our induction stuff, having area with freebies, and doing an Educators Coop conference.

After this went back to plenary and chewed over ideas some more. Finally had individual time in which to take picture and make notecard about self. I created a poster (which have now also put up on Infolit) and also a notecard. Rx, who is ace builder etc., put the textures from us all into a slideshow and I show mine being displayed. We talked about research collaboration and Lorri and Mummer both expressed interest in working on virtual/digital/information literacy. So all good stuff.

Yesterday followed up SLED post to discover blog entry which explains how to make the Linden water reflect like a mirror: http://zonjacapalini.wordpress.com/
. Was immediately bewitched since Infolit island looks v.v. cool, with all the trees, bays, hills etc. Will have post just on that, but can see effect in pic of Educators Coop 5 at the top of this blog entry.

So on to the sheep. Spent very end of day (or should I say early morning) adapting a sheep I had received as a carrier for a notecard for some event or other. It was full perms, so retextured its coat back to wool, lowered sound and frequency of baa-ing (since baa-ing is only really cute for the first 5 mins you hear it) and created a notecard with some information literacy definitions.

Sheep now stands outside Centre for Information Literacy Research and will either give notecard on touch or (I hope, must test it with Dimitrova) you can buy sheep/notecard for zero Linden.
Plan whole flock of these with different notecards in. I am calling it Woolley the Information Literate Sheep.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Daily dose

Items received from DSN: 15? 20? (who knows); Ratio of interesting to uninteresting items: 1:1 (not bad)
Have continued to log in eagerly to Accept the items from the Designers Showcase Network (see prvious post). Boxes of free stuff rattle into my inventory like rain onto ... onto land that is pretty damp already. However, present are always good, in my view.
On a serious note (to get that over with) I hope this is still going when I bring in students next academic year, since I could "persuade" them to sign up and it would give them regular practice in opening boxes and learning how to tell what you are supposed to do with stuff (wear, drag to ground, contemplate in wonder, send to trash). Also they could get some decent clothes out of it, because the stuff that is otherwise genuinely ok to pass round full permissions looks a bit dated in terms of textures and prim work.

You see here booty from a couple of days ago: a waterful complete with rocks and plants, a rose bush in a pot, a vase of flowers, and a little brazier. This was actually the box that the real present came in, but I thought the box was more interesting than the contents.

If asked who produced them, I'm afraid that all I can tell you is that the fire-thing came from a designer with the word Phoenix in their name, and the waterfall was from Perfect Prefabs. I know this as it is the first designer where I have gone and looked at their stuff, and I was sorely tempted by their Waterfull Cave grottos. I may yet indulge in another waterfall, though goodness knows I have enough of them already in my inventory. This was a good example of a designer I've visited some time ago, and it was useful to be reminded to go and look for new stuff.

The 2nd pic shows me peeking out from behind yesterday's boxes before I unpacked them, then using a couple of them: a corridor "set" (mainly aimed at fashion bloggers), another plant, the hat with flowers & a veil (cool, I think), a heart-emitting cookie (in my mouth) and the pose itself.
The final set of pictures are from Friday: longing in front of the boxes and then using the sofa. The reason I couldn't use the sofa to start with was that when I clicked to Sit on it, it gave the message "no place to sit", which is not the kind of feedback you expect from a chair.
In the end I found a place to click that allowed me to sit, but I would say I have identified a design fault.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Prims, glitches, trees

Prim gateways to the cream of British academia: 1 (v. good); Retrospective tree house posts: 1 (good) (if retrospective).

Am currently on travels again, trying to fit marking around doing academic things in exotic (Thessaloniki) and less exotic places (Manchester) (OK, suppose Manchester is exotic to some people). Am thus getting few opportunities to meander round SL. Am restricted to brief sorties to see what is free this morning from the Designer Showcase Network (see previous post) and pick up IMs and the odd prim.
Most useful prim is not from the DNS, though DNS has subsequently yielded some cute household goods from Second Spaces (cushions - you can never have too many - and bathroom vanity jars - well, why not?), and more useful poses. Also one gown which will try on when can prise self out of current outfit. Other stuff more dubious, though sure will find a use for the operational swing door, they always come in handy.

Will note here that, whilst unpacking, noticed odd glitch in SL, that everything was being rezzed and copied twice over. This was baffling at first when rezzed box containing various DSN objects, and they appeared to still be there even after deleted them. Then noticed that was getting 2 sets of objects, landmarks, notecards etc. and also when examined land, list of of Object owners was duplicated. Hmm. Am hoping this is strange quirk to do with wifi connection in Thessaloniki hotel.
Anyway most useful item is from Graham, who has produced simple prim that when you click it turns into searchable database of UK university SL properties. Cool or what. Includes Infolit iSchool, am pleased to say, plus 40-ish others. When you select a university, the map pops up with the right place marked and you can teleport in with one click.

Have placed this useful prim in the library on Infolit. Could not resist texturing it with pic of me and Nigl in academic garb on a seesaw. First picture, above, shows 3 stages in the process of tp-ing to a university. Image for first step has illegible text because a) This is a small image b) "twinning" glitch appears to have affected this prim as well, so here you see 2 conflicting hover texts and c) did this quickly in Photoshop and think I stretched the photo by mistake.

Actually the whole thing is illegible unless you CLICK on it to see the picture full size. If you do, you will see the hover texts and dialogue onscreen. Best thing is to visit the library in SL and have a look.

Speaking of places on Infolit (to change the subject) appear to have failed to blog the new tree house on Infolit. This is serious omission.

Had been feeling that previous tree house was starting to look its age, and then spotted a feaure about tree houses on a blog. Thus the Denmark tree house somehow found its way into my inventory. It is v. atmospheric and has operational lift. Came with candles that emit fireflies (romantic!) or butterflies (colourful!) and candles that emit bird sounds (some of the birds actually sound like they are being done to death, but still).

Took off roof of top house in tree house to make romantic/utile platform, and this is where last week's infolit discussion was held. Since still have not uploaded chatlog etc etc will give sneak preview of one of the participants, namely Pancha, who was wearing a supercute butterfly Avatar.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Lessons in fashion marketing: 2

No. of free items obtained through DNS: 10 (good); No. of useful free items obtained through DNS: 7 (even better)
On Thursday had interesting meeting about possibility of having information literacy week and will blog that when have gone through usual tedious business of putting chatlog online, editing pictures, putting up link to chat inworld, announcing that same is available, plus this time intend to put out notice encouraging people to contribute ideas and possibly set up dedicated social networking site. Feel tired just thinking about it.
In meantime have joined the Designers Showcase Network as Consumer. This is something that had been at edge of radar, with fashion bloggers mentioning items from "DSN", but finally sprang into action when noticed that Chic Aeon blogged an intriguing tree from October Rust. Am a sucker for SL trees (hmm, almost an unintentional pun there). So followed v. useful explanation of how it works [which can't find atthe moment, but can use the DSN link above] and then popped inworld to sign up for a few channels, namely Female Fashion, Jewelry, Tools, Home & Garden and Poses.
Idea is that each designer contributes a free item. Each day a randomly selected sample of people get that item. No person gets more than 1 item per channel per day. No one gets more than 1 item ever per channel from the same designer.
Gain from designers point of view is that for a mere 250 Linden and cost of designing item get possible access to new markets, or reminding existing customers that they exist. Obviously the hope is that you say "Wow, really great [insert name of item] must buy more!" and tp over to store to buy.Benefit to Consumer is that you get free stuff. This is definitely a plus (see below) and adds excitement of "what will I get free when I log on today!"
Down side is that you want to log in to see what free stuff you got today, so addiction factor of SL goes up notch. Also adds IMs, thus meaning some useful IMs may get capped. Also is matter of inventory bloat, but at 25,000 items, what are another few? Or so I say to myself.
I am pictured with some of the best items above. Am rather picky about fashion things, so neitherof 2 outfits were my thing, and only one of the jewelry items, so outfit is Model's Own, as they say. However, am using one of the free poses, from Reel Expression. Also can see cute piano stool from Kunstkammer (today) and Bed from Lyla (yesterday, see 2nd pic showing it in my bedroom), plus 2 tools. Translation one is a board where you drop in notecards in different languages (should you be able to translate into all those languages) and then people click on relevant flag to get them. Designer sells translation services, so obvious where THEY see money coming from. This COULD be used to dispanse notecards about Information Literacy in different languages, is my thought on this - even just "what is 'info literacy' in ..."
Other tool appears to be full permissions, and when you click it, asks for you to type something in (you would drop in a texture saying what you wanted e.g. "type in your idea for information literacy week") and then it dispenses whatever object you put in, as a gift. Am thinking of commissioning some jewelry with the info literacy international logo, that would be IMHO cool.
Crunch point is: have I spent money with any of these people? At this stage answer is: no. However, will certainly visit new-to-me Lyla and (whoever it was designed the full perms tool, am not inworld at present), also it reminded me that Dark Mouse (cute bangle) and Kunstkammer are good designers. So think this is good marketing idea.
Research perspective: one of my key interests used to be the pricing of electronic information, so marketing is topic know something about; promotional strategies for virtual goods ....
Final pic has nothing to do with all this and advertises Infolit iSchool June festival. Bring your friends.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009


Meetings held: 2 (good); Weeks taken to put up chatlog of 1st one: 3 (bad); Hours spent on pasting up chatlogs, making wiki pages, revising notecard etc: 3 (bad)

Am trying to catch up on backlog of recording info on discussions, amidst all the backlog about everything else. Life is just one long backlog.

Firstly was Adra Letov's meeting, The Information Environment is Affect-Driven held on 21st May. Adra (Diane Nahl in RL) spoke in Voice but helpfully provided notecards with text and refernces, and the rest of us spoke in chat. Have put texts on wiki here http://infolitischool.pbworks.com/IB-and-emotion%3A-Dr-Diane-Nahl-21st-May-2009 and chatlog is here http://sleeds.org/chatlog/?c=418
Was v. pleased that had persuaded colleague Nigl (who is information behaviour researcher) to come along, and Jackie, Ishbel, Maggie (& various others) were there too. Lot of interest and things to follow up. Humorous moment when Nigl sat accidentally on my head. Lol.

Last Thursday was the Swine Flu Information Literacy event. Graham blogged the meeting rather faster than I have at http://tidalblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/seven-pillars.html and managed to capture the Humorous Event of this meeting, namely point where I had dropped people a surgical mask and we had all donned them as if for strange ritual. Maggie added to this by wearing mask on head, which was, frankly, more becoming than wearing it on face.
Have put up chatlog (this was all in chat) at http://sleeds.org/chatlog/?c=417 and also have started up wiki page with some summary notes & explanation at http://infolitischool.pbworks.com/Information+Literacy+builds+-+Swine+flu where people are encouraged to comment. Or do visit the build at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Infolit%20%iSchool/169/189/21/

When going through chatlog was disturbed to notice several occurances of:
"[2009/06/04 12:37] Pig poster: Unable to give inventory: 'No item named 'Bird flu - the exercise'.'."

Feared this meant that Swine Flu Notecard, that had cheerfully told everyone to take, did not work, but everyone was too polite to say. Turned out (when tried clicking stuff just now) to be in poster that wasn't meant to have notecard, so all well. Apart from fact that some people probably thought they were MEANT to have a notecard. All water under bridge now, anyway. And is charming that Pig Poster was able to take part in Chat, even if contribution was on repetitive side.
After session was clearing up when Spotted Dousa on Regent Plaza. She ran an idea about student journalism interns past me - could be interesting. Graham also was showing a colleague the build, so island felt pleasantly busy.

And after this stayed up far too late and ended up taking advantage of the open hours on the University of Washington sim (last pic), where there was a Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs build. You had to do a lot of climbing up and down, and there was some interactive element.

Was enjoyable, but am now wondering: did I learn anything about the hierarchy? Probably only clicked the bits and did the bits that looked amusing, rather than the parts which were most informative. On one hand, was frivolous academic v.v. late at night - on other hand gnat-like attention span probably means am rather like these millennial students everyone talks about.

And now think Sleep has come to top of my Needs hierarchy, so will stop.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Sculpties, Emails, Neighbours

Sculpty classes missed: 1 (bad); Discussion lists and SL groups spammed with notice about 4th June meeting: 10 (good: unless you got all 10 of them, I suppose); SLED post score: 28 (good, ish); Lucky chair dresses snagged by alt: 1 (yay!)
On Monday attended first Educators Coop chat for a while. Unfortunately had not been able to go to a making-sculpties class organised by Rx, which was shame as sounded v. good. Pic shows Rx and a cube he used with screenshots of how to do things. Also shows unflattering view of Bluewave typing, sorry about that, Bluewave.

Received notice about Educators Coop Retreat at end of month which sounds v.v. cool, so looking forward to that. Remember RL friend going on retreat where chocolate was forbidden and she had to sneak out to munch furtively on a kit-kat bar. Obvious advantage of virtual retreat is that can be indulging in all sorts of pleasures of flesh (within reason) whilst simultaneously taking part in retreat.

Have sent out oodles of emails and notices re the meeting tomorrow at noon SL time, in which (I hope) people will turn up with good ideas for developing the H1N1 (or, as I choose to call it in populist fashion, swine flu) information literacy build. At what point does this become spam? Hope someone will tell me if it does.

A SLEDer has analysed all the SLED posts for the last couple of years and posted a list of how many posts each person has sent. Rolig Loon came top, Graham also topped the 100 post mark, proving what a helpful person he is. I came in (as my RL alt) at 28 posts. Fear that most of those were announcements of meetings, as rarely contribute otherwise. On other hand, organising discussions is a contribution. They certainly aren't doing my career much good, anyway, so I hope someone is deriving benefit. (Hmm, must have had a glummer day than I thought)

On to more cheerful and even less impactful matters: have been zipping round moving the island from spring to summer, ripping out flowering cherries, bluebells and tulips, and putting in birch & aspen trees, garlic mustard and poppies, plus a couple of lavender bushes outside the Centre. As a finishing touch the sushi bar has been replaced by a retro barbecue (2nd pic): you can get wearable hamburgers, kebabs and - something else - is it sausages? I really mustn't go back in to SL just to find out.

Back on my own land, yet more new neighbours, these ones (last pic) with a rather more morbid tone than usual. Note the twin skeletons holding hands across their graves. However, was much cheered to get unsolicited IM from complete stranger just to say she'd wandered onto my land and liked it a lot.

P.S. Dimitrova finally got her free Pizzacato Poppies dress after a mere extra hour of waiting. It was almost worth it. But not quite.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The companionship of the Lucky Chair

Lucky chair dresses snaffled: zero (bad); Hours spent stalking dress in lucky chair: 1. And a Bit. But of course you can do other things whilst stalking a lucky chair (who am I fooling; bad)

Spent some time today stalking a free dress from Icing in a new lucky chair. Could have been writing thoughts on Education in SL, could have been marking, could have been getting an early night, but no. Did this as my alt, which somehow feel should be excuse - but - it's still my time, isn't it.

For those to whom a Lucky Chair sounds alien and rather Dubious, this is a device to lure people into dress shops, boost their traffic numbers and possibly get you to buy some other items either by mistake or out of sheer boredom. There is an item for free in the chair, but you have to wait til the first letter of your name comes up, at which point you Sit in the chair, there is a fanfare and the item (in this case, the Pizzacato Poppies dress) drops seamlessly into your inventory.

Or not, if your name begins with D and you have the letters P (x2), Q (x2), B (x5), O (x2, my alt is pictured next to an O, above), H (x50 million) coming up. Lucky Chair stalking is classic procrastination activity, and also becomes addictive as you wait for Just One More Letter.

A Brit makes money out of devising new types of lucky chair (e.g. the lucky random Easter Egg version), and a couple of months ago he blogged his RL redundancy and said how at least he was still keeping the wolf from the door through his SL Lucky Chair business.
Anyway, after you have finished looking at all the other items in the shop, Inspecting any moderately attractive clothes worn by other Lucky Chair stalkers to see who made them, and sorting your Inventory (all traditional Lucky Chair activities) you might actually start talking to the other Stalkers. People tend to be very polite & celebratory and this is an extract from the dialogue today (with people's names reduced to initials)

[16:25] *ICING* Lucky Chair: Hello J... M...
[16:25] *ICING* Lucky Chair: I'm looking for a player whose name begins with J. Your name begins with J.
[16:25] *ICING* Lucky Chair: We have a winner!
[16:26] *ICING* Lucky Chair: Please enjoy your prize. I'm now selecting a new magic letter....
[16:26] M... M...: YAYAYAYAYAY!! J....!!
[16:26] J... M...: YAY!
[16:26] *ICING* Lucky Chair: Next Prize: *ICING* Pizzicato Poppies
[16:26] *ICING* Lucky Chair: Looking for a winner whose name begins with.... R.
[16:26] J... M...: thanks M....!
[16:26] M... M...: you are welcome! a well earned prize for the hardest working person in SL!!!
[16:26] J... M...: :)
[16:26] J... M...: See ya later!
[16:27] M... M...: : Dimitrova..I love your outfit
[16:27] Dimitrova Shostakovich [for that is the name of my alt]: thanks! The dress was only 75 Linden
[16:27] Dimitrova Shostakovich: from Sari's
[16:27] M... M...: : oh! love Sari's
[16:28] M... M...: haven't been there for awhile, tho'
[16:28] Dimitrova Shostakovich: the textures had improved since I last visited

and so forth and so on, riveting stuff as you can see.

Feel there must be some research possibilities in this aspect of my (alt) life e.g. a discourse analysis of a random sample of Lucky Chair conversations, or an ethnographic study of SL fashionistas in their Lucky Chair habitus. As can be seen from above dialogue can qualify as participant-observer. Will add this to my huge list of Research opportunities Not Followed Up.

The blog of Sheila Yoshikawa on her adventures in Second Life. This may be very thrilling. Or possibly not.