Friday, October 28, 2011

Bavarian State Library (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek)

                  Recently I took some time to walk around the Bavarian StateLibrary (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek). And it did take some time because the Bavarian State Library is big. 

I started off by entering the building and checking out the courtyards on the first floor. One was filled with tables and chairs, kind of like a courtyard café. 

The other courtyard had a stage with seating that seemed well equipped for lectures and events. 

Finally making my way to the content, I found that on the first floor there was a kind of exhibition, or information center, that showcased what I assume (everything is in Austro-Bavarian) to be the kinds of programs that are used at the physical library. When you click on the exhibits or pamphlets, they direct you to the website for more information.

                The second floor has a number of rooms you can visit. One room is filled with large books that turn pages when you click them.  You can click on the labels to get notecards with extended information about the book you are looking at. On display were old illuminated manuscripts and the notecards included English translations. I’m not sure if these are books that the library owns or if they are just some they wanted to exhibit. If they are manuscripts they own I think that it’s a wonderful way of giving SL a taste of what is available at the physical library.

                On the other side of the library is another exhibition hall that shows a timeline of the library. Unfortunately there is no English translation for this, but I think it was a good idea.

There is also a massive room set-up much like a university library is with rows and rows of books with desks and chairs to sit and study. There are no actual books there for you to read, but as far as appearance goes, it looks just like a library.

                The Bavarian State Library seems to be somewhat active as notices about lectures are posted throughout the building. However, as per usual, I did not see anyone there. This is unfortunate as I believe that the space decorated well and everything is very professional. I think it’s a great way to advertise and preview their library on SL.
                Until next time!
Artimesia Sockington


Friday, October 21, 2011

Montclair State University Library

       Hey everyone, sorry for the delayed post! Last week I went to check-out the Montclair State University Library. The library seems to be set-up primarily for the students of the university as most of the contents are specific to their library. For instance, there’s a new acquisitions bookcase you can click on that sends you to their new acquisitions page on their website. There are areas that are set-up for accessing news-papers, journals and other search engines that the school has subscriptions too. Obviously, these can only be used if you are a student and presumably if you are physically at the school, accessing their connection. 
Reference desk, complete with librarian doll

 Hello Dolly
       There are dolls that are set-up around the library that you can click on for some help. If you wish to speak with one of the librarians, there are objects you can click on that will allow you to contact them.

 Some photos around the room
You can pick what you like
       There are 2 other floors as well besides the first floor. The second floor has objects that you can click on that will take you to pages that list sources according to subjects (i.e. Literature). Also it is labelled as the conference room. The third floor has some painting canvases and a piano, probably set-up for events and just as an area for general artistic expression.

       The library is straight-forward and well organized. It serves as a kind of interactive form of what is their online website. Of course, it’s the most useful if you are a student at the university, otherwise there is not much you are able to do (besides the thrills of teleporting from floor to floor). If many students used Second Life as a way to access library content then this is certainly helpful but unfortunately I don’t think many students are aware it even exists. 

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bienvenue à la Toussaint L'Overture Bibliothèque!

It was the fine bone china laced with pretty pink roses that immediately caught my attention.  Stepping out of the street and into the warm, well-appointed room, my eyes widened with childlike delight as I saw the table in the entrance laid out with steaming hot chocolate and delicate, decadent truffles.  Ever so elegantly I removed my gloves (ok, maybe "elegantly" is a slight exaggeration; hey, it's my story & I'll embellish it if I want to), helped myself to some sweets, then wandered over to the nearest bookshelf to begin my self-guided tour.

Sipping hot chocolate and nibbling on truffles

The Toussaint L'Overture Community Library is located in New Toulouse, a private, historically- themed community that is based on New Orleans, Louisiana at the turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries.  Role players are welcome but the dress code is not strict; Victorian, Edwardian, Flapper, and Creole Fashions are recommended for a truly immersive experience.  
Checking out the resources on the wall
The library itself is housed in a gracious, two-story building and decorated with plush, heavy curtains, intricate ironwork, and tasteful sculpture and paintings.  An affiliate of Information Island, they offer services and resources that reflect the interests of their communities (New Toulouse is comprised of 7 sims) and focus on open source materials that patrons can use, copy, and transfer as they wish.  

Gorgeous exhibition space 
The first floor of the library features their expansive collection; general subjects include  poetry, classics, music, fiction and history, while community-specific subjects feature Absinthe, Artists & Authors of La Belle Epoque, and the Louis Armstrong Collection.   Meandering over to the back corner, I was "awakened" (pa-dum-bum...psshhh!) by a mini-exhibit of Kate Chopin where I admired a lovely portrait of her and read a brief but enlightening biography on a notecard given to me by a carefully designed poster.

Surrounded by the library's namesake
Popping one last truffle in my mouth, I ventured upstairs to the gallery space where an exhibition entitled, "Celebrating our Namesake: Toussaint L'Ouverture (1743-1803)" was on view.  Appreciating the varied artistic interpretations of Toussaint Louverture's image, I began clicking around, retrieving notecards full of biographical sketches and historical accounts about the inspirational revolutionary leader.

Although the exhibition took up most of the 2nd floor, there was a tiny slice set aside for a few more resources, including a bookshelf full of literature on Cajun Medical Traditions and another on Zydeco Music and Musicians.  A click on a stunning 1941 Gold Butterfly Mask led to a 6 minute YouTube video of Mardi Gras 1941.  

Slightly over-sugared from all those truffles, I started to make my way back downstairs in search of something savory when out of the corner of my eye I noticed wispy curls of steam rising from a large cast iron skillet. Drawing closer, my nose picked up the delicious scent of red beans & rice and Creole style Seafood Gumbo.  Grinning, I made myself a plate, found a place to perch, took a bite, and sighed with contentment as I let the soothing southern hospitality wash over me.  

~ 'til our next adventure,

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sipping wine & swapping wisdom at the Melita Insula Library

Sipping wine with Rholes and Anaitis
"Philoxenia is one of the virtues we care for most." said Rholes as he touched his chest.  I looked down at the bowl of Falernian wine in my hands, glanced up at Anaitis' kind eyes, then mirrored her smile and thought to myself, 'yes, philoxenia- this ancient institution of gracious hospitality toward strangers - is indeed very much alive here in this wondrous and welcoming land.'

Melita Insula is a role play sim, reminiscent of the island of Malta "somewhere between 14 and 68 AD, in the days of the early Roman Empire." It was created two years ago by a group of friends who enjoyed role-playing with each other in other ancient sims before they finally decided to build their own.  Eager to learn more after a brief but enchanting self-guided tour, I sent out a few IMs and quickly found myself with a generous invitation to join two of the "locals" for a drink at their seaside taverna.

Resting at the entrance to the library
Rholes, a big, burly fella with warm brown eyes and a sturdy Thracian name, is one of the current administrators of Melita Insula, as well as one of its founders.  Anaitis Ceriaptrix, who bears the name of a goddess meaning "the immaculate", is also a current administrator and has chosen to play the role of a slave in Rholes' modest household.   After telling me a bit about their beginnings, both in Second Life and in Melita Insula, I inquired a bit about the library which, while unassuming, hinted at a sort of subtle sophistication that I'd  found intriguing.
Enjoying the solitude

Rholes informed me that the library has been there since the very beginning.  Arachne, another founder, is very passionate about classical culture so a library was always a part of the original plan.  Anaitis, Rholes' "slave", is a RL scholar in classics and is fluent in Latin and Ancient Greek - pursuits that are clearly articulated through the library's collections.  Rholes, an RL book editor, guffawed when I asked him specific questions about the scrolls in the library.  Reminding me of their dedication to the historical authenticity of the sim, he claimed that he himself "could barely read the signs at the library" much less any of the scrolls.  He prefers, instead, to listen to heroic poems or histories about heroes and wars when they are recited or told in public.  Although events are not held with regularity, Anaitis
Trying to decide which to unroll first
does try to organize recitations and host philosophical discussions.  Rholes mentioned that in the future, they would like to arrange gladiatorial games and ancient plays, perhaps at their outdoor theatre.  Both agreed that the library and it's events are attended by both locals and visitors alike, and see it as an invaluable resource for all who seek it.

After swapping stories late into the wee morning hours (not to mention several bowls of truly excellent Falernian wine - these ancients sure know how to make a girl feel welcome!), it was with much reluctance that I bid my new friends farewell.  As I stumbled home, I thought about a passing comment that was made about the library's collections - their devotion to historical accuracy means that nothing is offered outside of their chosen period...allowing group members and visitors alike the opportunity to immerse themselves in a genuine experience of what an information center would have been like back in those ancient times.  Thus, my visit was a kind of history lesson in itself, presented in a way that was unique and completely different than anything I've ever experienced in a traditional RL library setting.  Hmmm...interesting.   Deep thoughts...or drunken thoughts?  It's always such a thin line, isn't it?  *wink, hiccup*

~ 'Til our next adventure,

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Gion Kobu Hanamachi Library

Hey everyone! This week I visited the Gion Kobu Hanamachi Library to see what I could find.

Excellently decorated, the building, as well as the rest of the SIM, does give the impression that you’re in the floating world. The rooms are large and open with a few bookcases lining the walls on either side of the front door.

When you click on them they offer you notecards from which you can read their books. Some topics included Japanese stories, east religions and reference. In the middle of the room are nice chairs and rugs where you can sit down, relax, and read.

Further in there is a smaller room with children’s illustrated books. These are objects you can zoom in on and click on the pages to turn them.

There are also other rooms you can move to where you can do activities like sewing kimonos and washing laundry. There wasn’t anyone present in the SIM but I think it is one that is well crafted and has potential to be very active.
See you all next time!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Friends & Lonely Spaces: HUFS Cafe & Library

Road warriors, Zoe & Lilly
 I think it was Walt Whitman who once said, "Strong and content, I travel the open road"
Most of the time, for me, this is true.  I stride purposefully across the grid, poke my nose into libraries, collect handfuls of notecards, snap dozens of photos...and enjoy the journey.   More often than not, however, I'm  the only avatar for meta-miles around and, occasionally, I do get a bit lonely.

Then, last week, I met Lilly.  Lilly is a tiny Siamese kitten I bumped into while I was shopping in the marketplace.  She fluttered her wide blue eyes, mewed,  then settled onto my shoulder and that was that - I had a new travel buddy.
Signage in both Korean & English - very important!
When I showed her my bucket list of libraries to visit, she scrunched up her little eyes, twirled her paw, randomly set it down on the list and *poof* we were off to the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) Cafe & Library.

According to the HUFS website, the RL university library "provides and maintains computing, networking and audio-visual facilities  that take into account the special needs of the faculty and students.....and maintains Web-based gateways  to a full range of electronic resources
"Where are you from?" inquires the HUFS greeter.
available at home or abroad..."  Based on this
description, I assume that their SL counterpart was originally meant to help accommodate the research needs of their remote faculty and distance learners.  Unfortunately, apart from the signage (which dispensed a HUD for teleporting around the sim), there are no resources to speak of.  The walls are lined with bookshelves that are purely decorative and the freestanding bookshelves in the middle of the room offer only a handful of dead links.

Feeling the Zen....
A quick peek upstairs revealed much of the same.  Next to a sign announcing the International Lounge, I was warmly greeted by a bot who asked me where I was from.  I replied but, sadly, the conversation ended there; she was not programmed to pass along any more information.  On a table inside the lounge, I came upon a stack of clickable books.  Instead of providing information, the stack o'books invited me to sit on them in a meditative position.

Despite the lack of resources, the HUFS library did seem like a comfy & cozy place for online students to meet and collaborate on projects or to just relax after a long school day.  With my new friend Lilly, I decided to do just that....relax....while we murmured and meowed about our next library adventure....

~ 'Til then,


Relaxing with Lilly after our first trip together...

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