"TMU Libraries Immersion Studio: Overview of a Shared Immersive Tech Initiative to Enhance Education" (Video)

[This video] shares TMU’s [Toronto Metropolitan University’s] experience implementing a shared immersive extended reality environment to support teaching, learning, and research. The briefing includes specific domain examples and discusses the impact, limitations, and future of TMU’s Immersion Studio.


From: "Edition Guide Coalition for Networked Information Pre-Recorded Project Briefing Series November 2023"e;

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Paywall: "The Effect of Virtual Reality on Knowledge Acquisition and Situational Interest Regarding Library Orientation in the Time of COVID-19"

This study examines the impact of using virtual reality for library orientation for first-year university students during the COVID-19 pandemic. . . . The results showed that virtual reality can increase situational interest in the sub-dimensions of "instant enjoyment," "novelty" and "challenge," but not knowledge acquisition in library orientation. In addition, the qualitative data analysis concludes that virtual reality is unsuitable for the main library orientation program for a large group but is suitable as a supporting tool for library orientation.


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"‘The Metaverse Will Be Our Slow Death!’ Is Facebook Losing Its $100BN Gamble on Virtual Reality?"

Meanwhile, Meta has invested a staggering $100bn on metaverse research and development to date, $15bn in the past year alone—with apparently little to show for it. . . . In April, Sony and Lego invested $2bn in Epic’s metaverse vision. In January, Microsoft moved to acquire another games giant, Activision Blizzard, makers of World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Call of Duty and Candy Crush, for nearly $70bn. . . The metaverse was valued at nearly $23bn last year and is expected to grow nearly 40% a year for the rest of the decade. As the Epic co-founder and CEO Tim Sweeney put it last year: "The next three years are going to be critical for all of the metaverse-aspiring companies. . . . Whoever brings on a billion users first would be the presumed leader in setting the standards."


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"Frankfurt Spotlight: The Metaverse Meets Publishing"

To give an idea of what’s possible today, take the example of Aschehoug Publishing Company from Oslo, Norway. Together, Aschehoug and Ludenso are bringing textbooks to life by adding live 3-D models to print textbooks, allowing students to explore a topic in AR through their mobile devices. This allows students to explore countless abstract concepts in a more tangible way, such as showing the magnetic field around the earth, or conducting virtual physics lab projects.


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Or the Opposite: "Meta Quest Pro Hands-On: The $1,500 Headset That ‘Will Enable the Metaverse’"

After using the Quest Pro, I feel like this is the headset Meta really needs to provide a high-quality VR experience for building out apps and environments. Now I still don’t know if this is enough to convince people to work and live in VR, but when it comes to enabling the Metaverse, the Quest Pro seems like the big building block for making that happen


See also: Paywall: "Inside Zuckerberg’s $1,500 Headset, the Metaverse Is Still Out of Reach," https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/10/11/meta-quest-pro-metaverse/.

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Paywall: "Skepticism, Confusion, Frustration: Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse Struggles"

The company’s flagship virtual-reality game, Horizon Worlds, remains buggy and unpopular, leading Meta to put in place a “quality lockdown” for the rest of the year while it retools the app. . . .The company’s struggle to reshape the business was described in interviews with more than a dozen current and former Meta employees and internal communications obtained by The New York Times.


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Serious Virtual Words: A Scoping Study

The JISC e-Learning Programme has released Serious Virtual Words: A Scoping Study.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

The aim of the report then is two-fold: to provide a context for learning practitioners and policy makers, aiding with their understanding of virtual worlds and how they can be selected and used in tertiary education; and to highlight how learners, through greater empowerment, may play a different and enriched role in the process of forming collaborative learning experiences and engaging in activities which may support their own learning and meta-reflection.

Texas Digital Library Hosts Second E-Journal

The Texas Digital Library is hosting the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research. The first issue is now available.

Articles in the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research are freely available in the PDF format, and they are under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The journal is edited by Jeremiah Spence, a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin's College of Communication.

The Texas Digital Library also hosts the Journal of Digital Information. Articles in the Journal of Digital Information are freely available in the PDF or HTML formats, and authors retain the copyright to them. Supported by the Texas A&M University Libraries, it is edited by Cliff McKnight, Professor of Information Studies at Loughborough University, and Scott Phillips, Research and Development Coordinator at the Texas A&M University Libraries' Digital Initiatives department.

Podcast of ALA's Virtual Communities and Libraries Member Initiative Group Meeting

A podcast of the first meeting of the ALA's Virtual Communities and Libraries Member Initiative Group is now available.

Here's the group's statement of purpose from its ALA Wiki entry:

To provide a group within ALA for members interested in fostering the practice of library work, the visibility of libraries and library workers, and the extension of library services within online social networks, virtual worlds, and other communities of intention. To provide a mechanism for sharing experiences and practices in-person or virtually through programming or asynchronous communications. To encourage wider participation by the profession and the association in virtual worlds. and To establish a forum across all types of libraries and at all levels of library employment concerned with the development of library services in emerging social networks, virtual worlds, and other communities of intention. This group is open to all members.

Podcasts from the CNI Fall 2007 Task Force Meeting

Podcasts are now available from CNI's Fall 2007 Task Force Meeting. Here's a selection:

There's a 20% Chance That You Are a Digital Simulation Living in a Virtual World

Nick Bostrom, Director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford, says in a New York Times article today:

“My gut feeling, and it’s nothing more than that,” he says, “is that there’s a 20 percent chance we’re living in a computer simulation.”

Bostrom thinks so because, barring a future prohibition on creating simulated worlds or disinterest in doing so, that our posthuman descendants are almost certain to create simulations of the past. The more simulations that are run, the more likely that you are in one.

By some estimates, there will be enough available computing power to create a simulated world by 2050.

However, there could be a recursive problem:

It’s also possible that there would be logistical problems in creating layer upon layer of simulations. There might not be enough computing power to continue the simulation if billions of inhabitants of a virtual world started creating their own virtual worlds with billions of inhabitants apiece.

I wouldn't count on it though.

Source: Tierney, John. "Our Lives, Controlled From Some Guy's Couch." The New York Times, 14 August 2007, D1, D4.

Second Life Impacts Real Life and Vice Versa

What happens in Second Life is increasingly influencing real life and vice versa. Here are some recent highlights:

Rome Reborn 1.0

A cross-institutional team has built a a simulation of Rome as it was in 320 A.D. called Rome Reborn 1.0.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

Rome’s Mayor Walter Veltroni will officiate at the first public viewing of "Rome Reborn 1.0," a 10-year project based at the University of Virginia and begun at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to use advanced technology to digitally rebuild ancient Rome. The event will take place at 2 p.m. in the Palazzo Senatorio on the Campidoglio. An international team of archaeologists, architects and computer specialists from Italy, the United States, Britain and Germany employed the same high-tech tools used for simulating contemporary cities such as laser scanners and virtual reality to build the biggest, most complete simulation of an historic city ever created. "Rome Reborn 1.0" shows almost the entire city within the 13-mile-long Aurelian Walls as it appeared in A.D. 320. At that time Rome was the multicultural capital of the western world and had reached the peak of its development with an estimated population of one million.

"Rome Reborn 1.0" is a true 3D model that runs in real time. Users can navigate through the model with complete freedom, moving up, down, left and right at will. They can enter important public buildings such as the Roman Senate House, the Colosseum, or the Temple of Venus and Rome, the ancient city’s largest place of worship.

As new discoveries are made, "Rome Reborn 1.0" can be easily updated to reflect the latest knowledge about the ancient city. In future releases, the "Rome Reborn" project will include other phases in the evolution of the city from the late Bronze Age in the 10th century B.C. to the Gothic Wars in the 6th century A.D. Video clips and still images of "Rome Reborn 1.0" can be viewed at www.romereborn.virginia.edu. . . .

The "Rome Reborn" project was begun at UCLA in 1996 by professors Favro and Frischer. They collaborated with UCLA students from classics, architecture and urban design who fashioned the digital models with continuous advice from expert archaeologists. As the project evolved, it became collaborative at an international scale. In 2004, the project moved its administrative home to the University of Virginia, while work in progress continued at UCLA. In the same year, a cooperative research agreement was signed with the Politecnico di Milano. . . .

Many individuals and institutions contributed to "Rome Reborn" including the Politecnico di Milano (http://www.polimi.it), UCLA (http://www.etc.ucla.edu/), and the University of Virginia (www.iath.virginia.edu). The advisors of the project included scholars from the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Museum of Roman Civilization (Rome), Bath University, Bryn Mawr College, the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, the German Archaeological Institute, Ohio University, UCLA, the University of Florence, the University of Lecce, the University of Rome ("La Sapienza"), the University of Virginia and the Vatican Museums.

The IBM Gameframe

If you thought the era of big iron was dead, think again.

According to the New York Times, IBM is rolling out a "gameframe" that is "capable of permitting hundreds of thousands of computer users to interact in a three-dimensional simulated on-screen world described as a ‘metaverse.’"

Meanwhile, Sun is rolling out a video server that is "potentially powerful enough to transmit different standard video streams simultaneously to everyone watching TV in a city the size of New York."

Source: Markoff, John. "Sun and I.B.M. to Offer New Class of High-End Servers." The New York Times, 26 April 2006, C10.

Forget RL, Try an Avatar Instead

Real life (RL) is so 20th century. Virtual worlds are where it’s at. At least, that’s what readers of BusinessWeek‘s recent "My Virtual Life" article by Robert D. Hof may quickly come to believe.

You may think that virtual worlds are just kids stuff. Tell that to Anshe Chung, who has made over $250,000 buying and renting virtual real estate in Linden Lab’s Second Life. Or, Chris Mead, whose Second Life couples avatars earn him a cool $90,000 per year. Or the roughly 170,000 Second Life users who spent about $5 million real dollars on virtual stuff in January 2006.

How about this? For all virtual worlds, IGE Ltd. estimates that users spend over $1 billion real dollars on virtual stuff last year.

While most users may be buying virtual clothes, land, and entertainment and other services, conventional companies are exploring how to use virtual worlds for training, meeting, and other purposes, plus trying to snag regular users’ interest with offerings such as Well’s Fargo’s Stagecoach Island.

For the library slant on Second Life, try the Second Life Library 2.0 blog and don’t miss the Alliance Second Life Library 2.0 introduction on 5/31/06 from 2:00 PM-3:30 PM. And don’t foget to browse the Second Life Library 2.0 image pool at Flickr.

Oh, brave new world that has such avatars in it!

Source: Hof, Robert D. "My Virtual Life." BusinessWeek, 1 May 2006, 72-82.