Second Life (SL) and Education

Second Life (SL) is a 3D virtual world developed by the Linden Labs. Basic accounts are free and provide you with an avatar. Once you have an avatar, you need to download SL software and go through orientation. See system requirements:

All objects in this virtual world are created and owned by the “residents,” for their own use, or for sale or free distribution to others within SL. Many businesses operate within SL, utilizing “Linden dollars,” with a floating currency rate of about US$1 to L$265 at present. At this time objects created in SL and SL avatars cannot be transported out of SL for other uses or for use in other virtual worlds.

There are many different uses for virtual worlds, including teaching, learning and research, as well as entertainment of various kinds. A number of academic institutions have established sites in SL, with some offering courses, and others conducting research using simulations (sims) that could be costly or not worthwhile developing in real life (RL). Companies such as IBM offer employee training and meetings for their international workforce in SL, some on private islands. Many organizations have established sites and some hold meetings and conferences in this virtual world. The New Media Consortium (NMC) has a number of islands and offers areas at a discount to NMC member institutions whose faculty wish to teach classes in SL. NMC also offers help in the way of teaching tools for SL use.

Libraries and librarians are quite active in SL. The Digital Library Federation (DLF) has an island in SL (Entropia) where 2008/2009 Mellon Seminars in Digital Humanities are streamed with a live video feed. UCLA has a small library in Cybrary City Some UCLA classes have been meeting inside and just outside the UCLA Library in SL. Contact Esther Grassian if you would like more information and a tour of this library or other libraries in SL:

Many articles and some books have been published on SL and other virtual worlds, as well as immersive learning. Some “machinima” (videos taken by avatars within a virtual world) are available on the SL web site; many others are available on YouTube, and slide shows on the topic are available on Here are some publications you may want to look over:

Au, Wagner James. 2008. The making of Second Life. New York: Collins.
College Library: GV1469.25.S425 A9 2008

Bruns, Axel. 2008. Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond.
YRL: ZA4482 .B78 2008

Conklin, Megan S. 2007. “101 Uses for Second Life in the College Classroom.”

Grassian, Esther. 2007. “Second Life for CLA [California Library Association].”

Grassian, Esther and Rhonda B. Trueman. 2007. “Stumbling, Bumbling, Teleporting and Flying: Librarian Avatars in Second Life.” Reference Services Review 35(1):84-89.
Note: UCLA Library licensed journal. Search the UCLA Library Catalog under journal title: Reference Services Review.

Grassian, Esther, Rhonda B. Trueman and Patrice Clemson. 2007. “Stumbling, Bumbling, Teleporting and Flying: Librarian Avatars in Second Life: Selected Bibliography.” Reference Services Review 35(1):90-97.
Note: UCLA Library licensed journal. Search the UCLA Library Catalog under journal title: Reference Services Review.

Guest, Tim. 2007. Second Lives. London: Hutchinson.
SRLF: GV1469.17.S63 G84 2007

Harrison, Denise. 2009. Real-Life Teaching in a Virtual World. from Campus Technology

Harrison, Denise. 2009. Second Life: Engaging Virtual Campuses. from Campus Technology

Ludlow, Peter. 2007. The Second Life Herald: the Virtual Tabloid That Witnessed the Dawn of the Metaverse. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
College Library: GV1469.25.S425 L83 2007

Rampersad, Tara. 2007. Making Your Mark in Second Life: Business, Land and Money.
UCLA Library licensed online book. GV1469.25.S425
Search the UCLA Library Catalog under keyword: Rampersad Making Mark

Rymaszewski, Michael, et al. 2007. Second Life: the Official Guide. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley.

v3image. 2007. A Beginner’s Guide to Second Life. Las Vegas, NV: ArcheBooks Publishing, Inc.

Virtual Worlds and Libraries: Librarians and Educators in Second Life and Other Multi-User Virtual Environments, edited by Lori Bell and Rhonda B. Trueman. 2008. Medford, N.J.: Information Today, Inc.
YRL: Z678.83.S53 V57 2008

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