It’s always a shame when good sessions have few attendees, probably because of competing conference sessions. Such was the case with "Creating Games & Services With Digital Natives." It was next door to the Pecha Kucha presentations (and the laughter from that session came right through the dividing wall). Krista Godfrey, from McMaster University, and Amy Buckland, from McGill University, gave a wonderfully coordinated presentation on their efforts in introducing reference service in the virtual world of Second Life. They agreed that the future of virtual world reference (and they weren’t limiting this to SL, although that’s mostly what they talked about) revolves around creativity, the ability to experiment with new technologies. Incorporating digital natives, through student projects and feedback, helps make projects successful. McGill’s SL island was designed by a student as part of his master’s thesis. Libraries in SL shouldn’t duplicate what’s available in the non-virtual world, nor duplicate how things are done. Both librarians believe stongly that higher education is moving towards virtual worlds to deliver learning experiences for digital natives. I was surprised, however, when they said that many of students at their respective universities are not in SL. I wonder if sometimes we information professionals are too far ahead of our clientele.
Following the "Mc’ers" were Erik Boekesteijn and Jaap Van De Geer, explaining how they build the game Dark Ink. This was a joint project of Delft Public Library and the University of Delft, which was interesting because apparently the two libraries hadn’t done anything cooperatively in the past. Erik and Jaap also stressed the importance of involving the digital natives in the design process and the critical role of creativity.