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Conference Afternoon Programs

June 24, 2007

I went to two interesting programs this afternoon. The first, sponsored by ACRL, was on gaming. James Paul Gee, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, explained the many ways that video games incorporate good learning principles. Some of these principles include the following: 1) they lower the consequences of failure; 2) they encourage players to think about systems and relationships, not just isolated events, facts, and skills; 2) learning is embodied and affective (emotional). He encouraged librarians to not just read a story to children, but to play a video game with them. George Needham, Vice-President Member Services at OCLC, then spoke about what librarians can learn from gamers. He suggested that we should rethink how we deliver services. IM and text messaging are ways that we can hit people where they are, when they really need it.

The second program was sponsored by LITA. It was a panel discussion with the librarians from the “Google Five” libraries and Adam Smith, Product Developer from Google. They gave an update on the status of this project. There were some problems like unbarcoded books, brittle paper, and binding; but, the librarians all seemed to feel that these were minor and that the benefits far outweighed the problems. Dale Flecker, from Harvard University, suggested that because of the project text mining would become a new research field.

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