Last night I stumbled across this machinima when I was looking for German sims in Second Life. I feel in love with Bayerische Stattsbibliothek - The Bavarian State Library instantly. The machinima was 4 years old so I was not sure Bayerische Staatsbibliothek still existed in Second Life.
I tried to search the slurl (the address of a certain location inside virtual world Second Life) of the library and .... BINGO! I found it. I was amazed that the Bavarian State Library used their virtual representation actively. Here's the library official website with a page about their virtual representation: http://www.bsb-muenchen.de/Virtuelle-Services-in-Second-Life.2264.0.html
I have heard that a number of major libraries in the world opened their virtual representation in Second Life but I didn't really spend time to learn about how they used virtual world to expand their library service. I finally got my call to learn about it after washing dishes last night. (Oh well...I do think about serious things sometimes when I do the dishes, not merely about the rising egg price.)
I landed in front of a huge teleport map in front of the virtual Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. The teleport map is especially useful for visitors who are not familiar with the physical library. They can explore the virtual building before the visit the library. 9 major parts of the library represented in virtual world are more than enough to give first time library user a sense of direction. Those parts are Friedrich von Gärtner saal, Ausstellung, Marmorsaal, Lesesaal, Treppenhaus, Fürstensaal (my favorite room), info center, innenhof 1, and innenhof 2.
I was astonished by the reproduction of the library in Second Life which was almost true to the original. (Except the real building is much more luxurious than the one in SL - See the slideshow) Nevertheless, the virtual library can still serve the purpose that is initiated by the library, which is to provide a place for the library users to interact, communicate, learn, play, and trade knowledge virtually.
I learned that due to copyright issue, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek could not lend their books to users in virtual world. So what is a library without books, right? I am not a fan of copyright. (My publisher friends will give me a mean look when they read this) In the future when copyright is no longer an issue, a virtual library can function like a real library. Technically it is possible to publish, lend, borrow, and read books in virtual world. For the mean time, I was satisfied with the non copyrighted books, such as historic books which were available at virtual Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. The library brought their historic books collection to virtual world and converted them into 3D book. Some books dated back in the year 1200s. What a treasure!
I got more excited about the idea of virtual publishing after my virtual visit to this 450 years old library in Munchen. Perhaps, I should contact the librarian and ask him if I my students can display their virtual books there. That will be something.
I am glad I could spend some time to explore a part of the first Chinese emperor's mausoleum in Second Life (SL) this morning before I got stuck in my morning ritual. It was totally amazing. When I teleported to the site, I felt like I experienced what John Man wrote on his book "The Terra Cotta Army: China's First Emperor and the Birth of a Nation." (Oh well...almost. lol)
John Man started his journey from Xian, the place where the terracotta army was found and I started my journey right in front of a dark cave with a narrow opening in SL. There was a huge mound near the cave that I assumed was the Qin emperor's tomb.
The cave tunnel was dark and creepy. At the end of the tunnel, there were three pits with terracotta armies in them. I read the book and it was said that initially there were four pits in the location but one pit was not filled by the time the construction ceased. According to the book, there were more than 8000 terracotta warriors uncovered from the ground. I was sure the number of warriors at the burial site in SL was not that many. I could find many horses in the pits but no chariots as described in the book.
One might ask this about this virtual replica of the terracotta army: How can we even learn if the replica of real historic place in virtual world is not accurate? Funny enough, I learned a lot from the inaccuracy of terracotta army in SL. It motivated me to read John Man's book to find the claws in the replica. I kept the book for a while because I found description after description in the book confusing. With no pictures at all in the book, except maps, I couldn't relate myself to the first emperor of China through what he had left behind.
Honestly, because the replica of the terracotta army I visited in SL was not very accurate, I didn't feel like I visited just another tourism spot in China with crowds everywhere. The solemnness of the terracotta army burial site in SL helped me imagine the towering personalities of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, who combined leadership, vision and, RUTHLESSNESS.
Hey, did I tell you that I could walk through the pits and be among the earthen warriors? I must say you will not come this close to the warriors even if you can afford to go to Xian, unless you are Queen Elizabeth II of course. And you cannot possibly keep a set of terracotta army for your class in real life but in virtual world, you can have the virtual version of them for just 1700 L$ (7 US$ / 65.000 rupiah) Happy exploring!