A final project report from the Alliance Library System marks the latest chapter in an exciting experiment funded by the Greater Midwest Region of the National Library of Medicine (GMR/NNLM).
The project, entitled “Providing Consumer Health Outreach and Library Programs to Virtual World Residents in Second Life” provided outreach to virtual medical communities, health training and information for residents of Second Life, links to consumer health resources, one-on-one support to residents, and part-time staffing for HealthInfo Island.
Carol Perryman, a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an experienced medical and consumer health librarian, coordinated the project. She stated, ” Participation in such an environment challenges the creative imagination. What is a library collection in a place where proprietary resources are out of the question? We feel collaboration is part of the answer.”
“We are thrilled to have been part of this exciting and ground-breaking new project and providing quality health information to residents of Second Life,” said Kitty Pope, Executive Director of the Alliance Library System. “Virtual worlds hold great promise for people with chronic health conditions and for people seeking information on health.”
Working with Perryman on the project was Guus van den Brekel, Coordinator of Electronic Services, Central Medical Library, University Medical Center, Groningen. Tom Peters, CEO of TAP Information Services, evaluated the project and authored the final report.
On HealthInfo Island, the first version of World AIDS day was observed, along with a class on finding quality AIDS and HIV information, a series of presentations by health educators and support group leaders whose “real life” locations were all over the world. A “Path of Support” created by a member of the disability community called the Heron Sanctuary, displays some of the more than 70 health support groups active in Second Life. Other events included a panel discussion about design for accessibility, a presentation about grassroots activism for disability activitists, and a casual question-and –answer session with a diabetes support group and an internal medicine physician in Greece.
For more information, please contact Carol Perryman at firstname.lastname@example.org
The report is available here.