Taylor & Francis is now moving from their old, informaworld platform to Taylor & Francis Online tomorrow, June 2. They have scheduled downtime from approximately 1 – 3 am. Here’s hoping for a smooth transition!
Archive for May, 2011
By Mita Williams
Mita Williams is the User Experience Librarian at the Leddy Library at the University of Windsor. She has been playing games as long as she can remember. Recently, her experience in alternative reality games led to a role as a game runner for Urgent Evoke, a 10 week crash course on changing the world that was sponsored by the World Bank Institute and designed by Jane McGonigal.
The books I have selected for this month’s Five Books are some of the ones that took me from a time and place when I thought of games as just for leisure to a new land, where games are for leisure but also for learning, health, collaboration and community.
When does Tic-Tac-Toe cease to be fun to play? My favourite answer is from Raph Koster: when the players have learned all the patterns and the game no longer seems novel. Koster’s A theory of fun for game design (GV1469.17.S63 K67 2005 – 2nd Floor, Main Building) is the best introduction to the idea that games are all about learning and it is presented with enough whimsical and illuminating text and cartoons that it delivers the fun that it also seeks to understand.
There have been others who have noticed that children are very happy spending many hours playing some of the most difficult video games but are admittedly less motivated to engage likewise when learning within the classroom. James Paul Gee, who wrote the next selection What video games have to teach about learning and literacy (GV1469.3 .G44 2004 – 2nd Floor, Main Building and online) is a professor of social linguistics with a background education, and is, as such, well positioned to understand the different literacies involved in reading and game-playing. One of Gee’s most recent posts is 10 Truths About Books and What They Have to Do With Video Games and after his ten described “truths” about books, Gee describes four properties of video games.
And one of Gee’s properties of video games is: “Games can lead to more than thinking like a designer; they can lead to designing, since players can “mod” many games, i.e., use software that comes with the game to modify it or redesign it.” At the moment there are some very ambitious projects, such as the Quest to Learn school, that work from the premise that designing games can provide even greater opportunities for learning than playing games. The Art of Game Design (QA 76.76 .C672 S34 2008 – 3rd Floor, Main Building) by game designer Jesse Schell is a highly recommended book about game design.
Game designer Jane McGonigal makes the case that games can go much farther than the realm of formal learning in her recent book, Reality is broken : why games make us better and how they can change the world (GV 1201.38 .M34 2011 – 2nd Floor, Main Building). McGonigal tells us that we can build stronger and more collaborative communities by playing bigger and better games. We might even be able to change the world.
Many people know Stewart Brand as the founder of Whole Earth Catalog but not many know that he was also a founder of the New Games Foundation. The book New Games? (GV1201 .N415 1976 – Leddy: CRC Circulating Books – West Building, 1st Floor) is a collection of these new games and if you are a child of the 1970s (as I am) you may remember their classic earth ball and parachute games. The New Games Foundation was very influential to many of today’s games designers. In this interview between Stewart Brand and Jane McGonigal, Brand suggests that game playing encourages rule changing and rule changing is one means to change the world. Game on!
Please be aware that Leddy Library is closed May 23rd for Victoria Day.
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This summer the Leddy Library and the Humanities Research Group is sharing some of the Digital Humanities Work currently being done on campus through a Summer Series. This Brown Bag Series will be a set of four informal talks that will occur in the middle of each month at the Leddy Library during the summer. Consider yourself invited!
Wednesday, May 18th
Open Source options for Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
Art Rhyno, Leddy Library
11:30 am to 12:30 pm in the 4th floor boardroom at Leddy
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a process to convert images into machine-readable text. These images are typically acquired through scanning equipment. The OCR steps in to supply the text for the content of the images, which can then be used for full text indexing and other kinds of value added services for the digital resource. Although Open Source Software (OSS) forms the basis of the world’s largest digital library projects, including the Internet Archive’s mass digitization initiative and the Library of Congress American Memory project, the one exception to the use of OSS has often been in the area of OCR, where commercial packages, most often ABBYY, have been deployed.
Please join us!
The Leddy Library was part of the University of Windsor’s Science Rendezvous on May 7th with some Citizen Science:
A citizen scientist is a volunteer who collects and/or processes data as part of a scientific inquiry. The roots of citizen science go back to the very beginnings of modern science itself.
Our display features a number of projects that make use of citizen participation in data collection and refinement:
- The Audubon Christmas Bird Count
- Nature Watch (WormWatch, Frog Watch, Ice Watch, PlantWatch)
- Zooniverse (GalaxyZoo, MoonZoo, OldWeather, SolarStormWatch)
- Gulf Spill Oil Tracker
Our display also highlights scientific papers that report on the growing number of citizen science projects:
- Citizen Science: Can Volunteers Do Real Research?
- Thinking scientifically during participation in a citizen‐science project
- Marine invasive species: validation of citizen science and implications for national monitoring networks
- Citizen science as a tool for conservation in residential ecosystems
Oh yes, and we have books!
In the middle of the display are two wordclouds dedicated to data.
As a library, we are re-thinking how we can host data so that it might act as a platform for work by both scientists and citizen scientists.
On the floor of the display is only a sample of the full 22 pages needed to print out all of the authors of Galaxy Zoo2.