2. On the role of gaming in libraries or information organisations. Do you see a place for it?
Gaming, or gamification, is a useful concept that can enhance and be applicable to any information organisation or service. It is defined as, “The application of game elements in non-gaming situations, often to motivate or influence behavior” (Educause, 2011, p. 1). This can further be said to support an immersive, social, and goal-influenced and decision-making behaviour in a constructive learning environment (Oblinger, 2006, para. 3). It is a current social trend, with a “semi-universal social platform” as supporting framework for gaming to permeate how we live, in broad terms (Kim, 2012, para. 2). There is a “place” and “role” for it particularly in how information or knowledge are communicated and retrieved. In considering the facets of a library, ‘gamification’ could be utilised to support the functionality of services, such as how to borrow out an item, and to highlight collections (Kim, 2012, para.5). However, it should be noted that it would enhance and provide another way of perceiving services, alongside other methods to cater for the multitude of different users who utilise the ‘library’ space, both physically and virtually.
It is important, as mentioned by Katya Henry, that rather than put game mechanics onto content, content should be designed around a game (2012). Individuals have an innate sense of curiosity, and engagement and understanding can be heightened by playing games and having fun (Kim, 2012, para. 4). To expand upon this, it has been concluded that ‘gaming’ can encourage engagement through involvement, interaction, intimacy and influence, with these factors acting upon an individual’s emotional and mental needs (Shaw, 2011, para. 5). It has often been identified that through gaming people can feel a sense of achievement but also be motivated to undertake tasks that are “epic” in value, but achievable. As such many forward-thinkers, such as presenters of Ted Talks, have questioned why big problems of the world can not be undertaken and simulated to that of the benefits of gaming (TedxTalks, 2011). However, on the scale of supporting library and information services, gaming can be a significant factor in contributing to sharing and enhancing the experience of reading and retrieving, communicating, exploring, and presenting knowledge.
In libraries and information organisations, there is generally some sort of gaming console and devices to enable mobile technology, like laptops. However, most professionals are looking to enhance gaming, and support ‘gamification’ through different ways. In consideration of the New York Public Library ‘Find the Future’ experience undertaken to construct a book based upon exploring hundreds of materials, there is the potential to use ‘gamification’ beyond the traditional reading and sharing experience, or ‘book club’ experience (Henry, 2012). Such as utilising video, music and image creating software as a new way to share; however also directing this towards a “seen” sustainable and worthwhile goal that is perceived by those involved. It can create awareness of other materials, by beginning a focus and then encouraging ‘thinking outside the box’ when approaching finding and communicating the information (Educause, 2011). This is again not dissimilar to the Twitter activity of ‘collection fishing’, and noting these connections I think intermingling aspects with other ‘gamification mechanics’ can support individuals further.
Many other services have “latched on” to this understanding my supporting play-based learning, for example in educational contexts, to facilitate exploring which constructs and builds upon an individual’s learning, which is active in both the physical and virtual sense. Gaming, for example, through ‘HopeLab: Zamzee’, has provided a reward system for being physically active, and from which time converts into points which they can invest into their avatar that they hold within a social, virtual community (TedxTalks, 2011). Through “fun” and a “sense of community connection”, individuals can participate and gain both individual benefits and community achievement. It does present an interesting understanding of the level of interaction ‘gaming’ can have to the “real world”. For example, many researchers caution the potential risks of extreme immersion to ‘gaming’, not dissimilar to the infiltration of technology devices into current society (Educause, 2011). It is personally considered that there would need to be some sort of balance to ensure that the real world is still discernable from the ‘virtual’. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly that there are also options for individuals who despite the benefits of ‘gaming’ would prefer to retrieve and share information and knowledge through a way that they feel most common.
Educause. (2011). 7 things you should know about… gamification. Retrieved from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7075.pdf
Henry, K. (2012, September 26). INN333 gamification [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3A8RU_IWsxI
Kim, B. (2012, August 7). Why gamify and what to avoid in library gamification [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://acrl.ala.org/techconnect/?p=1633
Oblinger, D. (2006, January 1). Games and learning [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/games-and-learning
Shaw, E. (2011, September 24). 4 reasons every online brand should explore gamification strategies [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2011/09/23/gamification-strategies/
TedxTalks. (2011, July 17). TEDxSantaCruz: Catherine Aurelio – Gamification [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jSzwSJmzRY