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I went to a session on Virtual Worlds at the 2008 OLA Conference that looked at Second Life as a venue for all kinds of business operations, including library reference work.  Apparently there are a series of islands within Second Life called the Information Archipeligo, in which staff from 50 libraries around the world offer reference support to any person (avatar) who wanders in with a question. 

Some of the librarians in the audience seemed dubious as to the value of this sort of library interface.  But it might be a useful resource for bridging the informational divide between some populations.  Virtual Reference may be one more avenue to making the library more accessible and user friendly to populations that think the library is outdated, or has nothing of value to offer their particular interest group.  It seems plausible…

UPDATE: If not Second Life, perhaps MySpace, FaceBook or World of Warcraft could be a venue for virtual reference?  If not now, perhaps in ten or twenty years?  See the comments for my discussion of the pros and cons of virtual reference with another session attendee.

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