Exploring “Changing Tides” in Second Life – Part 1

After exchanging email addresses and Twitter and Facebook identities, our new project team on the module “Is One Life Enough?” of AlaskanThunder Resident, BowlingBallBill Resident and Mike Meltzer started to interpret the semester theme “changing tides” in an awesome first discussion with mixed up voice and text chat and flown away or by mistake teleported avatars at the for the occasion established project room at BABEL Language School, as not all classrooms are in use all the time.

We figured and concluded, that “changing tides” must be seen more as a criteria than as a theme for all, what we would visit and see on our way. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any surprises on our field trips.
But we agreed on, that it is to investigate on location, whether or not

  • A realistic impression and feeling of the eventually rebuilt place is possible
  • Interactivity with objects in the virtual environment is established
  • The location includes the use of “traditional” social media and incorporates it as a natural part of the possible perception of the virtual site.

We then came forward to an expectation of, that we would see examples of “changing tides” at Dublin, University of Texas and BABEL Language School and went on field trip to “Dublin Virtually Live”.


Trinity College at Dublin Virtually Life!

Dublin Virtually Live!

On three sims in the virtual world of Second Life, the city of Dublin, Ireland, is reshaped with historical monuments, architectonic sites, streets to walk around in, recent activities and parts of the city life exposed – all to be joined virtually. Also education has found a huge representation e. g. with Trinity College and Dublin Institute of Technology being represented and even with offered study modules.

As we see it for Dublin, many metropoles and cities have made their entrance in virtual worlds as a  joined venture of city actors such as universities, municipalities, tourist organisations and commercial interests. The attempt to make cities or regions visible not only by websites, but also through 3D modelling and shaping of interactive sites, has been noticeable since 2003/2004, when MUVEs (multi user virtual environments) had become graphically enriched, technically reliable and equipped with more intuitive user interfaces.
Other virtual cities and regions, which can be visited in Second Life, are Berlin, New York and Denmark.

Some remarkable and contemporary tools and approaches, which we determined in Dublin, were

  • Detailed modelled buildings, streets, sites and heritages along with a landscaping up and down the hills, which gives a fine impression of the real Dublin
  • Informative city maps with teleporting facility and engaging descriptions on signs in front of remarkable buildings, which invite to explore the city further
  • Interactive website and video boards with navigation options as we know them from our browser use.

This last feature mentioned above has come to Second Life late in 2009 and goes under the term “Shared Media”. It is till today only available with the Second Life Viewer 2 – not with third-party viewers such as Phoenix, Firestorm or Emerald.







The Book of Kells and Trinity College

After having been worked on from the late 6th century through the 9th century in monasteries in Ireland, the Book of Kells was sent to Dublin of safety reasons in 1654, when Kells Church was to house Cromwell’s cavalry.
It was given to Trinity College Dublin in 1661, where it has stayed since and has been the masterwork, that has gathered a huge international interest, because of the very well done and maintained state of the text and the many illustrations as well as the splendid iconographic work.


The Book of Kells – Excerpt from folio 15v

The book is build up from the 4 gospels of an early version of the Bible, the Vulgate, and carries significant icons of Irish culture such as the Celtic knots.

In two ways Trinity has moved and changed tides:

– The famous Book of Kells from ca. 800 has been shown in it’s digital copy from 2006 online at the Digital Collections portal of it’s library together with 5770 other titles in a fine and zoomable quality.
– As Ireland’s finest national treasure it is also exposed in the recreation of Trinity College at virtual Dublin, which intends to attract visitors to Dublin and Ireland.

These steps refer to the changed patterns of international research in times of a well developed internet and content provider’s structure, where taking part in knowledge exchange can be carried out from any internet connected computer.