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Gamifying the University Library

Walsh, Andrew (2011) Gamifying the University Library. In: Online Information Conference 2011, 29th November - 1st December 2011, London. (Submitted)

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We like to bring an element of fun and games into our information literacy teaching when we can, whether that is using crosswords, treasure hunts, or light hearted videos, but we hadn't before brought games, along with the technology and social nature of web 2.0, into the core of the library. We're currently changing this and have created a social, online game based around using the library resources working with a creative outfit (Running in the Halls - Called Lemon Tree, it brings ideas of gamification right into the centre of library activities. There are many applications, often available as applications for smartphones, which turn everyday tasks into chances to win points, badges and other virtual rewards, and share them with your social networks. Location based networks typify this idea and have exploded in popularity recently, with networks such as Foursquare ( and Gowalla ( allowing you to 'check in'� to various locations, to share that activity with friends, become Mayor� of a location or win badges for different types of activity. A more extreme version of this gamification of everyday activity is Epic Win (, which allows you to create a to do� list and play that list as though it is a game, gaining rewards for completing each task. Lemon Tree takes these ideas of virtual rewards and inbuilt social networks and turns common interactions with the library into a game. Users are able to link Lemon Tree to their library record, winning points and badges by activities such as taking books out, leaving comments on books, and borrowing a range of items. They build their own social network within Lemon Tree, but the system also links to existing networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Lemon Tree feeds back into our systems as well, so comments left on a book left by a student will appear on our library catalogue for everyone to see, regardless as to whether they choose to play and interact with Lemon Tree. The rewards users can gain through Lemon tree are developing as we see what works and what our users enjoy, with a massive range of options possible. We are particularly interested though in engaging those people who we know come into our library, but borrow very few books and rarely access our electronic resources. If we can make it fun for them to use the information resources we have and increase their usage then Lemon Tree will have succeeded for us. This is the first time the details of Lemon Tree will have been presented at a conference.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z719 Libraries (General)
Schools: Computing and Library Services
Computing and Library Services > Centre for Innovation in Information Services
School of Education and Professional Development > Centre of Lifelong Learning and Social Justice > Technology Enhanced Learning Research Group
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Andrew Walsh
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2011 16:18
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 21:12


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