Togashi Jun is a librarian at the University of South Dakota who came to Second Life three years ago to experiment with library displays.  The University of South Dakota Libraries have been undergoing major reorganization. There used to be two libraries in one building: ID Weeks Library (main library), and Lommen Health Sciences Library. The libraries were merged into one, which freed up space on the first floor of the building where the Lommen library used to be. Under a new dean, the librarians at the University of South Dakota are now moving to bring other student services into the building in a move to make the library even more of a center piece on campus.

Some of the services that will be brought in are the writing center, the IT help desk, the career development center, the math help center and supplemental instruction, academic advising, and tutoring. With this many new services coming into the building there was a need to design the physical space. The space is being designed in the traditional method with an architect doing the preliminary design.

Togashi thought this would be a good opportunity to promote the use of Second Life by developing a 3D model based on the architect’s plan and sharing that with various constituencies around campus. The university has not developed a SL presence yet, so he needed to scale the model down to roughly the size of a tiny avatar.

Initially Togashi attempted to establish a scale and manually place all of the objects. When this proved too frustrating, he scanned the original layout of the library and brought the texture into SL and put it on a 50 x 50 megaprim. He built the walls, pillars etc. according to this plan.

When the new plan was available, Togashi was able to then quickly adjust it to reflect the new design. When the dean introduced the plan to the library, Togashi was in the background walking through the model to each part of the building as she talked about it. Most of the new construction will be glass walls, and Togashi was able to represent that in SL by using a glass block texture.

In addition to using Second Life for library design, Togashi is excited about the capabilities for bringing the internet into SL with the new browser.  He hopes it will revolutionize library presences in Second Life.  Now, instead of linking catalogs, librarians can bring them directly into SL.  These capabilities will also improve the use of Second Life for conferencing and community, which are Togashi’s favorite part about SL.  He is looking forward to a day when using Second Life for conferences is common place, particularly if the economy continues to make travel for conferences difficult for professional educators.  Togashi would like to see more library associations develop, or at least make use of, spaces in SL.

Previously, Togashi had been working on using holo technology to make displays that would change to make greater use of space.  However, thanks to the new browser’s ability to put a web page on any surface, the possibilities are literally endless.  Togashi believes this is a significant step towards creating a 3D internet.  For example, a library could potentially have a bookshelf displaying books and, depending on which author was selected, the books could change to display actual book covers, showing people the real resources.

Togashi heard about the Educators Coop through another organization, joined right away, and has owned land with the Coop ever since.  His main involvement with the Educators Coop has been keeping an eye on how libraries are developing in Second Life.  He also presented at the Brick & Click Symposium last fall, and an article was published in the proceedings.  Togashi also works with Indian Studies and the local Indian Community in South Dakota as a liaison to the American Indian Studies Department and is responsible for the book selection in that area.  There is also a Native American center where he holds office hours once a week.

The name Togashi Jun is a combination of Togashi’s wife’s family name, and a role-playing character he created long ago.

In “real life,” Togashi Jun is Dr. David Alexander, the Digital Access Manager (an academic librarian) at the University of South Dakota.  He manages the interlibrary loan and serials departments, plus work with maintaining the university’s electronic resources.  Togashi has a BS in Business Administration from Truman State University, a MA in Asian Civilizations, a MA in Library and Information Science from the University of Iowa, and an EdD in Adult and Higher Education from The University of South Dakota.