Second Life is a 3D world that is free to use at its most basic level. You can find information on Second Life at http://www.secondlife.com/. To get started you need to register on the site and create an 'avatar'. Your avatar is simply the computer-generated person or identity you use in the 3D world. You also need to download some software to your machine which will allow you to enter the Second Life world (available for Windows, Mac, and Linux). You do this when you register.
The Western Front project is looking at how virtual worlds can create opportunities to do things that are impossible in 'real' museums. By simulating parts of the Western Front, the WW1 Poetry Archive can embed an entire exhibition's worth of content within in the space. This can be further enhanced by placing digital versions of real archival materials and narratives along the paths that visitors take. The result is an immersive and personal experience. It's not 'real' but it does offer possibilities for understanding a part of history that is now beyond human memory.
For more information about this work and how to get to the island please visit the First World War Poetry Digital Archive.
The Computing Services ran a competition for staff and students who were interested in building 3D vertual environments. Some screen shots of the island are available on the Frideswide Flickr web site.
There is a mailing list (firstname.lastname@example.org) for Oxford staff members to discuss Second Life. To subscribe to the mailing list, send a blank message to email@example.com. You will get an automated response email asking you to confirm that you really want to subscribe. Then, once the subscription request is approved by the moderators you will be subscribed.
We have also put together a short Second Life: Frequently Asked Questions page to answer common questions.
For any other questions, in the first instance please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.