Libraries and Museums Technology Working Group (LAM.TWG) CHARTER

CHARTER: Revised 2013-03-21. Visit LAM.TWG online for updates.

Authors: Jerome Yavarkovsky, Melissa Carrillo, H. Nicholas Nagel

Affiliations:Immersive Education Initiative, Smithsonian Latino Center, Boston College


Name: Libraries and Museums TWG

Identifier: LAM.TWG

Chairs: Jerome Yavarkovsky (Immersive Education Initiative), Melissa Carrillo (Smithsonian Latino Center)

Web site:

Standards process:

IP policy:



The Libraries and Museums Technology Working Group (LIB.TWG) is responsible for defining, implementing, evolving and maintaining applications and open standards related to the provision of library and museum services associated with Immersive Education.


LAM.TWG is open to all members of the Immersive Education Initiative having:

  1. Experience with real-world (physical) libraries or museums, or
  2. Experience with digital libraries or museums, or
  3. Extensive experience developing or using virtual worlds, simulators, video games or full, augmented or mixed reality (FAM).



In the age of Immersive Education libraries and museums are challenged to provide resources and personalized research and learning services that transcend physical space. Scholarly communication that once depended on printed books and journals is now network disseminated and enriched with the spectrum of multimedia—moving and still photo/video images, sound, animation, immersive 3D and virtual reality, simulation, executable code, large data sets—as well as interactive communication among reviewers and readers. Pedagogy that was predominantly an independent and competitive process for students outside class now makes greater use of collaboration, cooperation, and group study.

In addition to a changed learning and research environment, librarians face continually changing sources for the digital literature and other assets they acquire and make available, and continually changing tools for scholars to locate and use these resources. Management of the library enterprise is characterized by more complex and intense communication among librarians, and the delivery of library services is distinguished by the need for direct, personalized advice on what is available and instruction on how to use it. For the cultural worker in the museum field, the challenges are similar, leveraging the power of technology to deepen audience knowledge as well as to reach and to provide audiences with dynamic educational experiences and cultural content in meaningful, accessible and relevant ways.

Although library practice has been deeply technological for thirty years or more, and a cornerstone of research and course delivery, it is now constrained by the traditions of physical services in real buildings. Similarly, working relations among library staff and with consortial partners depend on traditional modes of email, telephone and process control systems. Certainly, ample opportunity exists to enable vastly greater efficiencies in communication through the use of virtual reality meetings and consultations.

In the field of museum education, the goal is to engage audiences in relevant and accessible ways. For example, the use of gaming technology and interactivity is leveraged to develop new ways of presenting museum objects, artifacts, artworks and contextualize them creating a myriad of connections and links which in turn opens up expanding spaces for new interpretations, new visualities and new knowledge. In addition, the interaction with digital audiences expands exponentially the museum experience.

The Libraries and Museums Technology Working Group is chartered to project library and museum services beyond the limits of the brick and mortar physical plant through the application of interactive 3D graphics and animation, video game and simulation technology, virtual reality, full, augmented and mixed reality (FAM), voice over IP, web cams and other rich digital media. These technologies can be leveraged today toward the creation of virtual collaborative study spaces, virtual information literacy programs, virtual research and course consultations, virtual interlibrary document management, and virtual service delivery to name just a few possibilities.


The overarching objective of the Libraries and Museums Technology Working Group is to lead the development of standards and technologies that enable the provision of library and museum services in support of Immersive Education. Toward that end, members of LAM.TWG aim to:

  1. Design and develop library and museum-specific client-side and server-side platform specification(s) and reference implementation(s).
  2. Design a specification and framework (with reference implementation) for the development of platform support, products and services for libraries and museums in the age of Immersive Education.
  3. Define and publish best practices for the provision and assessment of Immersive Education library and museum services.
  4. Define and publish best practices in the representation and interpretation of museum metadata in trans-media formats.
  5. Define and publish best practices for the design of immersive library and museum environments.
  6. Define and publish best practices in re-defining curatorial practices in emerging Immersive Education practices for representing and interpreting cultural heritage online.
  7. Identify and apply for collaborative funding opportunities to advance LAM.TWG activities and projects.
  8. Promote basic and applied research to increase knowledge and understanding of library and museum applications and services.
  9. Maintain an up-to-date bibliography of research studies and professional papers on libraries and museums in immersive environments.
  10. Promote networking and community building among practitioners and active users of immersive library and museum environments.


The criteria for success of the Libraries and Museums Technology Working Group are the adoption of standards developed for the implementation of library and museum services for Immersive Education and the successful development of a framework enabling individuals and organizations to create, assess and utilize those services. To achive these objectives the group will:

  1. Initiate research studies by LAM.TWG members (including multi-site, collaborative efforts) on immersive libraries and museums.
  2. Prepare and publish best practices for the design of immersive libraries and museums.
  3. Prepare and publish documents summarizing immersive library and museum environments and programs in current use.
  4. Prepare and publish best practices for delivering library and museum services within immersive environments.
  5. Prepare and publish best practices for reaching at-risk youth using Immersive Education museum services focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related immersive education activities in both virtual and real world applications.
  6. Develop and maintain an up-to-date digital library of scientific and professional information related to immersive libraries and museums.
  7. Establish an active community of LAM researchers, practitioners, and virtual world and video game users via face-to-face (FTF) and virtual meetings.


A. Immersive Education Study Rooms

Provide a collaborative learning environment which fosters communication, collaboration and cooperation in learning.


  1. Following a foreign language class in Japanese a group of American students gather in an Immersive Education study room in preparation for a virtual field trip to reinforce the classroom learning. The students use library services available in the study room to identify a virtual Japanese restaurant simulation and instantaneously "travel" to the virtual location. There, they are immediately paired with other participants in the simulation and walk through a restaurant experience which is a combination of scripted AI behavior and live interaction all of which reinforce the material gained in the classroom learning experience. They use a shared word processor to prepare notes on the experience.
  2. Following a class in Latin American studies a group of students meet in a virtual classroom and utilize library services to digest news feeds related to a specific topic of common interest. Voice chat is used to discuss and exchange political views which inform individual reports submitted to meet requirements for a subsequent class.
  3. Students planning a production of Macbeth, and investigating it in depth, use their collaborative study room to display images of the play’s First Folio to get a flavor of its original appearance, as well as a modern printing that they can compare with the original. They display video of selected scenes from film and television versions of the play to understand different character portrayals. They interview scholars of Shakespeare to explore nuances of character and to get different perspectives on the play, recording these interviews and sharing them via the collaborative and personal study spaces. The students display images of the Globe Theater or create a miniature three-dimensional model of the Globe to discuss it in the study space. Using a collaborative spreadsheet, the students create a budget for the production. Costumes, sets and furnishings are sketched and displayed in the study room. Individual students prepare their production assignments in their personal study room and bring their work to the collaborative room for discussion. The collaborative study room is used for table readings of the play as it is being rehearsed.

Use Case Diagram

Use Case Diagram A-1: Immersive Education Study Rooms

From this use case we can identify several classes of participant; students, educators, NPC's (artificial interactive participants) and content providers to name just some. A number of resource types also materialize; learning simulations, content repositories, news feeds. Educators and learners access content through shared applications (e.g., web browsers and word processors) and from there participate in collaborative learning experiences.

B. Immersive Real/Virtual Watershed Experiences

Provide bilingual educational virtual products along with real-world learning experiences to inspire and motivate, show career and life options, develop 21st Century skills, and explore Latino Identity.


The Smithsonian LVM Real/Virtual Watershed is an immersive environment in which students learn about real world ecological concepts related to sustainability and stewardship, as well as career opportunities in STEM-related fields. As a catalyst model for outreach and innovation, it targets Latino youth (K-12) and educators working in under-resources communities, increasing awareness of and participation in the STEM workforce via gaming, simulations, and virtual worlds. The model takes advantage of bilingual educational resources and is grounded in these areas: Focused Mentoring, Teacher Involvement, Parental Support, STEM Career Exposure, and the Development of 21st Century Skills. Career exposure content and elements particular to Latino culture are identified and reinforced in the game.

Use Case Diagram

Use Case Diagram B-1: The Smithsonian LVM Virtual Watershed ecosystem model on the Immersive Education Grid is a specific representation and interpretation of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

(PRODUCTION DIRECTIVE: Insert High-resolution Diagrams Here)

This use case engages several classes of participant: students, educators, museum professionals, scientists, and authentic Watershed simulations of flora and fauna. It provides successful strategies in Latino youth workforce development:

  1. Foundational skills, or effective communication, conflict resolution, problem-solving, and critical-thinking abilities, are necessary to healthy social relationships and to the workplace.
  2. Leadership and personal development activities empower Latino youth to demonstrate and strengthen individual skills by setting their personal, educational, and career goals and devising a plan of action to meet them at their own pace.
  3. Educational attainment is an integral part of Latino youth’s success.
  4. Workforce readiness skills, which encompass workplace etiquette, responsibility, self-esteem, time management, and social networking, are essential to Latino youth’s economic mobility.
  5. Career exploration helps Latino youth set, prioritize, and meet their personal, educational, and career goals.


LAM.TWG teleconference and/or virtual world meetings are held once a month, with additional teleconferences or in-world meetings arranged at the discretion of the group.

Face-to-face (FTF) meetings are one to three-day sessions held approximately twice a year, with additional meetings arranged at the discretion of the group. To maximize working relationships between the LAM.TWG and relevant standards bodies and vendor organizations, FTF meetings may be held in conjunction with industry events, standards meetings, or on location at member or collaborator organizations. All FTF meetings are announced through the group’s mailing list and website.


The proceedings of this Technology Working Group are confidential and restricted to members of this group. As an open-standards organization, and in recognition of the need for ongoing accountability to the general public, will periodically publish a public summary of all technical decisions (together with rationales for these decisions) made by this group since the last public summary. Deliverables produced by this group will be provided to experts and collaborators for review prior to being furnished to the general public.



Contents subject to change. Early access restricted to Immersive Education Initiative Chapter board members, Technology Working Group (TWG) chairs and iED 2012 participants.