reference work as gaming

“You Play World of Warcraft? You’re Hired! “ is an interesting article from Wired. It details positive workplace skills learned from playing the MMORPGWorld of Warcraft


“I used to worry about not having what I needed to get a job done,” he says. “Now I think of it like a quest; by being willing to improvise, I can usually find the people and resources I need to accomplish the task.”

That’s pretty much what I do at the Reference desk, all the time, isn’t it? Reference librarians embark on a “quest” to find a piece (or some pieces) of information. Sometimes that involves a “massively multiplayer” aspect when we connect with other people to find that information. Or when we directly connect patrons with other people or organizations. Maybe that’s why I like doing Reference work so much…it’s like a game!

4 thoughts on “reference work as gaming”

  1. I had not heard about World of Warcaft until I listened to an episode on a NPR Technology podcast several weeks ago. It is amazing how many people are playing the game worldwide. Thanks for the reference to this article. No doubt gaming is something educators should be paying more attention to. Microsoft certainly is, and I wonder whether or not before long gaming will become Microsoft’s bread and butter for income. I wish more students viewed the learning process as a quest in the terms you describe. I know educators and the attitude they have can be contagious. We need more teachers, librarians and principals who are inviting students on learning quests! :-)

  2. This is a real ‘Ouch’ for me. I had to *read* the Wired article before I really understood the pull of gaming! I am still a bit nervous about failing – but I like the idea of learning in a safe environment.
    By the way, I clearly read blogs, joined Flickr before it was bought by Yahoo, have had my own Palm since 2000, and did a public/training Skype & Jybe session with Michael Stephens in 2005, so I am not a technophobic luddite. I just had this blind spot with regard to gaming. Thanks for helping me get over it.

  3. It is an interesting insight that *failing* is something that you might have to get used to. You’re also right to note that, given the characteristics of video games, it can be safe to fail repeatedly, and learn in the process. I can remember being 8 years old – nearly 20 years ago now!! *gasp!* – and trying over and over to beat different sections of video games. Finishing the objective gave such satisfaction! Perhaps this early training is one reason why I’m so persistent today….or maybe I’m just stubborn!

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