| The iUni project is an exciting collaboration between the
School of Library
and Information Science (SLIS) and University
Information Technology Services (UITS), primarily involving the Advanced
Visualization Laboratory (AVL). Initiated in Summer 2001, the project's
goal is to provide a 3D web-based collaboration mechanism for all Indiana
University (IU) faculty, staff and students on any of the eight IU campuses,
located throughout the state of Indiana. Representatives from both SLIS
and the AVL chose Activeworlds.com's
Universe software for the initial solution because of its already existing
userbase among IU faculty and students as well as the Internet community.
The software allows participants to create and maintain every detail of their own 3D world, from claiming real estate to building advanced 3D structures and/or visualization scenarios to writing programs that interact with their world. Once inside a world, all participants are represented by avatars and can see and chat with other participants in real-time.
Those who do not need their own world can still join in on the collaboration by registering as a an iUni citizen and logging into one of the existing iUni worlds using the freely available iUni browser.
Possible uses of this software include: (a) online course instruction where the class is allocated a world and students enter and learn interactively through exploration, and (b) advanced visualization worlds where experts meet other collaborators with the joint goal of visual data exploration (i.e. medical, molecular, architectural).