Director, Learning Technologies Program
Federation of American Scientists
Virtual Worlds (VWs) offer new opportunities to create, contextualize and share knowledge. New tools and platforms permit the modeling, reassembly and digital restoration of objects ranging from whole cities to individual bricks—together with the behaviors of virtual people and animals inhabiting the space. They can provide new forms of publishing and can link complex bodies of information together in ways that leverage the strengths and immediacy of visual communication. These environments are only beginning to be part of the scholar’s toolbox and many of the existing platforms and tools have not been designed to support scholarly research. The Federation of American Scientists has begun developing prototype technical tools and management processes to collect, render, peer-review, edit and preserve digital assets for 3D virtual environments. It is one of several initiatives by the Federation of American Scientists attempting to define the technical requirements of VW environments for scholarly use and a coherent strategy for understanding and leveraging their potentially unique capabilities for scholarly inquiry.