Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Archiving chat sessions in SL

by Ross Perkins

My response to a question posted on the Second Life Researcher's Listserv:

Does anyone know if there is a way to archive chat sessions from SL? Also, are there any types of tracking methods in SL that can be used to gather data for research?

One easy way to do [collect chat transcripts] (if you are in the conversation) is bring up the chat history (CTRL+H), then hit select all (CTRL+A) and then copy (CTRL+C) and paste (CTRL+P) to a document. However... the bad part about this is that all conversation - even whispers - get recorded. The other issue is that EVERYONE who talks must give consent to you 'recording' their chat - otherwise you have to delete it in later editing.

A tool that has been around a while is the NoteTaker 2.0 by Eloise Pasteur (sold for L$500 through the ICT Shop in the ICT Library on Info Island, and can be found in other places). This device only records the chat of people who touch it... so therefore the consent aspect is taken care of. Further, it only records chat - and not open channel general chatter. The transcripts are mailed to an email address that you put on a notecard.

There are both close-ended (multiple choice) scripts available, as well as open-ended tools. The MC format script is free and at the ICT Library - it is also "in use" - as there is a short survey to the left when you walk in that uses it. The open-ended device is a tool made/sold by Luc Aubretec (I think that spelling is correct). It looks like a clipboard, and people type in a channel command before entering their answers. This confuses newbies a little, but the instructions are clear enough should people choose to read them.

I'm sure there are other tools - like SLOODLE - that can capture chat. If you learn of more, please let me know so I can make other researchers/educators aware of them!

I'm sure you are well aware of all the consent issues that you need to take care of before collecting actual data, so I won't get on a soap box here.

1 comment:

Daniel Livingstone said...

The Sloodle chat-cast enables the archiving of chats in a Moodle database. This makes retrieval simple, web-based and access controlled - limiting access to people who have rights to access a Moodle course. It also acts a bridge between a Moodle chatroom and SL - potentially enabling participants who for some reason cannot access SL.

The in-world device is TOS compliant, and requires avatars to give their permission before their chat is recorded.