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The mediation of reading by online games

ome excerpts from this text come from a scientific article published in the journal Documentation et Libraries, number 58-2 (April-June 2012) , co-authored by Claude Ayerdi-Martin and myself.

In my lectures, I often try to explain that librarians often have strong skills in the field of gamification. For ages, libraries have given themselves the mission of giving a taste for reading / the pleasure of reading. This mission often remains vague, without any real concept to frame it and it is often approached in an experimental way. But if we look at it, it is the first step towards a playful structure around reading. It is not for nothing that the reading clubs have quickly seized the concept of games (pointing, competition, exploration, etc.) to motivate readers. All this while the taste for reading is in loss everywhere in the world (except in some countries including Canada, Albania, Japan and Germany).

This is included in a larger trend where librarians are increasing their attempts to reach their customers on more and more diversified technological supports: social networks, virtual worlds, video sharing sites, etc. It is through these initiatives, which are in continuity with the general idea of ​​reaching users where they are , that librarians are interested in creating original games online, a leisure activity that reaches 27% of the Quebec population . Currently, this type of creation exists primarily to attract youth to the youth sectors of Canadian public library websites.

That’s why I have a lot of respect for the TD Summer Reading Club . In addition to offering a fun avenue in its library presence, they also set up a gamified website. Over the summer, we have been hired to design three games for the TD Summer Reading Club. These games, all in all simple enough, are added to an effective website where the game becomes a pretext for the taste of reading.

And the results are at the rendezvous: More than 4000 people took part in the games of jokes and 1200 comments (English and French) were registered on the games of conceptions of fairies and robots.

Two of the three games created for the TD Summer Reading Club: Robot and Fairy

These games are mediation games used to showcase aspects of the book club. Here is an excerpt from his definition from the article The Gamification of Digital Mediation: The Design of Specialized Online Games for Libraries.

Mediation games
Les jeux de médiation sont des jeux qui servent principalement à faire la médiation d’un produit, d’un service ou d’une institution. Les jeux de médiation ont la particularité de prioriser le contenu plutôt que le divertissement, l’objectif étant que les joueurs s’intéressent aux produits proposés et même parfois qu’ils en apprennent davantage sur ceux-ci. L’aspect ludique sert surtout à préserver le plus longtemps possible le contact entre les joueurs et le produit. Ainsi, contrairement aux jeux d’accroche, la reconnaissance du produit s’effectue de manière directe.

It is for this reason that many cultural institutions favor this type of game to get in touch with their customers via their web spaces. Radio-Canada and Télé-Québec now use online games to promote the websites of their television programs. Museum Eden and 19-2 are two examples of television series that use games to encourage the public to continue the online experience. Games related to television series are usually staggered over several weeks, giving the public a taste of returning to the site and they serve to build audience loyalty by offering supplements throughout the season.

In Quebec, museums are also adept at mediation games that add an interactive aspect to an exhibition. For example, the McCord Museum offers a series of complex and diverse games to interest people in exhibitions. The games allow to offer an original playful experience to make known the next exhibitions or those that are on display.

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