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Syracuse University Libraries

Virtual Information Literacy Live Augmented Game Experience (VILLAGE)

What is VILLAGE?

Virtual Information Literacy Live Augmented Game Experience (VILLAGE) is a project team made up of librarians and students at Syracuse University Libraries. Our goal is to develop an open-source library-theme 'escape room' game using virtual reality (VR) technology, with a special interest in exploring the intersection of VR with information literacy (IL)

Visit our GitHub for more information, or reach out to Juan Denzer or Natalie LoRusso with questions or ideas at any time.

Background

Virtual reality (VR) has gained greater attention in recent years due to its increased accessibility with both cost and technological advancements. Devices such as the Meta Quest (formerly Oculus Quest 2) are less expensive, easier to maintain, develop, and distribute. Stanford University offered their first for-credit course offered in VR, Comm 166/266, where students collectively attended class in a synchronous, virtual environment.

Libraries have embraced new technologies for both research and teaching needs in academics, including gamification of information literacy concepts. Up until now, libraries have only explored and successfully implemented escape rooms in the real world or online using two-dimensional spaces (as seen with storyboard web pages). We aim to explore the implications of combining information literacy concepts and critical analysis of information, in a virtual environment. 

The project will also address the following:

  • How quickly and easily can a VR game be developed using little to no coding.

  • The effectiveness of a VR game for information literacy. 

  • The viability of distribution of the source code for the project.

  • ROI for libraries and institutions.

  • Feasibility of implementation of a VR session.

Team Members

Juan Denzer, Lead Project Manager and Developer

  • Juan is the Engineering and Computer Science Librarian at Syracuse University. He has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Binghamton University and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University at Buffalo. Juan has over 25 years of experience in programming and computer technology.

Natalie LoRusso, Project Manager

  • Natalie is the Reference and User Experience Librarian at Syracuse University Libraries. She has a Master of Library and Information Studies from Syracuse University and occasionally teaches Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) to undergraduates in the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. Natalie has 8+ years of experience in libraries, and is primarily interested in user research and design.

Chloe Guedalia, Game Designer

  • Chloe is a Master's in Library and Information Science student and Information Literacy Scholar at Syracuse University. She works at Syracuse University's Bird Library with the Learning and Academic Engagement and Information Literacy Departments. She is primarily interested in academic liaison librarianship, research data management, and scholarly communication, but she finds interest in many topics across the field.

Cheng Zhongquan (Peter), Game Developer and Designer

  • Peter is a sophomore studying Computer Science in Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University. He is interested in computer programming, game development, social justice, and philosophy.

Rachel Hogan, Game Designer

  • Rachel is a Master's in Library and Information Science student at Syracuse University. She is also an Information Literacy Scholar at Syracuse University Libraries and works with the Learning and Academic Engagement Department, the Information Literacy Department, and the Special Collections Department. Her interests are academic librarianship, digital humanities, and information literacy for graduate students.

Special thanks to Alayna Vander Veer ('22) for her contributions to this project.