Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Little Delayed, but...

We'll be at ALA Annual, doing a poster session on Monday from 11-12:30. You can find us at Table 5 (if you're not going to see Julie Andrews, that is).

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Information Literacy Game Problem

A few people attempting to adapt the Game for their library have written to tell me that they get errors when they try to run the game. I think I've finally isolated the problem.

It appears that some servers do not set the response headers correctly for the XML files that hold the questions. The header is set as text/plain rather than text/xml, which causes the browser to go wonky when it's looking for XML to come back and the server tells it that it's getting text.

There are a few possible solutions. The first, and best solution, involves speaking to the person who administers the web server you have placed the files on and explaining that they need to set the MIME type of files with the .xml extension to be sent as application/xml or text/xml.

The second, which is an incomplete fix, is to paste the following into your newgame.html file:
try {xmlhttp.overrideMimeType('text/xml');}

Place that little bit of javascript right after the part that reads:"GET", url, true);

This should fix the problem in Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer 7. I'm not certain if that will help those with Internet Explorer 6. I am looking for other fixes which might help there.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Big Current Project

In addition to attempting to keep up with the Information Literacy Game, we (along with our new partner, Lynda) are working on a major overhaul of our Information Literacy Tutorial.

And we are incorporating many mini-games and other gaming elements into it. The new tutorial will be written using AJAX and I am fairly sure we will be releasing the code and content under a Creative Commons License just as we did with the game.

My thinking behind creating this game is that it will be somewhat of a Choose Your Own Adventure (you remember those books, right?) type of experience. The user will be given a certain set of content, but will be able to choose the order it comes in and how in-depth and detailed the information should be.

The nifty thing about it is that the content will all be in XML format (just like the Game) with many ways of configuring the presentation. So another librarian could write a module on web evaluation and by filling in a few simple options, include a quiz or a game (or both!) in the module.

I'll try to post more information and demos as it is developed, but the idea behind it all is similar to the Game: other librarians with little tech skill can make a sophisticated (and fun!) tutorial quickly and easily.

Information Literacy Game Updates

For those working on getting the game working at their own library, a few notes and a bug fix or two.

If you attempt to set up the game and run it from your own machine (as opposed to putting the files on the server), try it in Firefox rather than Internet Explorer. For some reason, IE will not load the XML from your local machine but will simply sit and spin its wheels. If you place the files on a server and access it there, IE should work fine.

As for Firefox, there have been a few reports of the Game crashing the whole browser! I have been able to test this to some degree and confirmed this ugly behavior. I believe it has to do with the sound implementation. I am still looking at possible fixes. To mitigate the problem, I have posted a new sound javascript file here. So place that file in the folder where you keep the current sounds.js folder.

In addition, you will need to add the following to the newgame.html file.

Cut and paste this:
<div id="sound"></div>

In place of this:
<script src="sounds.js"></script>

Cut and paste this function in place of the old psound function:

function psound(soundobj) {
if (sounds==1){
var thissound=document.getElementById(soundobj);

Finally, add the line:
<script type="text/javascript" src="sound.js"></script>

Right after the style section and before the current script section. It should look something like this:
</style><script type="text/javascript" src="sound.js"></script><script>...Configuration Section...etc.

Once that is in place, Firefox should run the game fine with the sounds off (which they are by default).

Sorry about the Hiatus!

I have been away from the blog for awhile, but hopefully I can get back into the swing of things. Lots of news and links and updates to the Information Literacy Game to share.

For those who want to see either Amy or I in person, we will be doing a poster session at ALA in a couple of weeks. After that we will be speaking at the ALA TechSource Symposium in Chicago in July. Please stop by our poster or talk and say 'hi'.