Failing forward

On Your Marks!: Part 1

In the past few days we’ve heard a lot about being different, being brave, expecting failure, accepting failure and learning from it. And boy did we learn a lot yesterday! On Your Marks: Gamifying ALIA Information Online 2013 is designed to teach you about gamification, to demonstrate how it works, what works, what doesn’t, what others have done, and what you can do with it. But in the process we learned as much ourselves.

We set up four core challenges and one bonus challenge for each day of the conference. What we didn’t expect is for you to create your own challenges! It was so exciting to see everyone get into the spirit of things and to enjoy each other’s challenges as much (or more than) our own! In fact, you even beat us to one of our planned challenges (shoes). Please keep sharing your brilliant ideas, but bear in mind that there are a few things we can’t control.

First of all, SCVNGR does not work too well when playing on multiple devices. It is a GPS-sensitive platform and you may lose your history when switching from one to another. But don’t worry! Behind the scenes, we are recording all of the activity for the four daily core challenges + one daily bonus challenge, so you will not lose your chance to enter for the iPad mini draw! You are only required to complete four of the core challenges over the conference (not each day) in order to qualify for entry. We also can’t monitor other activities created by your fine selves, as our leaderboard would explode! You may find that your points have disappeared, or a challenge that you have already completed reappears, or a challenge that you created has disappeared, or you can’t add a new challenge, but don’t stress. This is supposed to be fun!

But to make things run a bit more smoothly today, we have a few pointers:

1) DON’T flag an activity. This alerts SCVNGR to a potential problem and the challenge automatically gets blocked. It is easy to do this accidentally. If it is one of the core activities, please let us know so that we can reactivate it. We can’t do this for ‘crowd-sourced’ challenges.

2) We will clearly indicate on the website which are the ‘official’ challenges for each day. Sorry for the confusion there. Please note that the first challenges that appear on the app (i.e. Check-in, Social Check-in, Say something, Snap a picture) are part of the SCVNGR platform and we have no control over these. If you’re unable to ‘bump’, sorry, we can’t fix it. But if you can ‘bump’, check-in, say something or snap a picture, by all means do!

3) For some of you, scanning the QR code deleted your previous challenges. That sucks! We won’t use QR codes again, just to be sure. But again, we want you to enjoy and participate. Don’t stress! You’ll get your chance to submit your entry.

4) You are welcome to do the challenges more than once, but we’re not keeping count (see exploding leaderboard above). In fact, SCVNGR encourages you to do the challenges more than once, so if it appears that you haven’t completed a challenge that you just know you’ve already done, again – don’t stress. We’re recording the core challenges.

5) If you want to create your own challenge and the app just won’t let you, we’ve found that if you complete a few of the existing challenges first, even ones you know you’ve already done, you should be able to after a few goes. This app is filling up fast!

6) If all else fails, refresh the app (apparently you can do this by shaking your phone). And feel free to send us a tweet if things still aren’t working out for you. Again, we want this to be fun!

Phew! Now that was a lot for us to learn in one day! It’s really wonderful to see so many of you getting into the spirit of things and we look forward to more ‘fun times!’

Treasure Trove

Trove’s Text Correctors Hall of Fame is an early adopter of gamification. The leaderboard recognises those who correct the mistakes of the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software of Australia’s digitised newspapers and magazines, contributing to this invaluable resource. Here’s a challenge: can you make it to the top 100 Trove Correctors Hall of Fame?

NLA card catalogues

We all join in!

we_all_join_inThere’s a lot of you out there, some of you way out there (not even at the conference), and we don’t want to leave anyone out. Please fill out our little survey to let us know how you’ll be playing, so that we can share the love (and the prizes!) amongst you all.

Thank you!

Click on the link below.

Image: Youngsters having a good time, by Nationaal Archief. Retrieved from


lemontreeWe’ve had our first winner! @katejf correctly identified the gamification platform adopted by the University of Huddersield, featured in the On Your Marks! video. The answer is Lemontree!

Lemontree for academic libraries, and its cousin Orangetree for public libraries, are two ‘flavours’ of Librarygame, a gamification platform designed by library-lovers, Running in the Halls.

Librarygame integrates with your LMS (library management system), and even check-in machines or turnstiles, and taps into Web 2.0 and social media. Their website states: “Librarygame™ adds elements that make games engaging and delightful, directly into the library experience. As well as giving library users a fresh and useful social discovery interface, librarygame provides librarians with useful at a glance statistics on how their library is being utilised.”

Congratulations, @katejf, who is playing On Your Marks! from home. She receives an iTunes voucher.

Image: Lemon tree by Visions by Vicki. Retrieved from

How do I play?

1. Follow us on twitter at @gamifyonline13. #ALIAonline #gamifyonline13

2. Download the SCVNGR app on to your iPhone or Android, ensuring your GPS is turned on! Set up your account. This will only take a few seconds.

3. Select PLACES, then search in NEARBY PLACES for ALIA Information Online at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.

4. Each day of the conference there will be 4 new core challenges and one Bonus challenge (these challenges appear after Check-in, Social Check-in, Say something, and Snap a picture). Challenges my be answer-specific, open response, QR code, or photo challenges. You will also have to have a QR code scanner app downloaded.

5. Once you’ve reached 10 points, or 4 of the core challenges, bring your phone to the Queensland University of Technology Booth #52, collect your bubbles, and submit your entry for your chance to win an iPad mini! There will also be prizes, including iTunes vouchers and State Library of Queensland Library Shop vouchers, for Bonus challenges, creativity, and enthusiasm.

6. Additional activities will take place throughout the conference. Stay tuned to twitter @gamifyonline13 for details. Use the hashtags #ALIAonline #gamifyonline13

7. Enjoy and good luck!

A big thank you to the ALIA Information Online 2013 Program Committee and to State Library of Queensland for their generous support of On Your Marks!.

On Your Marks!

This year at ALIA Information Online 2013, we’re going to do something different. We’ll be gamifying the conference!

Follow us on Twitter at @gamifyonline13 and stay tuned for your first challenge…

On your marks!

What is gamification?

Gamification is defined as the application of game design elements to non-game contexts. This video provides an overview of gamification as well as offers a number of examples of how gamification has been adopted in libraries and information organisations around the world.