Orientation: Getting Started in Second Life

For information about Second Life, check out the official What is Second Life website.

Step 1: Create a Second Life Account

Signing up for Second Life (SL) is similar to downloading game software and creating a video game character.

(As you begin your journey with CVL, you’ll realize Second Life isn’t a game; it’s an entire virtual world that parallels the real world in many ways! But for now, if you’ve ever played a game like World of Warcraft or a life simulator game like the Sims, you’re already ahead of the curve!)

First, go to SecondLife.com and press the Join Free or Sign Up button. Follow the website’s instructions.

When signing up, you will:

  • Choose a basic avatar (Don’t worry too much about your avatar’s appearance; You can change it for free once in Second Life)
  • Create a unique user name (Choose carefully–you’ll be stuck with it!)

Step 2: Install a Second Life viewer

Choose one of the following options (or try all three and choose your favorite):

  • Download and install the Second_Life.dmg file when prompted by the Second Life sign up page (This is the official viewer)
  • OR go to SingularityViewer.org and download this alternative Second Life viewer (This option may help if your computer overheats easily)
  • OR go to FirestormViewer.org and download this alternative Second Life viewer (This option may help if your computer overheats easily)

Step 3: Participate in Second Life

Open the viewer like you would any other program on your computer, type your username and password, and have fun! When Second Life first opens, your default location will be Learning Island. Follow Learning Island’s official Second Life tutorial to learn some basics.

For more guidance, CalTech has created excellent Basics and Quick Tutorial guides.

Virtual Ability, Inc. (a non-profit dedicated to virtual world accessibility) also hosts an excellent in-world tutorial. To access the tutorial, paste http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Virtual%20Ability/170/99/23 into your viewer’s search bar. You will learn valuable skills like navigation and opening objects. Bonus: there is a ton of free avatars and clothing at the end of the tutorial!

Virtual Ability’s Tutorial Freebies

If you’re feeling confident and up for adventure after these tutorials, browse the Second Life Destination Guide. There are all sorts of communities, displays, and tutorials to choose from!

If you’re feeling shy, don’t worry–most of us do when we begin Second Life! Paste CVL’s Main Library URL into your viewer’s search bar: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Cookie/191/210/21

You’ll end up in friendly territory right outside of the library. There may be a library volunteer inside at the reference/information desk to answer questions, or you might have the library to yourself. Either way, feel free to explore and enjoy our safe, educational space!

Step 4: Attend a CVL Event

CVL hosts all types of events including tours, presentations, book discussions, campfire discussions, and more! Visit our Events calendar to discover all we have to offer.

If you have questions or if you have trouble signing up for Second Life, contact Valerie Hill (valibrarian@gmail.com).