Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Personal Learning Network(PLN) is the New Reference Librarian

In the fall of 2008, our school joined PLP-Powerful Learning Practice. At our opening meeting, we were encouraged by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson to develop our PLN or Personal Learning Network. As a node within an expanding network, the PLN improves the probability that one will come in contact with those individuals who can assist us with in my case, technological aspirations, endeavors, and questions. However, it is the unique 2 way nature of the PLN that strengthens, validates, and ensures the reliability of the information within the network.

Well back to the title of this post. Having done a number of research papers during my tenure as a student and a teacher in training, I cannot emphasize the importance of reference librarians. Their acuity for detail and the vast quantities of information that they seem to absorb daily is astounding. However, the availablity of this resource is often limited to face 2 face meetings and email. As Web 2.0 technologies often do, an opportunity for a new paradigm in this arena has taken form and the tool is Twitter.

Now I have not written a research paper in a few years, so my reliance on reference librarians has been minimal but for several months now, I have relied heavily on my PLN via Twitter to gather information both actively and passively. Everyday my PLN provides me with some pearl of wisdom or a response to a query and I can only hope that I am able to do the same for those who have included me in their PLN.

Nevertheless, because I am Still Learning, I am grateful to have my very own PLN/Web 2.0 reference librarian.


Frances said...

I agree, Hi --for most questions I find going to peers (especially via technology) to be much faster than poring through reference material. I'd hazard that my results are more accurate as well... BTW, I've considered you part of my PLN for years now!

Susanne Nobles said...

I think you are right -- we go to people who know rather than books who know. The collaboration that is now so readily done can link to me to an actual expert rather than a book by tha expert. As a lover of actual books, I by no means have stopped using them. But my PLN, you included, becomes often my first step.