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I’m intrigued by the idea of Personal Learning Environments.  Specifically defined, they integrate different online tools into AJAX start pages (such as those that can be created in Bloglines or My Yahoo).  Ron Lubensky, in his e-learning blog, writes that “a Personal Learning Environment is a facility for an individual to access, aggregate, configure and manipulate digital artifacts of their ongoing learning experiences.”  So loosely defined, they are aggregators of personal digital information.

I would like to become more adept at this myself. I use a lot of online tools, but tend to keep them in their separate spheres. I am not yet savvy enough with tools and plug-ins to have them all at my fingertips at the same time.  There are quite a few tools out there to assist in the setup of PLEs, such as iGoogle and Pageflakes. There is also an archived WebJunction webinar on the subject that gives helpful hints for information professionals.

It seems that the proliferation of digital learning means education (however defined) is both increasingly prevalent and increasingly informal. I think both of these are positive developments. Any learning I can accomplish through my own exploration (conscious or unconscious) is in many ways preferable to formal, structured, TUITION-BASED education. If I can set up an online environment that puts this experience on auto-pilot, all the better.

 One way to conceptualize what information seeking/receiving behavior looks like is to create a mindmap, which is like a illustrative web of how information comes in and how it is connected (I got this idea from Ray Sims and Michele Martin).  Because I love organizing the seemingly disjointed into rational lists, this is a project I would definitely like to take on sometime soon. Maybe it will help me develop a more powerful and logical Personal Learning Environment. It seems like a useful exercise both online and offline.

Unfortunately, it seems like I have less and less time to take advantage of online learning opportunities, formal or informal. Lately it seems like all my free time is taken up with the old-fashioned activities of reading (mostly those artifacts known as “books”) and writing. But I still think this is an interesting idea. I would love to see the directions in which other people have taken this idea – any examples out there you’d like to share?

There has been an interesting dialogue on the NEXGENLIB-L discussion list recently on creatively utilizing the MLIS degree for non-traditional work. I’ve always wanted to be more of an entrepreneur. I’ve mentioned in the past how I would like to branch out into indexing, which seems like an ideal freelance opportunity. Because I continue to be interested in writing and publishing, I have considered becoming a freelance editor as well.

I think such ventures are often like Einstein’s vision of genius – 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration (in terms of networking, marketing, learning the appropriate skills and market demographics, setting up a business, etc.). Sometimes I get exhausted just thinking about it. But maybe I just need to spend more time thinking outside of the box.

One very interesting idea mentioned in the thread was advertising your mad librarian skillz on Craigslist for personalized services such as setting up a personalized catalog in something like LibraryThing. I don’t know how much of a market there is for such a service, but that would be great freelancing – hardly any overhead, free advertising, fun work. Win win. Of course, I would advise not quitting your day job…

Thanks again to Karin for passing on more cool stuff – though like most memes, I’m probably the last one to hear about it and everyone has done this already. 

How to make your own album cover:

1. Go to the Wikipedia Random Articles page and get the first article title – that’s the band name (Mine was “Cercle” – “the smallest unit of French political administration in French Colonial Africa that was headed by an European officer”).

2. Go to Random Quotations.  The last 4 words of the last quotation make up the album title (From H.L. Mencken, 1920, I got “Neat, plausible, and wrong”).

3. Get a word from the Random Word Generator (“communication”).

4. Use the word in FlickrStorm to search images, and use the 3rd image that comes up for the album cover (“Rosita” by Frank Vranckx).

5. Use a graphics program to make the album cover (I used Phixr).

 Here is the result:

I’ve read quite a few blog entries over the past couple of weeks sheepishly apologizing for New Year inertia.  I too have my excuses: travel, holidays, a death in the family.  But now that we are two weeks into 2008, I’m finally feeling ready to face my new adventures with a sense of resolve.

Here is a compilation of my biblioblogo-resolutions for 2008.

1) Get my article published (I’ve got a running start on this one).

2) Write at least one blog entry a week.

3) Revamp my resume and keep my eyes open for new professional opportunities.

4) Read more and with greater focus (with the help of my bookclub and the Russian Reading Challenge).

5) Write more (with the help of my writing group).

6) Catch up with professional reading.

7) Get started on the library reorganization project at the gallery.

Happy 2008 to all!

I’m pleased to announce that my article has been selected for the February issue of the NMRT Bulletin! Thanks for all the encouragement from everyone.  It feels good to know that I will see my name in (virtual) print.

January 2008