Year for Productivity Session 22: Revisiting PLNs


My post on September 2nd only scratched the surface of the mammoth topic of Learning Networks and why they are important to academics and librarians.  In particular, since I published that post, I have come across several resources that explore the concept and help participants to identify and grow their own networks.

One of the most significant discoveries was that there is currently a five week program occurring which the developers (Jeff Merrell and Kimberly Scott of Northwestern University’s Master’s in Learning and Organizational Change Program) are calling an Open Online Seminar.  Entitled Exploring Personal Learning Networks , the program’s structure alone is a prime example of network building.  There is a website, a twitter channel (#xplrpln), a Scoopit curation , a Google+ Community, a compilation of all the individual blogs that participants are creating with their reflections and insights as well as archived video chats from Google Hangout.  I was just one week too late to actually sign up for the seminar, but with all the resources they are providing, I feel I’m getting a good deal of the benefit regardless.  If exploring the concept and practical implementations of PLNs is of interest, I highly suggest you check out some of Merrell & Scott’s program.

One of the first things several of the participants did was to try to illustrate their own PLNs as they exist at the moment.  Just beginning to think on this for myself brought into clear focus the wide variety of channels I use for information. It will take me some significant time to actually capture all the different feeds I get via email and my very under-read rss feeds.  I follow a number of blogs and many are written by individuals who are not librarians and not even always in the academic world. Google alerts are also a good way for me to find tidbits on topics of interest.  For example I have alerts on onenote and “personal knowledge management”.  Because Google searches such a wide sweep of the online landscape, I can often find new individuals talking about topics of interest to me via those alerts. I also can almost always get at least one interesting source from the American Libraries email newsblast and also from a similar email from the Chronicle of Higher Learning.

This exercise has also pointed out to me that the network of people with whom I actively exchange ideas is much smaller and less targeted than I would like.  was one way that my co-bloggers and myself were trying to foster such a network around the topic of Personal Knowledge Management.

The importance of the interchange of information between members of a network  is one point that has been discussed frequently in the readings: A PLN is not just about curating knowledge.. it is about relationships between groups of people who share a common focus and who come together for the express purpose of furthering their own learning about that focus.  Your PLN is only as effective as you make it through developing meaningful connections with others that endure.

You don’t have a PLN, you say?  Start by looking at your workplace with fresh eyes.  Chatting with co-workers can help you find other people right in your own backyard that you can learn from, and also some you might be able to help as well. How about professional organizations?  Are you a member of any professional committees?  Committees are great places to find people that might become an important part of your network.  Listservs? Blogs you read?  Make a point to comment and talk with the bloggers you follow or to start develop professional relationships with others who have similar interests.

At this point, we should talk about the Echo Chamber syndrome that Steve Thomas discusses in his Carterette Series Seminar.  It is human nature to gravitate toward people who have similar views as ourselves.  If a network is made up only of people with the same experience or the same view, then the network will begin to sound like an Echo Chamber… where the same thoughts are simply echoed back to the group and no real learning is taking place.  It is important to have a wide variety of backgrounds, expertise level and viewpoints in your network. Sometimes it is only by hearing someone that has totally opposite views from ourselves that we can clarify in our own minds what our viewpoint will be.  Sometimes they might even change our stance and broaden our understanding.

Still looking for people with your interests?  Check out some of the popular curation sites:, Scoop.It, and blog aggregators.  Look for pre-existing networks on your topics that you might join.  Google+ is one place you can look for communities that are already in progress.  Twitter is another source.  Search by topic or hashtag.  For the topic of plns, for example, there is a #pln hashtag as well as a #edtechchat just to get you started.  See who is posting interesting links and follow them. Steven Thomas gave us a great list of his favorite pln twitter contacts.  Check the Resources section for a link.

A personal learning network is a living thing.  It morphs, it grows, it contracts at times , it might even change direction.  The center is the only constant and that is YOU.


For Further Exploration and Insight:

1. Try sketching out your PLN as it exists right now. Group individuals by the major topic of learning that they contribute to your PLN. Where are your strengths? Where are the holes? Keep these in mind as you go through your day and look for additions to your network.

2. A number of readings cite Twitter and Twitter channels as central to individual PLNs. Are you a Twitter user? What hashtags have you identified as belonging to networks of interest? Are you a lurker or a participant? Explore Twitter for a few individuals who are posting tweets in an area you want to explore and tweet them back! Start a conversation and then keep the connection going!

Selected Resources:

Resources for teaching notetaking at the graduate level

I’ve been looking at ways to help graduate students cope with reading and taking notes as they deal with more, and more complex and subtle, material.  As a librarian working with graduate students in the humanities and social sciences, I deal with them as they make the transition into graduate studies.  In general, we warn them that more will be expected of them – more reading, more originality in their research, more independence – and leave them to figure it out on their own.  Professors give them guidelines for research assignments, they take research methods classes, and professors and/or librarians may tell or show them how to perform more sophisticated literature reviews.

But then what?

I recently gave a ten-minute session on active reading for graduate students during “Grad School 101,”  a four-hour session on aspects of being a grad student that aren’t discussed in class.  I will be giving a longer session on reading and note taking in a couple weeks.  I focused on reading and note taking because of two comments I heard from academics who work closely with grad students.  One said she thought we need to put more emphasis on developing advanced reading skills than on writing skills; another said he is struck by how unprepared graduate students are to cope with the amount of reading expected of them.

We’ve dealt in this blog with note taking software, but only touched on the process of taking notes.  Because it is such a highly personal process, I have always sidestepped this, but someone needs to help students figure out how their note taking should evolve as they move through academia.

I have found four resources particularly useful to me in formulating guidance for students on reading and notetaking:

  • How to Read  a Book (revised editions, Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Dorn, 1972)
  • Effective Notetaking (Fiona McPherson, Wayz Press, 2nd edition, 2007)
  • Effective Note Taking for University Coursework (Ruth Ford, Jagged Edge Press, 2012)
  • How to Read for Grad School,” Miriam Sweeney on the weblog  feminist research in critical information studies, posted on June 20, 2012.

I first looked at the classic How to Read a Book, which lays out such an excellent how to readframework that is still in print, though it dates from 1972.  Adler and Van Doren suggest using the road map of the author’s structure (table of contents, section heads, index, introduction and so on).  They go on to discuss levels of reading including understanding the work as a whole, understanding the argument, filling in the details, and making connections to other, related works.  Anyone who wants a broad education and expects to have an enduring interest in reading should probably get a copy, because Adler and Van Doren explain how to read different types of books, from pleasurable fiction to the most difficult nonfiction, and to derive maximum value from each reading experience.

Miriam Sweeney has posted a short, focused bit of advice for graduate students as “How to Read for Grad School,” using the term “strategic reading” to emphasize the need to understand one’s goals before undertaking any reading.  While I can’t agree that a single read through will always be adequate, she’s correct that students need to prepare for reading by establishing what their purpose is; not read straight from beginning to end; not focus equally on everything in the work, and bring critical perspectives to bear on the material.

In Effective Note Taking for University Coursework, Ruth Ford addresses taking notes from both lectures and written works. The work (a Kindle book) is short and practical. Ford also emphasizes the role of preparation and establishing goals in note taking.  Students need to think ahead about the work in relation to other material, including lectures and discussion.  They have to establish what they need to gain from reading a work and how they will use the notes they take and the knowledge they hope to acquire. To solidify learning, once they have read and made notes, they should review their notes, make sure they understand the notes, find gaps and, once again, relate what they have just read to other material.

This kind of active note-taking helps develop analytic, information processing, reflective, and writing skills.  It is more time consuming, but more effective, than simply opening a book and starting to read in the expectation of being enlightened.

Ford identifies four methods of taking notes as well as a number of purposes for note taking (to understand, remember, focus, identify key areas for study, etc.).  Of the four ways to Cornell note4take notes, two are variations on lists, one more hierarchically organized than the other.  The third is using mapping techniques.  The fourth, the Cornell method, was new to me.  In addition to a main note taking area on a page, one creates an separate area each for  comments and questions on the notes and a summary – active processing of the notes.

All in all, this was a cheap and practical guide, with the limitation that it apparently exists only in Kindle format.

I’ve saved the heavyweight for last.  Those who want theory with application should pick up Effective Notetaking by Fiona McPherson.  McPherson’s more complex work  draws on the literature on memory.  She looks as note taking as part of cognition, covering different ways of taking notes as well as how to choose when to use which strategy.

effective notetakingMcPherson categorizes note taking methods by the degree to which they help you assimilate the material.  Foundational techniques allow you to select key material: highlighting (useful only if used sparingly), writing your own headings through the text, and making factual summaries.  Graphic organizers represent a different level of learning, since the reader re-organizes the material as well as summarizing it.  Visual imagery may help integrate the material more deeply.

Concept maps require you to fit new information explicitly into your existing framework of knowledge and to specify relationships.  McPherson notes that concepts maps are difficult and frustrating to build because they typically require much iteration to achieve a satisfactory result.  However, they can be extremely useful tools, especially with ideas that will be elaborated over time (such as thesis and dissertation proposals).

McPherson’s sixteen pages on concept maps are what I will assign as background reading from now on.  She walks her readers through developing a map for a passage she has used as an exercise throughout the book; she shows the steps in developing a concept map using complex examples; and she addresses some of the difficulties that typically arise.

Toward the end of the book, McPherson offers tables to assist in matching different types of note taking with different conditions or situations.  However, there’s a separate table for each factor, and my head was spinning when I tried to put all the factors together and come up with a choice (let’s see, the task is organizations, the text difficulty level is complex, the text structure, is comparison, my goal is comprehension, my personal style is wholist-verbalizer – but should I pick the method that’s comfortable for me, or the one that would be comfortable for someone of the opposite style and which would compensate for the weaknesses of my style?).

I learned a lot from McPherson, and there is much in here that I can use.  Using example texts was a great way to illustrate different methods of note taking.  However, the intended audience isn’t clear to me.  The most likely audience seems to be educators.  Most students wanting to learn how to take notes more effectively won’t want to plow through 230 pages of material that is often fascinating but may turn out not to be very useful;  McPherson describes a series of methods in detail and then reviews the literature on each, and in some cases I concluded the evidence on results didn’t make it sound worth the trouble.  Very few people are likely to learn fifteen techniques and run through an analytic framework for every work they read.  However, it was a most valuable reference book for me, and I do recommend it for anyone who is interested in helping students process knowledge more effectively.

I hope to teach a course on reading and note taking for graduate students in about two weeks.  At the moment, I’m stymied by laryngitis.  A neighbor said it took her two weeks to get rid of it so I hope I’ll be safe in scheduling for two weeks from now!






Year for Productivity Session 21: Blogs – Their Care and Feeding

year_productivity_graphic_21Blogs are an enormous topic, in part because there are an enormous number of them – including this one, which makes this topic very meta.  The focus here is, of course, blogs as personal knowledge management tools and on their role in education, primarily higher education.  If you are a researcher, this discussion is meant to clarify why you might blog or follow blogs given any one person’s limited available attention.  For librarians, the focus is that as well but also how to help researchers find useful blogs, and help them in deciding whether to blog themselves or how to select tools for blogging.

Why Blogs?

Since blogging first appeared, the value of blogging for academic researchers (including librarians) has been a contentious and continuous debate.  A large part of discussion concerns the kinds of activities that not-yet-tenured faculty should focus their attention upon.  The critics point out  that those seeking tenure need to put their limited amount of available attention to publishing peer-reviewed articles and books.

Blog enthusiasts argue along a couple of tracks.  One, they think that tenure committees will over time begin to value blogs as an important part of the growing altmetrics field.  They point to such venues as, arguing it provides a valuable post-publication peer review, and that the peer-review process itself is not without flaws.

Secondly, they point to other benefits of writing blogs.  Blogs in part grew out of people keeping diaries online.  A blog can provide a record of one’s research life, pulling together sources and ideas, adding one’s own ideas, that can be later used to structure a peer-reviewed/edited publication.   Another benefit is that simply writing something down clarifies thoughts.  Knowing that others will read your blog forces one to work through clarification and revision, and improves one’s writing abilities.

Starting a blog has a variety of professional development benefits.  It can attract readers who are interested in the topic, and may result in collaborations on research that will produce peer-reviewed publications.  The networking opportunities are excellent, and produce not only the feeling of belonging to a community (even more pronounced in Twitter), but some report opportunities such as invitations to present at conferences – another product tenure committees look for during tenure review.

An academic, like other professionals, must pay attention to his or her personal brand, and how they manage their online personal identity.  A professional portfolio these days often will include a CV or resume, a LinkedIn profile, and one’s participation in blogs or Twitter or other social media relating to one’s profession.  These can be put together on a site like Impact Story.  The blog University of Venus (GenX Women in Higher Ed, Writing from Across the Globe) is particularly sensitive to the issues of minority students and faculty and is an excellent example of how blogging can give a voice to those too often marginalized.  It also,has the potential to create a backlash that may endanger a career.

Reasons for using a blog are nicely summarized in this quote:

There seem to be many different motives behind science blogging: to share content and express opinions, to improve writing skills, to organize thoughts and ideas and to interact and create relationships inside and outside of the author’s home discipline. Science blogging can give the blogger room for creativity and the feeling of being connected to a larger community. It is a means of establishing an online reputation.
(Shema, 2012)
Blogs can also be used in instruction.  Many professors are creating class blogs so that everyone in the class can participate in discussions.  It should be noted that such uses of blogs are happening in K-12 education as well – the Edublogger site is a primary site for information on K-12 education blogging.

Blogging Networks

Once one appreciates the value of blogs, then one is faced with how to find blogs that are (1) on one’s topic(s) of interest and (2) high quality.  This is a necessity given that there are hundreds of millions of blogs in existence and they are much more dynamic than writing that goes through a publication process.  This dynamism is both a strength and a weakness of blogs.  They are not formally peer-reviewed and edited, which is the main reason tenure committees won’t use them for awarding tenure.  They can also be ephemeral, here today and gone tomorrow.  However, the dynamism is a strength in that they offer news in a field that is much more current than journal articles or books.   Blogs also provide a communication process that most published works lack, through comments or through the active conversations that occur in mircroblogging.

The huge number of available blogs makes it difficult to find the best blogs in a discipline.  A simple way is just to search Google for “best blog” and the topic.  Such articles abound, and looking for the most recent can yield excellent results.  The authors of these articles perform some degree of vetting – they choose only a few blogs and try to choose those that are of the highest quality.

Good blogs get attention.  Really good blogs get lots of attention, and some of them get asked to join blog networks.  Such networks are often organized by a major publisher in the field.  Nature, Scientific American, Wired, and Discover, for example, now provide networks of blogs that, since they have the imprint of those publishers, are judged to be excellent.  Now there are also aggregators of such blog networks.

Bora Zivkovik, blog editor for Scientific American, explains some recent science blogging networks:

This aggregator [] is not trying to be comprehensive, searchable and organized by topic (like ScienceSeeker), nor is it trying to act as a filter for only the posts that cover science with some quality and detail (like is supposed to give one an easy and quick glimpse of what science blogosphere is talking about at any given moment. Obviously, each of the three aggregators has its uses, its goals, and its intended audience.

(Zifkovic, 2011)

Blog networks do not seem as common in the social sciences and humanities.  The largest network in those fields is not of blogs, but of mailing lists, H-Net:

An international consortium of scholars and teachers, H-Net creates and coordinates Internet networks with the common objective of advancing teaching and research in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. H-Net is committed to pioneering the use of new communication technology to facilitate the free exchange of academic ideas and scholarly resources.

Among H-Net’s most important activities is its sponsorship of over 100 free electronic, interactive newsletters (“lists”) edited by scholars in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and the Pacific.

(H-Net introduction,

Whether or not blogs are in formal blogging networks, most of us have specific blogs in our personal learning network    We might first stumble on a useful blog, then next explore the blogroll to find other useful blogs.

As with anything information related, it is far too easy to let enthusiasm lead to TMI – Too Much Information.  The number of blogs, RSS feeds, and tweets we follow need continual refinement in order not to be overwhelming.  Ceasing to follow one source doesn’t mean the source isn’t valuable, but you may have gotten the majority of useful comment from it, or your information needs or interests may have changed, or you find another source that is more on target.

Librarians – the original search engine – have always had a content curation role.  This is even more important when our users are drowning in information.  How many librarians, when talking to faculty and students about sources they use, ask about the blogs they follow?  How many librarians add a page of important blogs in the field when creating our research guides?

What tools do we recommend for users who want to start a blog?  For simplicity and price (free), it is hard to beat Blogger.  For more sophisticated work that still doesn’t require one to know programming (usually), content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal all have their followings.  This blog uses WordPress, and my co-author Crystal Renfro teaches a WordPress class and has a guide associated with the class.  Bluehost has a brief table comparing WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal for ease of use, availability of add-ons, how nice it looks, whether it is good for simple or complex sites, and links to sites created with each.

For Further Exploration and Insight:

(1)  What blogs are in your personal learning network?

(2)  Write a comment about how your personal blog network has changed over the last 2 years.


Shema H, Bar-Ilan J, Thelwall M (2012) Research Blogs and the Discussion of Scholarly Information. PLoS ONE 7(5): e35869. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035869
Zivkovic, B.  (2011).  What is  The Network Central.  Accessed 10/13/2013.

Selected Readings:

Kharbach, M (2013).  Top 50+ Academic Blogs for Teachers and Educators.  Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.  Accessed 10/13/2013.  Despite the name, this is a post that lists, by blog, posts about the value of academic blogging.  Reading the selected posts give a good flavor of the debate about the value of blogs for academics.

Koh, A. (2013).  Crowdsourcing the Best Digital Humanities Content: Introducing #DHThis, The Digital Humanities Slashdot.  Article from ProfHacker about a site where up or down votes determine the contents of the site.

Shema, H.  (2013).  Do Blog Posts Correlate with a Higher Number of Future Citations?. Accessed 10/13/2013.  The article concentrates on




Links Roundup #13

western saddle with a lasso on it


Lucky 13!  Yes, this is actually the 13th Links Roundup Post.  Yee-ha!


The Awesomest 7-Year Postdoc or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tenure-Track Faculty Life. A really great post on work-life balance for academics.  Lengthy, but a good post for understanding what the early years of new faculty are like.

Twitter Updates

How to Archive Your Favorite TweetsProfHacker post with excellent ideas for keeping tweets on research topics.

Teaching with Twitter:  5 Resources for Getting Started.  Eduhacker post that is the beginning of a series on this topic.

Social Media Updates

Rebel Mouse Wants to Be Your Social Media Home Page – nice article from the editor of the Social Media page.  I have played around with Rebel Mouse some, and it is a pretty good social media aggregator.  Can see it as being particularly useful for an organization wanting to create a web page for their social media.

Evernote and OneNote Updates

Presentation Mode: The Better Way to Present Your Ideas.  Evernote 5.3 for the Mac is the first to roll out this feature of viewing notes in a presentation mode.  It is also for Premium and Business users only.  Still, it seems useful, and I think tends to further indicate that Evernote doesn’t rest on its laurels but is intent on continuously improving the product.

Another great new feature that is so far only available in Evernote 5.3 for the Mac is discussed in Create an Evernote Table of Contents in 1 click.  Can’t wait to try that one.

And yet one more good feature of the new iOS 7 app is Using Quick Notes in the New Evernote App for iOS 7.

Evernote 5 (for Windows) Review – by Jill Duffy, who writes the Get Organized column for PC Mag (although this item was published in ITProPortal).  Talks about some of the new features in Evernote 5 but also does a really good review of the product as a whole, so may be of use if you want to introduce someone to Evernote.

“3M announced a new partnership with Evernote on Thursday that allows users to turn their real-world sticky notes into digital notes that can be saved, shared or viewed from anywhere. The Post-It notes are digitized through a new “Post-it Note Camera” feature in Evernote’s iOS 7 app. Notes that are photographed with the camera are digitally enhanced and uploaded to your Evernote account. Notes can be organized by color within Evernote and the content is searchable. You can also add a reminder or due date to a specific note — such as a time you need to pick someone up from the airport or a payment due date for a bill.”  From Apps You Don’t Want to Miss, 9/28/2013.

OneNote for iPad:  Sophisticated Note Manager that Aims to Usurp Evernote – nice overview of the iPad OneNote app, good for OneNote beginners.

 Google Updates

New Chrome Apps Run on Your Desktop, Offline, and Outside the Browser – Apps on the Desktop!

How to Use Google Hangouts for Lecture Capture – Free Tools!

Security Updates

Online Backup or Local:  Which is Best?  Another good article from Ask Bob Rankin.  The short answer to the question he poses is Yes.  ;-).

Faceless.ME is a VPN app for Windows with Free 2 GB Monthly Bandwidth.  Those of you who use public wifi a lot probably worry about security, and a VPN can address that.  This article reviews a particular VPN app but mentions others and links to reviews of them.

Attention and Focus Updates

How Does Multitasking Really Effect Learning?  is a nice infographic on the topic, might be particularly useful for those working with undergraduates.

 Miscellaneous Tools Updates

6 Unexpected Ways You Can Use Dropbox.  Some nice tips – I did not know about emailing to Dropbox and using DropPages to create a simple web page you can store in Dropbox.

How to Crowdsource and Gamify Your Email – post from ProfHacker with links to some useful posts about managing email.

Building a Research Database with DEVONthink Pro Office – we have not covered this tool in the blog, but Crystal mentions it in her Productivity Tools research guide, and we are aware that a number of grad students and faculty really like it.  This post from GradHacker is really good, laying out the pros and cons and how this researcher uses the tool.





Year for Productivity Session 20: Following Our Digital Footprints

year_productivity_graphic_20So what is a digital footprint? According to Webopedia, “This [digital footprint] is information transmitted online, such as forum registration, e-mails and attachments, uploading videos or digital images and any other form of transmission of information — all of which leaves traces of personal information about yourself available to others online.”  Other popular terms for this is one’s “online identity” or the elements that can make or break your “personal brand.”

So, what is the big deal about developing a “personal brand”?  As long as I’m safe on my social networking sites and don’t post lewd pictures or talk carelessly about topics that job interviewers would find objectionable, I’m ok, right?  No, it’s really quite a bit more.  Montoya says, ” Personal branding is a strategic process – it is about intentionally taking control of how others perceive you and managing those perceptions strategically to help you achieve your goals.”  It is marketing Y.O.U. by putting your best foot forward.

By Lorenz kerscher at en.wikipedia [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

“One of the most basic online tools for branding is that of researcher profiles, which can serve as a first point of contact and a convenient hub that connects scientific works.” (Scientific Marketplace)

Marketing sounds a battle-cry for scientists to communicate their body of research more effectively and competition in the academic arena demands scientists pay attention to promoting their public persona.  Having a researcher id which is current and complete is essential because institutions and funding agencies make their decisions based on the researcher’s CV and reputation can be won or lost depending on what the researcher’s online presence and profile reveal.

Marketing includes many activities that we already do as a regular part of our professional lives; the trick is leveraging those activities to reflect the best of us.  Sharing our presentations on Slideshare or Vivmeo, for example, is one aspect of our online identity, as is facilitating open access to versions of your academic articles. Marc Kuchner says that branding and relationship building are the two key ingredients for scientists marketing themselves.  Marketing oneself, Kuchner cautions, is not just self-promotion; it is “trying to figure out what other people want or need” and then go about showing how what you are doing can meet those wants and needs.

In a post on September 16, 2013, Kuchner talks about the growing role of Linked-In and Facebook Groups for Scientists.  These are groups of professionals often with varying amounts of “proof” as to the professional and scientific standing of anyone wishing to join.  The problem, Kuchner says, is that no index of these professional groups exist and professionals generally locate the groups through serendipitous networking with colleagues or by harvesting the group names off other professionals profiles.

Another avenue is scientific blogging.  Aggregators like Research Blogging () provide opportunities to have your thoughts about peer-reviewed research in your area to reach a larger audience.

Ideas on how to enhance your online identity:

  • Cross-link your profiles so that you present one united identity to the world.
  • Keep your profile current.  Make it a habit to update your experience, presentations, publications and honors on a regular basis.
  • Review your privacy settings. Social networking sites often update their policies and what you thought was private may no longer be.
  • Create a profile on, a social networking site focused on those in academia
  • Maintain your LinkedIn profile even if you aren’t looking for a job.  Because LinkedIn is so popular, your LinkedIn profiles will likely float close to the surface when you are searched on Google.
  • Blog or Tweet about your past research articles which you have made open access.  Melissa Terras found her article downloads sharply increasing when she followed this technique.
  • Participate constructively in online forums. Online is not the place to vent feelings or frustrations.  Sarcasm is often mistaken for something much more personal and hurtful.


For Further Exploration and Insight:

1. Google yourself and explore what your digital footprint is today.  Try the search in a few other search engines as well.  Do you have cleanup to do?

2.Explore one or more of the tools and/or sites mentioned in this article. Where would you fit in?  What about your users?  Would it be advantageous for them?


Selected Readings:

Eke, Helen Nneka. (2012). “Creating a digital footprint as a means of optimizing the personal branding of librarians in the digital society,” Webology; Dec2012, Vol. 9 Issue 2, pp1-12

Fenner, Martin(2012). “One-Click Science Marketing,” Nature Materials,11:5,pp261-263

How to Grow Your Twitter Following:  An infographic with lots of tips for increasing your impact.

Interview with Marc Kuchner, “The m word,” Nature Materials, 11(5) – pp264 – 265

Kuchner, Marc. Marketing for Scientists: How to Shine in Tough Times, Island Press, 2011.

Kuchner’s blog:

Melissa Terras’ Blog, Is Blogging and Tweeting about Research Papers Worth It? The Verdict, April 3, 2012

Montoya, P. (2002a). The brand called you. Part One – What is personal branding. Retrieved May 21, 2012, from

Montoya, P. (2002b). The personal branding phenomenon. London: Personal Branding Press.

“The Scientific Marketplace,”(2012) Nature Materials,11:5,p259






Have you chosen your top 10 tools for 2013 yet?

1924 photo of a voting booth

De Lux election building and voting booth, Lanham, Md., [11/4/24]
Library of Congress Photo Collection

What has been viewed over 550,000 times since its publication in 2012?

50 Shades of Grey might be one of your first thoughts, but think bigger! Twice as big, to be exact. Not the top 50, but the Top 100 Tools for Learning, compiled annually by Jane Hart has been viewed literally millions of times in the past seven years. And now, time is running out to post your vote for the Top 100 Tools for Learning, the 2013 edition.
If this wonderful resource sounds familiar, you might be remembering the post I did last year when the voting was open for the 2012 list. Hard to believe a full year has gone by already, but here we are, getting ready to vote again for our top 2013 tools. Last year Jane compiled the top 10 lists of over 500 learning professionals (just like you and me!) in order to create her Top 100 list. Now you can make your voice heard!

Voting closes for the 2013 list on September 27, 2013, and that is right around the corner, so don’t delay! VOTE HERE NOW !
While you are Jane’s Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies, take a look at the winners from the past couple of years. You might find a new tool to explore, or leave feeling somewhat smug that you are in sync with some of the top learning professionals when it comes to the tools you use in your personal knowledge management.