Posted by lpearle on 29 July 2010
“PLN” seems to be a term that’s automatically understood to mean Personal Learning Network by many (most?) school library bloggers–and not, I think, by most others. I can assure you that the PALINET Leadership Network would not have had “PLN Highlights” as its alert blog name if that TLA (three-letter acronym in this case) was universally understood–or even prevalent outside of school librarianship.
And just as I read this, an e-mail appeared from my uncle (who started reading this blog) asking what a PLN was. At Hackley, we’re trying to help faculty create their PLNs, and we’re using that term. But if my uncle and Walt are correct, and I suspect they are, no one knows what we’re talking about!
I don’t believe that the concept of a PLN is new to anyone, it’s the acronym. And I’ll be the first to admit that librarians are acronym happy (AACR2R anyone? MARC? not to mention ALA and its myriad divisions, task forces and roundtables!). And of course, into every profession a little jargon must fall. It’s the use of jargon in addition to an acronym that confuses people and turns them off. For years, school librarians were called “library media specialists” and some of us resented losing the title “librarian” because it separated us from other librarians in other settings. Why are we still engaging in creating a division between us and other librarians (not to mention our peers in education)?
My father has had a PLN for years. He’d call them his colleagues, even though some (most, I think) aren’t located in the US. They’ve kept in touch over the years via mail and now e-mail, they read each others publications, and they see each other at conferences and on sabbaticals. Most of the people I know in other professions have done the same. Sometimes they’ll call these people their network, other times their colleagues.
So I’m going to join the bandwagon and stop referring to my PLN and talk instead about the incredible network of colleagues I have, the people I learn from and bounce ideas off of and enjoy spending time with, both in “real life” and on-line. Join me?