Although I had a vague, not quite sure where or when I had been introduced to it, understanding of learning styles, I was able to get a better grasp of this topic in Dr. Brown’s 5053 course. When I began to think about studying for comps this summer, I knew I wanted to incorporate what I had learned about my personal learning style and to expand on this knowledge by investigating particular techniques. At some point, I landed on and ended up using a few of the methods from the Periodic Table of Visualization Methods, particularly the concept visualization, for summarizing topics like copyright and organizational planning. I find visualization, learning styles, and the underlying mechanisms of the brain compelling. A favorite video of mine comes from a brain researcher who describes her experience of a stroke and the interplay between her right and left brains during the event. The video is one of many interesting presentations taped for the TED conferences that bring together “the most fascinating thinkers and doers” in technology, entertainment, and design. This digital collection can be browsed by themes, either visually or textually, title of talk, or speaker. It is also searchable. I wish I had more time to spend here…so many fascinating people and ideas…so little time.

Google Book Search has sparked some debate and legal action. The controversy generally centers on copyright, the burden of opting in/out, and the idea of a for-profit company controlling access to this information. On the other hand, libraries generally lack the resources to provide this service. And, originally GBS was providing the lending library a digital copy of each scanned book. Someone must have decided this might be the Achilles’ heel for GBS, as now those copies are held in escrow until the book enters public domain or under specific conditions where the library has received permission. Despite the issues surrounding GBS (which does contribute somewhat to its interest factor doesn’t it?), I have found this collection useful. I don’t generally start at the GBS web page, but I’ve wound up looking inside many books while performing a general Google search for information. In some cases, I’ve been searching on behalf of a friend or family member, and I like the ability to “see” inside the book before referring it. The collection is browseable and searchable (of course), features links like “find in a library” and “buy this book,” and allows users to review, rate, and add items to their own library.

Another collection I’ve been known to spend some time browsing is Marylaine Block’s Neat New Stuff I Found on the Net This Week. This one was recommended to me by my internship supervisor last semester (thanks, Ellen!), and it might be a bit of a stretch depending on one’s definition of collection. It’s perfect for when you want to see some diverse, interesting, reliable, and potentially useful ‘net territory without doing the driving. She’s a good chauffeur…