The readings for the the Hyperlinked Library seemed daunting to me, at first. I struggled with the possibilities of a hyperlinked library. I’m sometimes complimented for being practical and being a pragmatist (I make a great “get a grip” friend), but I think that side of my brain struggles with these concepts that seem abstract at first. I kept saying to myself as I was reading the materials, “how does a hyperlinked library actually work?”
It wasn’t until I read the chapter in the Cluetrain Manifesto (Levine, Locke, Searls & Weinberger, 2001) that things started to click into place. And by the time I got to the excellent video of the Library of the future in plain English, I was smiling at the many parallels in the readings found in Module 3. Levine et al. (2001) opine that we live and work in “forts” where we are confined to the job that we are hired to do, and look upon the org chart of a company as a way to add hierarchies and create a divide in our communication. Booth, McDonald and Tiffen (2010) further this idea by mentioning the divide that is created by the library org chart. Why are they going on and on about org charts? Because structured org charts are the opposite of what a hyperlinked library represents. Stephens (2001) presents us with an alternative viewpoint from the silo’d organization. He elucidates that “Creating connections and community for library users is paramount in the Hyperlinked Library model” (2001). Levine et al. (2001) further this concept by postulating that “Org charts are written by the victors. But hyperlinks are created by people finding other people they trust, enjoy, and, yes, in some ways love.”
So, as a pragmatist, I wondered if I was seeing real-world examples of this type of library. I see it in my library, where I work in technical services, every day. If someone has an idea for the library, even if it’s the Dean of the library, we email each other, or mention it during a meeting to make sure we get input from each other. We include our colleagues, and the idea becomes better and better because we are transparent, cohesive, and believe in communication. The org charge dissolves when the librarian is also a reference librarian, instructional librarian, and a subject selector. In ways that I never stopped to consider, my library is unhindered by processes and silos and bureaucracy. Does this mean that we still aren’t beholden to the bureaucracy that exists in our larger world? No, but I think that once we’ve latched on to the hyperlinked model, these ideas become contagious. As Booth et al. (2010) mention in their video, trust has to be a factor in changing the library to fit this dynamic landscape. Once we’ve established trust with our patrons and library administrators, we will all be speaking the hyperlinked language.
Booth, M., McDonald, S., & Tiffen, B. (2010, February 7). Library of the future in plain English [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLelhZHb3G8
Levine, R., Locke, C., Searls, D., & Weinberger, D. (2011). The cluetrain manifesto. Basic books.
Stephens, M. (2011). The hyperlinked library. Retrieved from http://mooc.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/StephensHyperlinkedLibrary2011.pdf