Module 6 Reflections: Hyperlinked Environments

Professor Michael Stephens used the “choose your own adventure books” theme in this week’s module. As far as deciding on what thread to follow, I was over-ambitious and read through many of these library exploration choices from hyperlinked academic libraries at Carnegie Mellon University to public elementary school “mini-libraries”. But I think the idea of the intersectionality between academic libraries and museums is the most interesting because it fused together what are no longer dispirit institutions and services. 

Libraries and museums both curate documents: Libraries focus on information recorded on documents; museums focus on artifacts from which to procure, as well as ascribe, meaning to and information from. There’s a synergy between their points of intersection, despite the materiality of each appearing quite different – sculpture or novel? 

GLAM for “galleries, libraries, archives, and museums” is a newly minted meta-term which validates their connection. Storytelling is as much of a classic art form as didactic religious paintings. And as Margaret Kett in “7 reasons libraries are GLAM” has pointed out, “Libraries collect, conserve, house, and lend anything that tells the story of who we are” (2019). Photos, magazines, books, movies, and music are included under this umbrella. More than one of these mediums is part and parcel to museums and galleries. 

I have worked in major research university libraries such as U.C. Berkeley’s Art History/Classics Library as well as fine art museums such as the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.

I assisted curators and librarians whose work was sacred to me and in the most wonderful rooms and buildings and hallways and times in my life. Both of these places and all the things they contained and exhibited and shared are precious to mankind, hence their curation and preservation and dissemination. So, where does the new juggernaut of information professionalism called the “hyperlink” fit in? 

The hyperlinked academic library is especially interesting to me because although there isn’t a drop of romance in a library website’s database search page, physical libraries and museums, and virtual libraries are sacred information centers. That’s easy to answer if you’ve worked in both. Artifacts and written documents are begin digitized at a rapid and unprecedented speed. Today, students in colleges around the world access and utilize academic resources such as databases for all manner of documented information.

When a digitized painting of the Mona Lisa becomes as real as reality via mixed realty technology, why would anyone visit the Louvre Museum in Paris (since 1797)? The knee-jerk response is: Until the Louvre and all of Paris itself are digitally available. GLAM may soon be spelled “GLAMMR” for: Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums, and Mixed Reality.” Librarians themselves will become digitized hosts but remain the gate-keepers and educators of mankind. 

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