The Hyperlinked Library

The Hyperlinked Library (Updated)


Read the TTW White Paper “The Hyperlinked Library” here – or download the PDF here.

See also: Stephens, M. (2015). Hyperlinked libraries. In Hirsh, S. (2015). Information services today: An introduction. New York: Rowman & Littlefield. (Pre-publication draft here.)

What emerging trends are changing library services? What does a connected world of “continuous computing” mean for 21st Century libraries. This paper and presentation provides a roadmap toward becoming the Hyperlinked Library: transparent, participatory, playful, user-centered and human, while still grounded in our foundations and values.

About the Hyperlinked Library:

The seeds of this paper and presentation were planted in Into a New World of Librarianship and the work of David Weinberger.

The Hyperlinked Library is an open, participatory institution that welcomes user input and creativity. It is built on human connections and conversations. The organizational chart is flatter and team-based. The collections grow and thrive via user and staff involvement. Librarians are tapped in to user spaces and places online to interact, have presence and point the way. The hyperlinked library is human. Communication, externally and internally, is in a human voice. The librarians speak to users via open, transparent conversation.
The hyperlinked library provides spaces and places for users to interact, to collaborate and to create content. In an age of digital tools such as video editing stations, podcast studios and multimedia PCs, this library is a place to have access to all manner of new and emerging technologies. To test drive. To make something.
The hyperlinked library has flattened the organizational chart, breaking down the layers of “permission” and “channels” to get things done, and looks for ways to streamline processes, procedures, and dreaded policies.
The hyperlinked library has a plan for succession management and knowledge transfer— wikis, blogs and other tools maintain the knowledgebase and the “history” of how the library works and what procedures have been successful. No one is the keeper of individual knowledge, so if that person departs the knowledge does not leave with them.
Hyperlinked library services are born from the constant, positive, and purposeful adaptation to change that is based on thoughtful planning and grounded in the mission of libraries. Information professionals embracing the hyperlinked model practice careful trend spotting and apply the tenets of librarianship along with an informed understanding of emerging technologies’ societal and cultural impact. Information professionals communicate with patrons and potential users via open and transparent conversations using a wide variety of technologies across many platforms.
The hyperlinked library model flourishes in both physical and virtual spaces by offering collections, activities, trainings, and events that actively transform spectators into participants. In participatory cultures, everyone is in the business of advancing knowledge and increasing skill levels. The community is integrated into the structure of change and improvement.

The hyperlinked library is transparent when it talks and listens, practices inclusion, and keeps no secrets. The information organization activates processes to gather as much input from the entire community as possible, which heightens in patrons the expectation that communications with the information organization will be open and equitable. The hyperlinked library encourages all types of conversation and feedback about the organization. It is a move toward greater transparency when users are invited to share their opinions about how an information organization is performing, and when the information organization listens and responds. Management shows evidence of active listening and responding to users and staff by implementing requested changes and launching new services, using careful testing as part of the plan for solid, incremental growth.

A special version of “The Hyperlinked Library” was created for the Dr Laurel Anne Clyde Memorial Keynote Address at the Australian School Library Association XXI Biennial Conference, held in Perth, Western Australia, from 29 September to 2 October 2009.

Hyperlinked Library Archived Information & Archived Slide Downloads:

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The Hyperlinked Library by Michael Stephens is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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