Local and Global Aspects of the Hyperlinked Library

Going Philosophical for a Minute …

Implicit in the hyperlink library is the notion of the generative work of the collective imagination. This imaginative work is expressed in very local environments (libraries and communities), at the same time it is connected to and drawing upon global and mass-mediated images, scripts and conversations.  It is not as if the collective imagination and the generation of new ideas has previously been missing from the human experience. Of significance, though, is that these imaginative connections are different in a post-electronic world (Johnson, 2011).

Through the hyperlinked library, a significant part of 21st century information flow, the imagination and collective knowledge sharing and building that previously was sequestered into the university and institutions of power have now become a part of the work of ordinary people across societies and in the practice of their everyday lives.  An important emerging aspect of this knowledge sharing and imagining is afforded by the hyperlinked library and the building of joint sentiment as groups of individuals begin to share conversation and knowledge, imagining and feeling things together (Anderson, 1983).

Furthermore, the hyperlinked library can be a framework for looking at dimensions of global and local cultural dynamics that disrupt previously held politically and socially constructed ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes and ideoscapes (Appadurai, 1996). Flows of conversation, knowledge and ideas through the hyperlinked library create new globally connected, and yet locally generated and mediated, flows of conversation, knowledge and ideas. These types of connections are more organic and central to human creative experience than previous information flows that were vertically oriented – with specifically constructed and managed information and messages flowing ‘down’ from individuals and institutions with strong power bases.

Within this milieu, it is highly important to imagine and build the local hyperlinked library. The local hyperlinked library provides a local ethnoscape, of sorts, that is integrally connected to larger global and disruptive flows of information and knowledge. The hyperlinked library can be a place of local connection and knowledge creation that cannot happen on the global scale and yet it informs, contributes and helps shape the global information flow.

As emerging library professionals, we must reflect upon how our practice can help build the hyperlinked library. The hyperlinked library will be supported by professionals who can organize information, technologies and systems, so that the universe of knowledge is available to its patrons. At the same time, the hyperlinked library builds community and the enabling space for the sharing, building and representation of local knowledge. This is significant work! They hyperlinked library provides connection and conversation with the global mind, and provides a central local point of community participation and contribution to it.



Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined Communities. London: Verso.
Appadurai, A. (1996). Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Johnson, S. (2011). Where Do Good Ideas Come From? New York: Riverhead Books.

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