Jostling or colliding: hyperlinked communities (module 2)


In Module 2, we will consider tweaking our perception of the library user by focusing on her digital life and the hyperlinked communities she’s a part of. Additionally, we’ll think about how libraries should be addressing hyperlinked communities with the same effort as their face-to-face communities, and think about roles librarians can play in creating and facilitating hyperlinked communities.


Working in an academic library- students *use* us, but do students need us?  I am just talking about students here, I know we have other users; academic and professional staff and other external library users. Well, yes they do, they need us to find the resources so that they can write and ultimately pass assignments. Read from a range of scholarly and peer reviewed papers, question, argue, and formulate ideas. Simplistic explanation but I am sure you know what I mean.  But how students use the library website, our  institutional web page is “increasingly partial” (Dempsey, 2009). How do I help to socialise and personalise our library services? How do I engage, link, hyperlink with our users?

Dempsey states that  “… the boundary between mobile and fixed dissolves.” We make a practice of accessing websites, resources, eBooks etc on a variety of platforms, browsers and devices to try and get a bigger picture of how students access Library resources. Experiences do differ and that will happen, that’s what we work with and that’s what we need to communicate and acknowledge to our users. Dempsey describes the formal university systems ‘jostling’ with the social systems. I think sometimes that jostle is more a collision at times! Multiple applications, multiple devices.

Some observations, things I need to do

  • investigate more the video and audio options for linking with our students. I think we try for the perfect video, so struggle to be in this space as there is a perception that this sort of medium takes time
  • we do need to offer more extended chat services. I know that we are working towards this: these readings just affirm this!
  • how do we fit into a student’s space while commuting, exercising? Given students are not just regular 9-5 commuters – how do we reach them in lots of time zones?
  • we are struggling with eBooks at our university library – but is it library staff struggling or our student users? I think we need to poll our students about eBooks. we have so many eBook platforms and variations on printing,  reading, downloading and extra add ons. Is it just hard for library staff or everyone? I don’t think I can clearly answer that without asking our users.

I think the Pew Research (2012) is interesting and affirms that we need to be in these mobile, social spaces. I do note that the Pew Research does not cover Australia and Pacific, Canada and South America, but the trends are obvious. So very interesting in reading some of these articles is to note the age of the articles. I can hardly believe that the Abram, Luther article is from 2004 when so much of what it says is still very valid today. I agree with Weinberger in the Rosen story (2012) about the “echo-chamber argument” (irony?). I do tend to read and follow people that confirm my current beliefs. Exposure and reading contrary arguments can also be beneficial. I do think that my team at work has “just enough diversity” (Weinberger in Rosen, 2012).

Our world is so wildly connective. We can follow links and connect with the world so easily.  There is still an urgent need to let some library staff know that this is the way. No longer should knowledge be contained in boxes or silos. I think we still as an organisation and as a profession have a way to go with this. It is life changing. Programs such as the 23Things programs greatly facilitate this process, and of course the younger generations coming into the profession have so much to give. There are still people to move along this path. We all win. I am very interested in working out how I can facilitate some of this as I am not part of the library management in my organisation. Whilst I can see the enormous value in hyperlinked communities, how do I bring others in my organisation along the same path?



Abram, S., & Luther, J. (2004, May). Born with the chip. Library Journal, 129(8), 34-37.

Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, L. (2008, September). The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 775-786.

Dempsey, L. (2009). Always on: Libraries in a world of permanent connectivity. First Monday, 14(1). Available at

Marshall, A., Burns, V., & Briden, J. (2007). Know your students. Library Journal132(18), 26-29.

Pew Research. (2012, February 29). Global digital communication: Texting, social networking popular worldwide (Report). Retrieved from

Rosen, R. J. (2012, January 5). What the Internet means for how we think about the world. The Atlantic. Retrieved from

Wolman, D.  (2008, August 18). The critics need a reboot. The internet hasn’t led us into a new dark age [Web log post]. Wired Magazine. Retrieved from

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