Hypertextual library manifesto version 1.0.

Author:Ridi, Riccardo


This manifesto is a bridge between two texts:

* The Digital Libraries Manifesto, written by AIB Study group on digital libraries (in AIB-WEB since December 2005 at http://www.aib.it/aib/cg/gbdigd05a-e.htm3), henceforth cited as MAN.

* My book La biblioteca come ipertesto (The library as hypertext, published by Editrice Bibliografica in October 2007, contents and abstract available at http://www.bibliografica.it/catalogo/ridiipertesto. htm), henceforth cited as IPER.

The aim of this manifesto is, on the one hand, to comment analytically on MAN and to arrange it more rationally, and, on the other hand, to summarize and propose an alternative index for IPER. For each of the first 20 theses, I have indicated the corresponding theses of MAN and the chapters of IPER in which the subject is dealt with, to allow the reader to verify at the source the respective argumentations, excusing the apodictic tone assumed here by the actual theses. For the last five theses, which were not dealt with by MAN, I have pointed out only the relative chapters of IPER. For a general comment and a bibliography concerning MAN, see chapter 3.7 of IPER; for an introduction to the concept of hypertext, see chapter 1.4 of IPER. In the appendix are "the five laws of the hypertextual library," inspired to Ranganathan and translated from chapter 1.9 of IPER.

In the rearrangement of MAN, the original division into principles, models, and functions has been abandoned. The 30 theses of MAN have been reduced to 20 because some of them have been unified:

5, 21, 28: 8;

8, 22, 23: 12;

9, 25, 29, 30: 9;

18, 19: 19;

22, 26: 2;

and some have been split:

17: 2, 4;

20: 1, 8.

Comments and suggestions for a revised version of this manifesto are welcome at: ridi@aib.it.

The 25 theses

  1. Libraries are hypertexts (MAN: 1, 20 - IPER: 1.8, 1.9, 3.7)

    Books, serials, databases, catalogues, bibliographies, blogs, and conversations are all examples of hypertexts with a generally rather simple structure. In contrast, libraries are particularly complex hypertexts, which absorb and assimilate various types of simpler hypertexts.

  2. Libraries manage collections of documents (MAN: 17, 22, 26 - IPER: 2.2, 2.14, 3.4)

    Libraries collect, select, organize, catalogue, preserve, and make accessible collections of documents. Particular libraries have responsibility for the legal deposit of publications, both analog and digital, and their long-term conservation.

  3. Libraries' collections are selective but hospitable (MAN: 6 - IPER: 2.10)

    Inclusion in a library collection always occurs through an explicit criterion. All typologies of documents, including the most experimental and "borderline" (grey literature, software, games, open archives, blogs, websites, etc.), can be part of these collections.

  4. Libraries provide document and information services to users (MAN: 2, 17 - IPER: 2.19, 2.20, 3.8)

    Using staff and infrastructure (buildings, furniture, computer technology, other technology) libraries provide services (reading, loan, reproduction, reference, document delivery, etc.) centred on the documentary and informative resources.

  5. Libraries exist to allow users to determine the existence of relevant documents and use their contents (MAN: 3, 30 - IPER: 1.9, 3.8)

    The primary function of libraries is to allow all citizens to verify the existence of documents with particular characteristics, which they are for any reason interested in, and to help those same users access the contents of those documents, even if they are not included in libraries' collections. This function is not performed exclusively by libraries, but also by other entities (archives, museums, publishers, web search engines, etc.) with which libraries can usefully collaborate.

  6. Libraries are a means, not an end (MAN: 15 - IPER: 3.8)


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