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Annonated Bibliography 3:

Anderson, Gregory T.  “Dimensions, Context, and Freedom: The Library in the Social Creation of Knowledge.”  Sociomedia: Multimedia, Hypermedia and the Social Construction of Knowledge.  Ed. Edward Barrett.  Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1992.  (chapter 6)



            Anderson in this article introduced us to the marriage of the library system to the multimedia technology.  Conventional libraries are constrained by media format, time and geographical proximity.  This restrained the free flow of information stored between locations.

            By taking advantage of multimedia technology, libraries can now remove those rigid physical and time constraints, and to provide a shared space for knowledge creation.  This enables interaction between libraries, readers and information technologies, so as to construct new knowledge.

            The conventional two-dimensional flatland which library used to be, should now be multi-dimensional, giving the author, reader and other readers the space to interact, and to exchange information.

            Anderson questions the role of the library in a knowledge space that is virtual, bountiful, multi-dimensional, fungible and social.  The reader should no longer be constrained by the linkages provided by the author, but be able to create infinite variety of new linkages which is specific to his personal needs.  This is the freedom that hypermedia can provide.



            This article may not be directly relevant to Barthes’ “writerly" text, but I wish to elaborate on why I admitted it.  Basically the author wrote about how the library is going to be changed with the advent of hypermedia.

Firstly, most writings on hypertext or hypermedia focus on the knowledge creation that it enables, that is, how the reader can decide on the way the story is going to develop.  There is not much mention on how the new explosion of hypertexts can be linked.

Anderson’s article inspired me to believe that hypermedia can result in the eventual production of an infinite text.  A text can only be as big as the author can write, no doubt it can be inter-linked in non-sequential manner, and with as much options.

Through linking libraries into a network, the vast capacity of available resources can be enormous.  And with this network, texts and authors can be further linked, giving the reader a wider choice, not only in terms of the path he can choose, but also the various texts which are similar or related.  Such inter-linking will result in a “borderless” reading experience.

This is after all, what Anderson called it “freedom”, the freedom to tap resources from a multi-dimensional system through interaction.  It is the freedom to frame knowledge without constraints.