Network-external and network-internal

Lorcan 1 min read

I have just written the following for other purposes:

The library community is engaged in a difficult transition: from a network-external organization to a network-internal organization. In the former case, the library makes some services available on the network, but the network remains external to how it organizes itself; in the latter, its service and technical organization is network-oriented, making the network central to how services are constructed and delivered. In practices this means constructing services from components and adapting to the network behaviors of its users. This has major impacts on how it engineers and delivers it services.

This organizational distinction corresponds to a service distinction I make elsewhere between off-web and on-web.
To be off-web is to be in a silo hidden behind a user interface. To be on-web has two levels. From a human user perspective, increasingly it means to be available for indexing in the search engines. It also means though being available in lightweight, web 2.0, intrastructural ways. RSS, RESTful web services: these are on-web in that they are easily woven into user experiences by lightweight applications.

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The social, cultural and technological contexts of libraries, services and networks

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