Links turn loose pages into a web. Links also make the Web the type of place that it is. Since we started this chapter by asking what type of place the Web is, we now know to look at the way hyperlinks hold the Web together.

Hyperlinks are weird.

Take a fact so obvious that we don't even think about it: In the real world, if your friend's house is 3 blocks from your house, your house is 3 blocks from his. Of course!

But that's not how it works on the Web. Let's say my hobby is collecting sea shells. I build a Web site about the sea shells I've found. On my page I put links to other pages I think readers might be interested in. One of those links is to the site built by the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. I don't need the Museum's permission to do this. All I need to know is the Museum's web address, which happens to be So, now anyone who comes to my site about shells is only one click away from the Museum's site. But, if you go to the Museum's site are you only one click away from my site? No, because the Museum site doesn't have a link to my site.

So, my site can be right "next door" to the Museum's site but the Museum's site is not right next door to mine.

Links to Explore

Sea Shells

American Museum of Natural History

The Museum's exhibit of pearls

The Museum and sea shells



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This is a children's version of David Weinberger's book
Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web.
copyright © 2002 David Weinberger