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Although the electrical integration of chemically synthesized nanowires has been achieved with lithography, optical integration, which promises high speeds and greater device versatility, remains unexplored. We describe the properties and functions of individual crystalline oxide nanoribbons that act as subwavelength optical waveguides and assess their applicability as nanoscale photonic elements. The length, flexibility, and strength of these structures enable their manipulation on surfaces, including the optical linking of nanoribbon waveguides and other nanowire elements to form networks and device components. We demonstrate the assembly of ribbon waveguides with nanowire light sources and detectors as a first step toward building nanowire photonic circuitry.