Platforms and Promises
What does it mean when people talk about wanting to make their company or band a “platform”?
Sometimes it seems to mean they want to become a household verb, such as “googling,” printed in lowercase and with no “TM” superscript following it, the brand name having become synonymous with the thing the service does. Sometimes when they say “platform” they seem to be saying they want their brand to be like the “internet” itself, written as a common noun with no need to capitalize the “i,” the thing having become an essential utility in our daily lives.
Whatever meaning folks are assigning to the term platform today, the word has always connoted something upon which other things can be built.
Many library systems and an increasing number of digital content collections licensed to libraries are touting their brands as platforms on which libraries can build their own solutions. The new product releases are increasingly coming with apps and APIs for building your own solutions on top of the system’s backend.
In this issue, we focus on how librarians are working with such platforms to manage the work of the library, to transform library services, to deliver new value to patrons, or, indeed, to better achieve their primary and core missions.
On that note, I am reminded that libraries themselves have always provided the intellectual platform on which new ideas have been built. While our magazine’s cover this month suggests that libraries might think of themselves less as places and more as platforms, it should not be forgotten that library spaces remain important planks.
I will be at both of our Internet Librarian shows in London and Monterey, Calif., in October, as will many of the CIL magazine columnists. We all hope to see you there.
Dick Kaser, Executive Editor