Library As Platform



Traditionally, the library was a collection of content and services in a physical location – selection, acquisition, curation, access, and preservation services, as well as direct end-user support and education, were all in one place. That’s still the case for print and other physical items, even as libraries increasingly embrace collaborative collection development and sharing networks. In the digital universe many, if not most, of those functions have moved online - to content and aggregator platforms, to discovery services, and to digital preservation services. The contributors to this webinar will discuss the implications for this shift, including how librarians and platform vendors should engage to ensure the best service for users — the ultimate stakeholders.

Confirmed speakers include: Daniel GriffinPh.D. candidate, UC-Berkeley School of Information; Dracine HodgesAssociate University Librarian for Collections Services, Duke University; Alex Humphreys, Vice President, Innovation, ITHAKA; and Emily Singley, VP, North American Library Relations, Elsevier.

Event Sessions

Roundtable Discussion


Dracine Hodges

Associate University Librarian for Collections Services
Duke University

Todd Carpenter, Executive Director of NISO, will moderate the discussion.

The discussion by participants touched on the following:

Let’s first start by discussing what we mean when we think of a library as a platform. From your perspective, what does that term mean for you?

Platforms have their strengths and weaknesses. If we think of a library as a platform, what strengths does that imply?

And weaknesses? What are the unintended consequences of thinking of the library in those terms?
If one considers a library as a platform for the institution and for its users, what does that imply? How can we draw analogies with other platforms that an institution might stand up?

Are there functions of a library that challenge this view of what a library is, such as print collections or special collections?
Like every platform, what are the points of failure in a model of libraries as platforms?

What are the benefits to the institution of viewing the library in this way?

In what ways are collectives of libraries or content providers different (or are they) from individual institutions?

Over the past decade, a number of platforms have taken on traditional library roles/services, such as Google Scholar for providing search. How should libraries consider their roles in these services?

Are there implications of this changing ecosystem for users, such as privacy?

In what ways are patron expectations changing in this new platform environment regarding the user experience? How does a library deal with this when they don’t/can’t control that user experience?

What are models for governing these platforms, be they internal to a single organization or many others?

What are the trends that are driving or inhibiting this development?


Shared by an attendee:

NISO RP-27-2019, Recommended Practices for Improved Access to Institutionally-Provided Information Resources: Results from the Resource Access in the 21st Century (RA21) Project - This document, NISO RP-27-2019, details the findings from the Resource Access in the 21st Century initiative. It provides recommendations for using federated identity as an access model and improving the federated authentication user experience.

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