Federal Library and Information Center Committee Library of Congress Washington DC 20540-4930
If you represent a federal agency that uses information products and services, FEDLINK offers you procurement, accounting, and educational support on a fee-for-service basis. The FEDLINK program is designed to help librarians, contracting officers, and finance staff save time, save effort, and save money when buying and using commercial online services, CD-ROMs, books, periodicals, and other library and information services. Through FEDLINK, the Library of Congress shares its expertise in library and information services and consolidates the buying power of federal agencies.
By using the FEDLINK cooperative, the government as a whole and your individual agency benefit from:
Since 1965, the Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, the National Agricultural Library, the National Library of Education, the departmental libraries of executive agencies, the U.S. Court libraries, and other major federal information providers have worked together as the Federal Library and Information Center Committee. FLICC, as the committee is called, fosters excellence in federal library and information service through interagency cooperation and provides guidance and direction for FEDLINK. As part of its mission, FLICC makes recommendations on federal library and information policies, programs, and procedures to federal agencies and others concerned with libraries and information centers. The Library of Congress operates FEDLINK as the business subsidiary of FLICC to help federal libraries and information centers obtain the most value for their information service dollars by serving as their purchasing, training, and resource-sharing consortium.
Section 103 of P.L. 106-481 (2 U.S.C. 182c) establishes FEDLINK as a revolving fund, effective Fiscal Year 2002. The law authorizes the FEDLINK revolving fund to provide "the procurement of commercial information services, publications in any format, and library support services,...related accounting services,...related education, information and support services" to federal offices and to other organizations entitled to use federal sources of supply (Subpart (f)(1)). This work is conducted under interagency agreements (IAGs) between LC and FEDLINK "member" agencies.
The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) also provides specific guidance for your contracting personnel on the determination requirements, ordering procedures, and payment requirements for interagency services.
FEDLINK customer accounts are handled according to LC financial management regulations. These regulations implement applicable generally accepted accounting principles and federal procedures required by statute, by the General Accounting Office, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Department of the Treasury.
The Library contracts for library support, books, serials, on-line services, and CD-ROM publications for FEDLINK members under its own contracting authority.
The Library of Congress Contracts and Logistics Services (LC/C&L) conducts FEDLINK procurement. It is Library of Congress policy to follow the FAR in its own contracting, even though technically, as a Legislative branch agency, LC is not subject to that regulation. For the FEDLINK program, LC follows the FAR as a service to FEDLINK members, most of whom are Executive agencies subject to the FAR. FEDLINK contractual vehicles are normally basic ordering agreements (BOAs), pursuant to 48 C.F.R. § 16.7. They are administered by LC contracting officers with support from FEDLINK librarians who serve as contracting officers' technical representatives (COTRs).
Although FEDLINK is open to all agencies, the program does not operate as a GSA schedule. This fact has several key consequences:
Using LC/FEDLINK BOAs does not excuse you from any specific requirement your agency may have for local, agency, headquarters, Department of Defense (DoD), or other approval for the acquisition of goods or services. The person who will be your interagency official contact for FEDLINK is responsible for assuring that all appropriate internal agency and departmental approvals have been obtained and all appropriate clearances are in place before registering with LC/FEDLINK and signing an IAG for FEDLINK services. (See FAR 17.503.) Upon demand by appropriate local, agency, headquarters, DoD, LC, or federal officials, you must be able to provide documentation of such authority and approval or exemption therefrom. (See FAR 17.504.)
LC is authorized to provide FEDLINK services to other federal agencies and to organizations that are authorized to use federal sources of supply. Accordingly, FEDLINK services are available to any library, information center, or other activity (such as offices of general counsel, procurement units, information resource management departments, laboratories, etc.) within the executive, legislative, or judicial branches of the United States federal government, including activities within all branches of the U.S. armed forces.
Recently, some FEDLINK member agencies from the Department of Defense have had to meet new formal Defense acquisition requirements to document their reasons for contracting outside DoD under the Economy Act. If you represent a DoD organization, you may wish to contact your headquarters librarian or the chief library program official for your branch of the military for information about this authority to purchase through FEDLINK.
In some cases, non-governmental entities may use FEDLINK services. Contractors working for federal agencies, for example, may be authorized to use government supply sources and may therefore be eligible to use FEDLINK. The LC General Counsel has determined that FEDLINK cannot assume that a contractor or other non-governmental entity who registers for the program is eligible. LC must inquire by what authority the request to use FEDLINK is made.
Therefore, if your organization is a contractor or other entity authorized to use government supply sources by 48 C.F.R. § 51 and FAR 51.102, the agency's administrator for your contract or another authorized federal official must send a letter to the FLICC Executive Director specifying that your status enables you to use FEDLINK. The letter should identify whether an agreement between LC/FEDLINK and your organization would be signed by the federal agency's funds certification officer or by your company's representative. If you are a federal contractor, the letter must cite the applicable contract number and provide the name, address, and telephone number for the agency's administrator of your contract.
FEDLINK procures commercial information services in three broad areas: Electronic Information Retrieval, Publications Acquisitions, and Library Support. FEDLINK's agreements with electronic information providers and publications suppliers help you build your federal library collection, manage its resources, and provide quality reference and user services. FEDLINK's library support service agreements help you enhance behind-the-scenes operations in your library or information center by automating and standardizing many technical processesespecially cataloging, classification, circulation, and interlibrary loan.
These service areas and LC/FEDLINK's contracting process are described briefly below and discussed in greater detail in Part II: FEDLINK Services in this FEDLINK Member Handbook.
A list of the vendors available for the coming year is included in the Registration Booklet and in the Contracting & Vendor Services section on the FLICC/FEDLINK Web site. FEDLINK issues special announcements and updates its list of services as additional vendors join the program. Contracting officers assigned to the FEDLINK program working in LC/C&L handle FEDLINK procurement. You may contact them if you have any questions about FEDLINK contracting at (202) 707-0461 or email [email protected].
LC/FEDLINK vendor agreements for electronic information retrieval services provide access to the computer-based information offered by commercial information providers. These services do not include equipment, individualized development or implementation of databases, software, systems, or telecommunications connections.
These services provide computerized access, search, and retrieval from commercial information systems that cover wide subject areas. These electronic publications are typically composed of full-text documents, bibliographic citations, numerical, directory, or graphic data. The systems' search software and indexing are powerful tools to approach such vast amounts of data. Typically, you use dial access or the Web to reach data files on the vendor's computer, but some vendors provide their publications on CD-ROM, magnetic tape, or diskette that you can install at your facility. These fixed media databases may be an alternate format of an online file or printed work, or may be a new work published originally or solely in the fixed electronic format.
Electronic serials are publications that typically include articles, tables, illustrations, and other material that appear in an issue of a scholarly journal, a magazine, newspaper, or other periodical publication. E-serials may be published solely in electronic format or may be electronic versions of traditional print periodicals. They are usually provided on a subscription basis to a defined set of users within an organization or to a consortium of institutions. Subscribers typically receive issues through electronic mail or access them via the Web.
These services offer you single-point access to online information retrieval systems run by different vendors. Often, the gateway service also provides a single search interface to use across different systems and centralizes administration and billing for activity in the systems you use.
These services quickly locate, acquire, and deliver individual documents including articles from journals, technical reports, dissertations, theses, and other published and unpublished materials. The companies accept orders and deliver the documents electronically.
LC/FEDLINK vendor agreements for publications acquisitions bring professional standards for acquiring library materials and a knowledge of the book and serials trade to federal contracting. Instead of purchasing titles directly from thousands of publishers or from your local bookstore (at regular commercial list price), you can use LC/FEDLINK agreements with the wholesalers and agents who serve the library community. By centralizing through an agent, you can greatly simplify ordering, payment, and handling of publications.
Book wholesalers (or jobbers) provide a central channel for acquiring trade and professional books in all subject areas, textbooks, audiovisual materials, government documents, association publications, foreign books, and other specialized publications. Usually, book jobbers offer significant discounts from publishers' list prices. They can find specialized or difficult-to-find materials and provide advance information about forthcoming titles. Many jobbers can also help you with collection development through approval plans, short-term leases for extra copies of popular titles, and books to your library in shelf-ready condition (with a catalog record, book pocket, and spine label).
For books services for transfer pay customers, LC/C&L issues a blanket purchase agreement (BPA) under the terms of the FEDLINK agreement. The BPA identifies which individuals from your agency will be allowed to place book orders and sets a not-to-exceed amount on your cumulative purchases. If you choose direct pay service, your contracting officer may also wish to use the BPA as the vehicle for you to place individual title orders. FEDLINK recommends that you allocate your book funds across more than one book vendor account. This gives you flexibility in choosing the best source for a particular title (i.e., the cheapest or fastest), allows you to rotate your orders among vendors, and keeps the vendors attentive to your service needs.
New book BOAs will be establlished in FY2000 for FY2001 - FY2005.
These services quickly find, acquire, and deliver individual documents including articles from journals, technical reports, dissertations, theses, and other published and unpublished materials. They may deliver these documents in electronic or print format.
Microform suppliers can provide you with library materials published in microfilm and microfiche format, such as back runs of newspapers. FEDLINK's vendor agreements do not include services for microfilming your agency's collections.
You can improve the management of your collection of magazines, journals, newspapers, and other serially published items by using a serials subscription agent. The agent handles your renewals and new subscriptions for thousands of serials titles, makes any prepayments the publishers require, and can perform check-in and process claims for missing issues of your periodicals.
If you are a transfer pay customer, LC/C&L will conduct a formal request for quotation (RFQ) among the four FEDLINK serials vendors if your serials purchase will exceed the simplified acquisition threshold. For transfer pay serials requirements under the simplified acquisition threshold, LC/C&L will conduct the competition for you or can recommend the best procedures to fit your local requirements. Direct pay customers with large serials orders also compete their requirements among the FEDLINK vendors.
FEDLINK Serials RFQs usually include an option to renew with a chosen vendor for successive one-year periods for the duration of the LC/FEDLINK BOA. If you competed your serials requirements under the FY2000 - 2004 BOAs, you may renew your incumbent vendor for FY2001. The Serials Section of Part II and Part VI, Serials Subscription Services, of this handbook discuss serials service in more detail.
FEDLINK's library support agreements help you enhance behind-the-scenes operations in your library or information center by automating and standardizing many technical processesespecially cataloging, classification, circulation, and interlibrary loanand by helping you manage copyright licensing.
Your agency library or information center may become a member of a national bibliographic utility and share its member-created database of original bibliographic records. Full-time catalogers in the Library of Congress and other libraries have created original cataloging records for books and other materials your library may own. You can use their records (which conform to national standards) to update the catalog of your collection quickly and efficiently.
The utilities' databases are also a "union catalog" of library collections, meaning they reflect which libraries own what materials. Thus, they are an international pool of data that you can use for interlibrary loan and other resource-sharing and cooperative development activities. FEDLINK's two bibliographic utilities are:
The bibliographic utilities are unique among LC/FEDLINK services in that their online databases are not "read-only"; you actually add records to a utility's database system. When you join a bibliographic utility for the first time, it is necessary to "profile" your library to establish parameters for your cataloging, classification, and interlibrary loan services. FEDLINK Network Operations (FNO) will walk new members through their OCLC profiles and submit the profiles to OCLC. FNO can advise new members of RLIN as well.
If you are considering joining a bibliographic utility, please contact a FEDLINK network librarian at (202) 707-4848 for assistance. You should also contact FNO if you are canceling service with your utility, so the work can begin to close down your membership and disconnect your telecommunications links.
In the legislative history to the Copyright Act of 1976, Congress suggested that copyright owners and users of copyrighted materials develop an efficient mechanism for dealing with the requirement that users of copyrighted materials (including photocopies) ordinarily require permission from the copyright owners. CCC is a not-for-profit corporation that formed to be such a mechanism. When you pay an annual license fee, CCC authorizes your agency patrons to make unlimited photocopies for the internal purposes of your organization from any of the works in CCC's repertory. CCC makes the necessary royalty payments to the individual rights holders for you. Multiplying a cost factor determines the annual fee, and CCC will charge your agency based on the total number of professional and administrative employees in your organization.
FEDLINK offers two services that provide efficient methods for libraries to pay the nominal fees that lending institutions often charge to recover their photocopying or other loan processing costs. Under one service, a contractor with a FEDLINK agreement consolidates the ILL invoices you receive and pays the institutions that lent you materials. The contractor then bills an account your agency set up at FEDLINK for reimbursement for your ILL charges plus a processing fee.
The second FEDLINK approach is OCLC's ILL Fee Management (IFM) service. With OCLC IFM your library borrows and lends materials via the OCLC online ILL messaging system. That system tracks your activity and posts any borrowing or lending fees as debits or credits on your monthly OCLC bill. Particularly if your library is allowed to collect ILL fees, you may wish to consider the OCLC IFM service.
Technical processing vendors will supply original cataloging, copy cataloging, retrospective conversion, and physical processing for books, serials and other materials in your library collection. The cataloging conforms to national standards (e.g., Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules and Library of Congress Rule Interpretations), uses the established forms of names and other headings, includes your call numbers, and will also reflect your other local requirements. The vendors will deliver OCLC MARC format cataloging data edited to your local specifications on diskette, tape, or via the Web, update your holdings in the OCLC union catalog, and ensure that your edited records are archived in OCLC. If the vendor catalogs for you with the piece in hand (instead of using a title page or other surrogate), they can also physically process the item to make it shelf-ready. Depending on the vendor, you may arrange to have materials shipped directly from your book jobber to the vendor or send the vendor the items or surrogates yourself.
Based on profile information you specify as part of an RFQ FEDLINK competes for you, the vendors bid a per-item price for your particular cataloging and physical processing job(s). You then order processing for a specific number of items. The technical processing service is not a personnel services contract. It does not cover on-site staffing, serials check-in, loose-leaf updating, or other work often associated with bibliographic control of collections.
FEDLINK establishes agreements with multiple information services vendors through a formal, open procurement process. The term "agreement" is used throughout this discussion because the procurement vehicle LC/FEDLINK uses is not technically a "contract". It is a Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) pursuant to 48 C.F.R. § 16.7. LC/FEDLINK's BOAs set the terms and conditions for service from vendors, but do not themselves obligate funds. Delivery orders or purchase orders issued against the BOA become the obligation of funds to the contract with the vendor. Vendors who receive LC/FEDLINK BOAs have in effect "qualified" to receive your orders through the program. Establishing the BOAs requires the formal procurement actions described below.
LC/C&L initiates a public advertisement in the Commerce Business Daily (CBD) to solicit contractors to provide the services FEDLINK members say they need. Vendors' proposals undergo formal technical and cost evaluation by technical personnel in FEDLINK Network Operations and LC contracts staff and review by LC Counsel and senior management in accordance with LCR 1614-2. LC/C&L writes a synopsis of individual orders in excess of $25,000 and conducts formal requests for quotation for individual customers as appropriate.
The period of performance for LC/FEDLINK BOAs is normally a single federal fiscal year with options for LC/FEDLINK to renew for additional years. Both the LC/FEDLINK BOAs and orders under the BOAs will expire on September 30 of the current fiscal year. Current services to your agency also expire on that date and are not renewed automatically. To renew for the coming year, three things must happen: 1) LC/FEDLINK must establish or renew a BOA with the vendor for the new year; 2) you must set up a new interagency agreement with LC/FEDLINK; and 3) new delivery/purchase orders must be issued to the vendor.
The BOAs contain the terms, conditions, and pricing under which vendors and FEDLINK member agencies will conduct business. LC/FEDLINK negotiates with vendors to achieve the lowest possible price and most favorable terms and conditions for the government agencies using procedures followed by LC. The BOAs reflect the fact that FEDLINK represents more than 1,300 federal organizations who together spend more than $100 million annually on information services. After your agency establishes an IAG with LC/FEDLINK, LC will place orders for your agency or authorize your own agency-generated orders under the terms of the LC/FEDLINK BOAs. LC/C&L and FEDLINK staff administer the BOAs during the year by monitoring vendor performance and customer satisfaction, working with you and the vendors to resolve problems, and incorporating new products and services as appropriate.
You have two options for placing orders under LC/FEDLINK BOAs: transfer pay or direct pay. Under the transfer pay option, LC/C&L acts as your contracting office, satisfying requirements for competition when necessary, and issuing delivery orders with not-to-exceed amounts that reflect your service funding. The delivery order LC/C&L issues under the BOA becomes the contract for the vendor to provide service to you. After the delivery order is issued, you are authorized to place item-level orders directly with the vendor up to the cumulative ceiling amount on your delivery order.
Alternately, under the direct pay option, after your IAG is signed, LC issues an authorization to the vendor to receive purchase orders under the LC/FEDLINK BOA directly from your agency. Your agency contracting office retains responsibility for creating a synopsis and competing orders when necessary and for issuing purchase orders that reference your current IAG, FEDLINK ID, and the appropriate BOA. For services in excess of $100,000, your agency must forward its purchase orders to LC/FEDLINK, where LC/C&L reviews them for compliance with procurement rules, the BOA, and your current interagency agreement, and forwards them to the vendor as quickly as possible. Your "direct pay" purchase order, plus the LC/FEDLINK authorization, becomes the contractual basis for the vendor to provide service to you. Your agency takes advantage of the industry-wide procurement LC conducted to establish the FEDLINK agreements, and the volume prices offered to FEDLINK, but your agency handles all invoicing itself.
FEDLINK provides accounting services to handle invoices for members who register under the transfer pay option. If your agency prefers to manage the funding and invoice payment for your use of FEDLINK services itself, then you would use the direct pay option. Otherwise, you may choose to transfer your service funding to LC to be maintained in transfer pay accounts at FEDLINK. Vendors will submit the invoices for your service usage to FEDLINK where they will be paid from your transfer pay account. FEDLINK Fiscal Operations staff members process the funds transfers from your agency, make your allotments among accounts, review and pay appropriate vendor invoices, issue monthly statements that reflect your account transactions, and provide copies of funding transactions and paid invoices. Your daily account balance(s),transaction detail from your statements, and other reports are posted on FEDLINK's Web site in the Member Financial Services Section.
It is your responsibility to review your statements to be sure that FEDLINK has accurately recorded your funds transfers and only paid for goods and services that your agency actually received. If a vendor has invoiced you incorrectly and you need a credit or a refund to your account, FEDLINK will work with the vendor to resolve the problem for you.
Annually, FEDLINK maintains transfer pay accounts of approximately $50 million and processes approximately 11,000 IAG and delivery order transactions and 70,000 invoices. FEDLINK pays 99 percent of the invoices by electronic funds transfer to the vendors. See Part IV: Accounts of this FEDLINK Member Handbook for a more detailed discussion of transfer pay accounts management.
FLICC, FEDLINK's parent organization, works to make federal libraries and information centers more effective by offering federal librarians, information specialists, and technical staff a range of continuing education and skills training opportunities. FEDLINK also provides advice, support, and consulting about the daily operations of federal libraries and information services.
FLICC conducts an extensive series of programs, meetings, seminars, workshops, and hands-on training. The professional librarians on staff in FEDLINK Network Operations and members of the federal library community who serve on the FLICC Education Working Group offer programs in library and information science curriculum that covers the following areas:
Since 1984, FLICC has conducted an annual Forum that brings together government officials, federal librarians, vendors, and public interest groups to address current issues in federal information policy. A major theme of all FLICC/FEDLINK education efforts is the application of technology to information services, library resources, and operations. Recent FLICC/FEDLINK programs have covered the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), hands-on use of the Internet, real-life applications of technology standards, copyright law for librarians and computer professionals, negotiating license agreements, preservation of non-book materials, library space planning, MARC format integration, descriptive cataloging, acquisitions, government information on the Web, and an overview of librarianship for library technicians.
FLICC/FEDLINK offer classes and educational programs to federal employees under the Government Employees Training Act, 5 U.S.C §§ 4101-4118. Some events are free, but others have a fee. You may establish a transfer pay account to cover charges for your FLICC/FEDLINK training, or may use a standard government training form (e.g., SF182 or DD1556) to register and pay for events. Contractors, whose non-governmental employers are authorized to use government supply sources according to 48 C.F.R. § 51 and FAR 51.102, may also register for training. (See Section II, 3.4.) Some vendors may also offer training in the use of their services; such classes are usually covered in the vendor's BOA and may be charged to your account with that vendor.
As part of its official function as the OCLC service network for libraries in the federal government, FEDLINK offers a full range of classes in the use of OCLC online systems for cataloging, authority control, interlibrary loan, and reference. FEDLINK conducts regular classes in the Washington, D.C. metro area and travels to federal libraries across the country to provide start-up and refresher training in OCLC systems. Costs for FEDLINK training may be charged to your transfer pay training account.
FEDLINK Network Operations also provides daily support to OCLC members by helping profile your library, fill out OCLC forms and get documentation, install OCLC software, access OCLC via the Internet, manage bibliographic tape subscriptions and interfaces with your local integrated library system, set up OCLC end-user systems like FirstSearch, and so forth. Federal libraries have a voice in OCLC's planning and development through FEDLINK's participation on the OCLC Users Council, Regional OCLC Network Directors Advisory Committee, and OCLC's subject-specific advisory committees.
FLICC/FEDLINK publications include regular publications for members: the monthly FEDLINK Technical Notes newsletter; the quarterly FLICC Newslette; the online catalog of FEDLINK vendor services; guidance on managing books, serials, and technical processing services; the FLICC/FEDLINK education catalog and training materials; and accounts management information. Special publications include proceedings of the FLICC Forum and other events, and an annotated guide to the OPM classification standards for federal librarians. Many of these items are also available in electronic format.
FLICC/FEDLINK has a Web site where you can: review many programs' regular publications; check the events calendar; link to the catalogs or Web sites of federal libraries including LC; link to FEDLINK vendors; send messages to the program offices; and sign up for the FLICC listserv discussion groups. (The URL is http://www.loc.gov/flicc.) The listservs include one for FEDLINK announcements and interchange among members (fedlib), and specialized lists for federal librarians interested in cataloging, reference, acquisitions, and information technology.
FLICC/FEDLINK's Web site also offers general information on FLICC, FEDLINK, federal libraries, and information services. ALIX-FS is a subsection of the Web that offers member-specific data on FEDLINK account balances and service usage.
Your agency has a choice between two FEDLINK service options for most services: transfer pay and direct pay. The options differ based on the extent of the contracting and accounting support LC/FEDLINK provides.
LC/C&L contracting officers issue delivery orders against funds your agency has transferred to LC. LC/C&L will conduct competitions for your individual requirements within the framework of the established BOAs when necessary. You may need to supply C&L with detailed information about your individual requirements so they can conduct your competitions. Services in FEDLINK's Library Support category (e.g., OCLC, training, technical processing) and selected other services are only available in transfer pay mode.
Vendors submit invoices for your service usage to FEDLINK, where they are processed and paid from the funds in your account. If your IAG has not been signed, your delivery order has not been issued, or your account has insufficient funds, FEDLINK rejects invoices and returns them to the vendor. FEDLINK sends you copies of any rejected invoices with an explanation for the rejection, so that you can take appropriate actionfor example, to increase the funding in your account. The vendor will resubmit rejected invoices after your account problem has been corrected.
FEDLINK sends you a statement of account for each of your current services each month. Each statement reports the invoices that were paid for you and those that were rejected during the particular reporting period. Copies of paid invoices are attached to the statement. You must review your statements and attached invoices to be sure your agency actually received all the services/items for which FEDLINK has made payment. You must report any errors on the invoices or problems in charges posted to your account to FEDLINK. FEDLINK has a Problem Report Form designed for this purpose; it is in the Appendix to this Handbook. Based on your report, FEDLINK will get a credit from the vendor or make internal corrections to your account, as appropriate. Your agency must not make payments for rejected invoices or work out credits with the vendor directly, as this greatly increases the chance of a double payment to the vendor or an incorrect obligation level in your account.
To help you manage your funds, FEDLINK provides account information to you electronically. The daily balance in all your accounts is available to you online on the ALIX-FS system. In addition, the transaction detail, and other reports regarding your statements, are available in data files that you can download and import into a database or spreadsheet.
After establishing an interagency agreement with LC, your agency issues purchase orders that reference your IAG, FEDLINK ID, and the appropriate LC/FEDLINK BOAs. Your own agency contracting officers are responsible for competition of requirements over your agency's simplified acquisition threshold within the framework of the established LC/FEDLINK BOAs. This includes a synopsis of your requirements for more than $25,000 in the Commerce Business Daily. You send purchase orders and purchase order modifications generated by your agency that total less than $100,000 directly to the vendor; orders totaling more than $100,000 you send to LC for authorization to use LC/FEDLINK BOAs. LC/C&L forwards the authorization and your orders to vendors as quickly as possible. Vendors submit invoices directly to your agency which pays the vendors directly.
When you sign up with FEDLINK, you must select one or the other of these options for each vendor service. You must consider your choice carefully, because it is not possible to switch from one service option to the other during the fiscal year. You may have a mixture of transfer pay and direct pay services on your IAG, but each vendor service may only be used in one pay option on a single IAG. You may not have two accounts for the same vendor service on the same IAG, but if you need to manage separate fund allocations, you may set up more than one IAG with LC/FEDLINK. For example, you might have one IAG for the library and another for other offices in your agency, or one IAG for Headquarters and separate IAGs for field offices you fund separately, etc. IAGs are explained further below.
The different level of contracting and accounting service FEDLINK provides for transfer vs. direct pay service is reflected in different fees for the two options. The FEDLINK administrative fee for transfer pay is 7.75% on the first $300,000 in each of your accounts and 7.00% on amounts over $300,000 in each account. The FEDLINK administrative fee for direct pay is $1,200 per direct pay service account plus .6% of service dollars over $100,000 in each account.
Under both service options, you may allow subunits in your agency to use services under your IAG. FEDLINK must be able to identify all the purchase orders that will be associated with your direct pay account and all the invoices to be posted to your transfer pay account. Therefore, if you authorize other offices to use your IAG, you must provide names, addresses, and an official contact for each of these offices.
Comparison of FEDLINK Payment Options
|Transfer pay is an option for all vendor services and some services are transfer pay only.||
Direct pay is an option for most vendor services, but some services are transfer pay only.
|LC contracting office places CBD synopsis for orders over $25,000 and conducts formal competition where necessary.||Your agency contracting office places CBD synopsis and conducts formal competition where necessary.|
|LC delivery order in amount specified on IAG is issued to vendor by LC/C&L.||LC grants authorization for orders up to amount specified on IAG and your purchase order is forwarded to vendor by LC/C&L.|
|FEDLINK transfer pay fee plus service dollars for vendors.||FEDLINK direct pay fee.|
|7.75% on the first $300,000 in each account7.00% on amounts over $300,000 in each account||$1,200 per service plus .6% of service dollars over $100,000 in each service|
|Vendor sends invoices to FEDLINK; FEDLINK and LC/FSD pay invoices from agency funds transferred to LC; FEDLINK is responsible for any interest penalties.||Vendors send invoices to member agency; agency finance office pays invoices from agency funds; agency is responsible for any interest penalties.|
|FEDLINK sends monthly statements of account with copies of paid invoices; balances available online.||Your finance office reports.|
Your agency becomes a FEDLINK member and places orders with the Library of Congress for FEDLINK services by registering and establishing an interagency agreement (IAG) with LC for the current fiscal year. FEDLINK assigns every member an IAG number and FEDLINK ID which become the key to all your records. The IAG:
The IAG total is the amount your agency will obligate to LC. The IAG total reflects your transfer pay service funding, the transfer pay fees, and direct pay fees. Because under the direct pay option your agency pays your invoices itself, you do not transfer service funding to LC, and so funding amounts for your direct pay services are not included in the IAG total. The entire IAG process is discussed in detail in Part III of this Handbook.
You must have an IAG with LC for every year you want to use FEDLINK. For both transfer and direct pay service, LC/FEDLINK issues an annual IAG to your agency based on a registration form you submit. The LC Budget Officer signs the IAG and forwards it to your agency to be completed by your agency's funds certification officer, who signs the IAG and provides a current funds citation. Signing the IAG binds your agency to the terms of the agreement and obligates your agency's funds to the Library of Congress in the full amount specified in the IAG. Your agency's funds citation must be for the full amount of the IAG. Signing the IAG document does not obligate funds to vendors. Before your agency signs the IAG, all internal agency approvals for procuring services through an interagency program under the Economy Act must be in place. (See FAR 17.5.)
The LC Financial Services Directorate (LC/FSD) will invoice your agency for the amount obligated to LC on the signed IAG, according to the funds transfer provisions of 2 U.S.C. § 182c. Payment by your agency is usually executed through federal electronic funds transfer systems. Finally, based on the budget authority your agency transfers to LC by signing the IAG, LC/C&L issues delivery orders and notifies the vendor(s) that your agency is authorized to use FEDLINK services in the amount identified in the IAG.
LC cannot accept other documents from your agency instead of the completed LC/FEDLINK IAG. To simplify your agency's internal processing, however, LC will handle Military Interdepartmental Purchase Requisitions (MIPRs) or other agency-specific documents if you submit them to FEDLINK as attachments to your signed LC/FEDLINK IAG. The terms of your agency's documents do not, however, supersede the terms of the LC/FEDLINK IAG. You should request formal acceptance of your funding documents by marking the appropriate block on the signature page of the IAG.
For agreements that will be signed by a contractor representative instead of a federal official, and will cite contractor funds instead of a government appropriation, LC issues a contract use agreement (CUAG) instead of an IAG. The most significant difference between a CUAG and an IAG is that payment to LC for a CUAG is due when the agreement is signed. The funds transferred under CUAGs are not intra-governmental transactions, and so contract users must submit payment to LC before being authorized to receive service. Contractor payments must be submitted as an attachment to signed CUAGs. If you represent a non-governmental entity, you should identify whether an IAG or CUAG will be appropriate in Part D - Member and Agreement Type of your Registration Form. Attach your written request for authorization to use FEDLINK when you submit your registration.
You may amend your IAG or CUAG during the year. You may add new funds or new services in either transfer pay or direct pay mode. You may reallocate funds you have transferred to LC by moving them between accounts to cover anticipated orders or to establish accounts with new vendors. You may request a refund of all or part of your balance, provided you leave enough funds in your account to cover all your outstanding invoices. You may terminate a vendor's service. As vendors' termination clauses differ, you should contact LC/C&L or the FEDLINK Vendor Services Coordinator for more information. Part III of this Handbook provides detailed instructions for all these transactions.
The entire cost of the LC/FEDLINK program, which receives no Congressional appropriation, must be recovered through administrative fees charged to agencies that use FEDLINK contracting, accounting, and educational services. Fees cover direct and indirect costs for staff and operations of the FEDLINK program office, and for LC contracting staff, budget and accounting staff, and legal staff assigned to the program.
The FLICC Budget and Finance Working Group develops the annual FEDLINK budget and fee structure with input and review from the FLICC Executive Board and the FEDLINK Advisory Committee. FLICC members vote on the proposal and final approval of the annual budget and fee structure comes from the Librarian of Congress. The annual administrative fee assessment is based on a cost breakdown analysis that allocates the costs of transfer pay and direct pay support to each group of users. Transfer pay and direct pay fees are set to recover the costs of providing service to each group of users fully and fairly.
The fee for transfer pay service is 7.75% on the first $300,000 in each account and 7.00% on amounts over $300,000 in each account of service dollars transferred to LC. This percentage-based fee covers FEDLINK workloads associated with providing contracting and contract administration service (establishing BOAs, processing and monitoring IAGs and delivery orders, and giving contracting support to member contracting offices), accounts management service (processing invoices and statements, monitoring, and reconciling accounts), and member support service (e.g., telephone hotline, newsletter, electronic publications, and accounts, and advice on library and information services).
For example, if you sign up for Service X in transfer pay mode and intend to spend $50,000 with the vendor, your FEDLINK fee will be $3,875. If you also sign up for Service Y in transfer pay mode and intend to spend $450,000 with that vendor, the fee for Service Y will be is $33,750: 7.75% of the first $300,000 in the account ($23,250) plus 7% on the $150,000 over the transfer pay threshold ($10,500). The total value of your IAGwhich is the total amount your agency will obligate and transfer to LCis $537,625. This includes both the fee for FEDLINK service and the service dollars to be put into your transfer pay accounts. Please note that the reduced 7% fee kicks in for each transfer pay account that exceeds $300,000, not for a an entire IAG that totals more than $300,000.
The fee for direct pay service is $1,200 for each FEDLINK BOA you use plus .6% of service dollars over $100,000 in each account. Because agencies may be able to take advantage of provisions in the Federal Acquisitions Streamlining Act (FASA) to raise their simplified acquisition thresholds to $100,000, FEDLINK's supplemental fee will only be charged on accounts above that level.
For example, if you sign up for Service D in direct pay mode and intend to spend $80,000 with the vendor, the FEDLINK fee for Service D will be $1,200. If you also sign up for Service E in direct pay mode and intend to spend $600,000 with that vendor, the FEDLINK fee for Service E will be $4,200: $1,200 base fee plus $3,000, which is 0.6% of the $500,000 over the $100,000 direct pay fee threshold. The total value of your IAG for these two serviceswhich is the total amount your agency will obligate and transfer to LCis $4,200. This includes only the direct pay fee for FEDLINK service. Your agency will keep the $680,000 you intend to spend with the two vendors and will pay the vendors' invoices itself.
The flat fee for all direct pay accounts covers FEDLINK's contracting (BOAs, authorizations), member support, and oversight workload. The supplemental fee for the largest accounts covers the extensive additional work LC/C&L does in consulting with your contracting officer, advising for your competition, reviewing, documenting, negotiating, monitoring, and reporting on large procurements. Purchase order modifications that increase funding levels above $100,000 must be reviewed and authorized by LC/FEDLINK and will be charged the percent fee.
FLICC/FEDLINK sets its training fees to recover the cost of instructors, materials, and overhead. The standard fees are:
You may partner with other FEDLINK members in your area to sponsor a training event. The fees for regional training sessions for students from different agencies and fees for FLICC events are established based on an individual budget prepared for the specific event.
If you regularly use FLICC/FEDLINK educational services, you may wish to set up a training account under your IAG. FLICC/FEDLINK will only conduct agency on-site training if you have such an FT account on your IAG. Invoices for your attendance at FLICC events and FEDLINK regular classes or regional training will be charged to your account. You will pay FEDLINK's regular transfer pay fee to set up and operate the account.
For regular classes and events, FLICC/FEDLINK can also bill your agency directly using a standard government training form (such as a DD1556 or SF182). If FEDLINK bills you directly, the administrative 7.75% fee is added to the cost of the event. This ensures that members who pay under their IAGs and members who pay directly are charged the same net rates. Thus, the rates for regular FEDLINK classes when billed direct to your agency are $65 for a half-day class and $108 for a full-day class.
FLICC/FEDLINK fee-based classes and events are intended for government employees: staff covered by a training account established under your IAG, and staff eligible to use a standard government training form. If your library uses contractor staff, and you have authorized them to receive government training, then you may send them to classes and events and pay for their attendance through the FT account on your IAG. Of course, contractors may also have an FT account on a CUAG established between LC/FEDLINK and their organization. FLICC/FEDLINK cannot, however, accept and retain payment directly from contractors or from private citizens.
FEDLINK is dedicated to helping you get the most value for your information service dollar and is keenly aware of the paradox in offering fee-based service to federal agencies at a time when agency budgets are shrinking. As your agency funding decreases and staff and operations strain to meet ongoing requirements, the need for an efficient and effective centralized operation such as FEDLINK increases. FEDLINK's group discounts (which are as high as 50% off commercial rates in some services) and the increased financial reporting and control FEDLINK gives you help you stretch your library service and materials budgets.
FEDLINK saves costs and reduces the burden on your agency's administrative staff by establishing a simplified, centralized, approved method for procuring information services and processing invoices. More than 1,000 agencies use FEDLINK every year to place more than 5,000 contracts/orders totaling more than $100 million. The FEDLINK consortium prevents the waste of time and money that would occur if these agencies were all contracting independently for the same services. Because the Library of Congress and FEDLINK are experienced in library and information services, you can also save the time and effort you usually spend explaining the ins and outs of the information and publishing industry to your contracting officers.
Similarly, there are obvious economies of scale for the government by centralizing invoice processing: fewer staff are needed to review invoices and fewer checks are issued. Also, FEDLINK's accounting unit makes sure that vendors are paid on time so that FEDLINK rarely has to pay an interest penalty for late payment.
FEDLINK recognizes that while your contracting and finance offices benefit from FEDLINK services, your library budget usually pays the entire FEDLINK fee. If you can quantify the savings to your agency from simplifying contracting and eliminating invoice handling responsibilities, you may be able to win some budgetary support. A 1997 consultant study estimated that FEDLINK saves transfer pay customers more than $21,000 in cost avoidance for purchases more than $100,000. More than $8,000 of this savings is in the agency's contracts office. Nearly $13,000 of the savings is in library staff time. Use Figure 1 to help you in making a cost-benefit analysis.
Finally, FLICC/FEDLINK training, support and professional development activities help you use your information resources and systems more effectively, manage your library better, advocate your library services, and participate in your agency's information policy development. By networking with other federal librarians and information professionals, you share their expertise, learn from their experience, and hear about opportunities for your continued development as an information service professional.
Beyond the traditional grouping where an agency headquarters or library program offices would centralize purchasing for many branches or installations in dispersed geographic locations, FEDLINK consortium enable libraries, offices of one agency, or multiple agencies to consolidate their purchasing by pooling their money in an individualized consortium where FEDLINK handles the money (transfer pay only) and with members, vendors and FEDLINK Fiscal Operations (FFO) staff identify the participants and handle administrative details. Each consortium is handled as a case by case special arrangement.
To participate in a service specific consortium, your register and establish an Interagency Agreement (IAG) as explained in Section III. Interagency Agreement. The IAG should include the service for which the consortium is being formed; or the service may be added to your existing IAG. You must indicate to FFO that you are participating in a service specific consortium and if the service provider needs to assign individual passwords, symbols or account identifiers you should attach a list of your units or groups.
After you return your completed, signed IAG, the LC Financial Services Directorate (LC/FSD) will invoice your agency for the amount obligated to LC on your signed IAG and any modifications. Based on the budget authority your agency transfers to LC by signing the IAG, LC/C&L issues delivery orders and notifies the vendor that your agency is participating in a service specific consortium and is authorized to use FEDLINK services in the amount specified.
If the consortium requires a consolidated account, you initiate a money move request to move the service specific funds from your account to the consolidated consortia account. FFO will establish a separate consortium IAG based on the total amount of the consortium members' signed money move requests. The vendor then submits an invoice for the amount in the consolidated consortium's account and provides monthly usage data for each member of the consortium.
For a consolidated account, one of the participants must be designated as the consortium coordinator. As the consortium coordinator you work with FEDLINK staff to identify the consortium participants and serve as the point of contact for the account. You monitor the consolidated account activity making sure that the consortium members are getting what they paid for, receive and redistribute reports and monthly usage detail to the members, and work with individual members as necessary to maintain the account balance and continuity of service.
Figure 1 Cost-Benefit Comparisons Worksheet
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