1. See also the instructions in the Serials supplement to the FEDLINK Member Handbook regarding how to format your list of serial titles. The most important points to remember are:
B. If you prefer to create the list locally, please include ISSNs. If an ISSN is not available for any individual title, please add publisher information instead. Put at least the name of the publisher or a city and state (or country for non-US publications); if you can, add an address or phone number. The aim is to provide a level playing field for competition purposes, not to give the advantage to your incumbent vendor. Once your vendor is selected, they can routinely provide the service of helping you get information about new titles and publishers.
C. Provide a list of all ship-to addresses. If there are more than five, state the number of ship-to's either at the top of the list, or in your special technical requirements.
D. Subscription periods. Note especially if some need to be regularized.
E. Number of copies of any title needing more than one; ship-to's may be linked to copies.
F. The title list may be in one alphabet, or, if it is more convenient, separate alphabets, e.g. one for each ship-to. If there is more than one alphabetical listing included, note this on a cover sheet and explain the relationship between the lists.
G. The title list can include serials in any format, including electronic journals which are routinely provided under this agreement. See information on Lot 3 regarding special assistance in managing electronic journals.
2. Indicate pricing terms on the Intent to Compete Serials form (Transfer Pay), or, for Direct
Pay, on the RFQ. Estimated price with firm fixed service fee is the standard and is highly
recommended. Firm fixed funding is an option, but requires recompeting each year and, it is
believed, costs the government more than the standard pricing option. For more information on
pricing terms, consult the Serials supplement to the FEDLINK Member Handbook. It also
contains a sample CBD notice and samples of RFQ forms, so that Direct Pay customers can see
text used by LC C&L for Transfer Pay RFQs.
Most libraries can stop here.
3. Do not re-compete standard terms of the FEDLINK agreements. This negates the streamlining advantages and wastes everyone's time. All vendors selected to participate in the FEDLINK program have agreed to and been found able to perform all requirements listed in Lot 1 of the Statement of Work (SOW). Tips:
B. Most requirements are simply variations among the ways standard things can be done. Therefore, you and your vendor can agree to how your account will be serviced for most of Lot 1 after the RFQ process. Do, however, state requirements in your technical specs if you have special concerns, have invested in particular ways of doing business such as using a local automated system, and/or recognize that the cost of doing business with you could be affected by your local requirements. (See also item d, below.)
C. If you have had a bad experience in the past with something that is a standard part of the SOW and want to alert vendors during the RFQ process that you care particularly about that area of service, you have some choices: (1) Do not state simply that you require something, but describe how you want it executed, if it is something where there could be variations in how the service is provided or communicated. (2) Include Past Performance as an evaluation criteria, and weight the evaluation criteria. (We do not recommend weighted evaluations in the majority of cases. Please consult with FEDLINK before you create weighted criteria.)
For example, the SOW says in C.3.4. (a) Personal Representative, "At no additional cost, the Vendor shall assign a representative by name to provide personalized in-house assistance (via telephone) for each account." 99% of the time, this works beautifully, so you should not simply state that you want a service rep assigned to your account: one will be assigned. In extreme cases, specs have stated that a particular person or position should receive notice within a set time period and in a particular way (e.g. phone or email) if the service rep changes, and to whom in the company's reporting structure you should turn if problems are not resolved to your satisfaction.
Do NOT, however, make the requirement too specific, or you can create problems, and raise the vendor's and your costs. You might also invite the vendor to describe any alternative method for meeting your goal, e.g. for notifying you of changes in representatives in a timely fashion. Then, if they suggest something that will accomplish the task -- keeping you informed of changes in personnel -- and works better than what you described, you would have the option of accepting their alternative. (In a weighted evaluation, you would give full points to all vendors who agreed to meet your requirements or provided an acceptable alternative; do not give extra points to a better solution, even if you accept it.)
D. The example above is an extreme, to illustrate a performance concern based on past experience. More examples are listed below, some of them more common. The list is not exhaustive, but illustrative. It provides some areas to consider if you have special needs. A simple statement usually will suffice:
E. As you read through the SOW, note any places where there are multiple options or it says that requirements should be defined in the RFQ process, if applicable. For example, see C.3.2.(f), Costs in Excess of Authorized Funding Level (pages C-8 & 9). You will need to confirm how these situations will be handled, either through the RFQ process, or, if you change vendors, when you first begin to communicate once the vendor selection process is completed.
F. Always remember, your requirements should really be the minimum you need to continue doing business efficiently and effectively. NEVER list a requirement that you know you will not use. Putting in a requirement to try to affect the outcome of vendor selection rather than to meet a true need is not just cheating, it is illegal.
4. Optional Services must be described in your technical specs. They are listed in Lot 2 of the SOW, beginning on Page C-15. Read the descriptions in Lot 2 carefully, noting where you would need to clarify your local requirement.
5. Lot 3 provides for specialized electronic access to publications, such as access to electronic journals. Subscriptions to journals which are published electronically are routinely provided under Lot 1; Lot 3 relates to vendors who have interfaces to particular e-journals, and/or who may provide software or systems to help you manage electronic subscriptions, passwords, etc. At this time, you cannot base competition solely on these services. The world of electronic publishing is changing too rapidly, and still provides access to too limited a range of publications, to use it as the basis for choosing an agent to provide the majority of your serial publications, which will continue for some time to be published and received on paper. Furthermore, at this time no one source or commercial vendor interface provides access to the majority of the journals available electronically. You are allowed to use a vendor's interface, software or system if they provide such a service, without it having been part of the competitive criteria. If you are heavily invested in assistance with electronic journal access, you may include it with other requirements.
6. Evaluation criteria may be pass/fail or weighted. Pass/fail is simpler and works for most situations, e.g. when you simply want to alert the vendor that you will need them to interface with your (specified) local system, or that you will need reports for collection development purposes sorted in a particular way, or other factors described in items 2 and 3, above. Weighted evaluation criteria are used with the RFQ more infrequently, for exceptional situations such as when past performance is being evaluated. Weighting evaluation criteria makes the RFQ process longer, so you must allow sufficient time both for the vendor to respond and for the evaluation and review process. Please consult with FEDLINK serials specialists (202-707-4832 or firstname.lastname@example.org) or LC/C&L's serials contract administrator before using weighted evaluation criteria.