This handbook was last updated in early FY2000.
For latest information on FEDLINK, the FY2004 serials program, or other information,
please call (202) 707-4900.

Federal Library and Information Center Committee
Library of Congress
Washington DC 20540-4930

FEDLINK Member Handbook—FY 2000

Serials Subscription Services

Section VI

VI. Serials Subscription Services

1. FEDLINK Serials Subscription Services

A. Program Summary

B. Exercise Option Years

C. Serials Vendors in the FEDLINK Program

D. FEDLINK Points of Contact

II. Guidelines for Competing Serials Subscription Services Under the FEDLINK Program

A. Overview

B. Steps in the Competition Process

C. Determining and Evaluating Requirements

1. Title List

2. Subscription Periods

3. Technical Requirements/Special Instructions

4. Pricing Terms

III. Contract Administration

A. Start Up

B. Ongoing Contract Administration

IV. FEDLINK Serials IAG Process-At-A-Glance

VI. SupplementSection C—Statement of Work

I. FEDLINK Serials Subscription Services

A. Program Summary

LC/FEDLINK Serials Program

The Library of Congress (LC) FEDLINK interagency cooperative procurement program establishes basic ordering agreements (BOAs) with more than 90 commercial information providers of database retrieval and publications acquisitions services. FEDLINK has provided BOAs for serials subscription services since 1985.

Benefits of FEDLINK

For serials subscriptions, FEDLINK establishes agreements with leading serials agents who place new and renewal orders for all types of federal libraries, information centers and other government offices. Vendors offer a wide range of services to meet local needs. Procurement procedures are streamlined and meet the requirements of the Federal Acquisitions Regulations (FAR). Competition is sought for individual agency requirements, in the best interests of the government. Assistance is available from experienced LC contracting officials, and from a team of librarians with a background in serials and federal acquisitions. Contacts are listed on page 9.

Serials Services

Serials are items in many formats published serially in the U.S. and abroad,including common magazines, newspapers, and technical or specialty journals. The requirements for subscription services provided by the vendors are described in the agreements in a Statement of Work (SOW). Basic serials subscription services provided by the vendors include placing new and renewal orders with publishers, prepaying publishers, claiming missing issues and providing a range of administrative services. Price and publication information and management reports are routinely provided. In addition, some vendors can provide additional serials management and automation services, e.g., checking in and processing issues; downloading data to the customer's online system; or managing access to electronic journals. Prices for optional services are established in the agreements. Serials prices are established by the publishers; service fees/discounts charged by the vendor are within ranges established in the agreements. Each customer's total cost is determined by a quote from the vendor on the agency's individual title list and technical requirements.

FEDLINK Serials Agreements

LC/FEDLINK serials agreements are established through a competitive procurement which determines the vendors' ability to provide full serials subscription services to federal libraries. Current agreements were established with four serials subscription agents for FY2000 with four option years. A list of vendors, with addresses, phone numbers, etc., is provided on page 9. The Statement of Work is published as a supplement to this package.


FEDLINK's agreements are not schedule contracts. In order to use them, an agency must establish an Interagency Agreement (IAG) with LC/FEDLINK. Conducting competition for serials subscription services among all the FEDLINK serials vendors has been determined to be in the best interests of the government. Instructions regarding serials competition procedures are in this package. Complete instructions for establishing a FEDLINK IAG are contained in the FEDLINK Registration Package. A brief overview of the IAG Process-At-A-Glance is on page 23.

Transfer and Direct Pay Service

FEDLINK is a fee-based program operating under Section 103 of P.L. 106-481 (2 U.S.C. 182c). Fees paid to FEDLINK are determined each year to recover the direct and indirect costs of support for services. Accounts for services may be established either as direct pay or transfer pay. For direct pay accounts, the agency issues the purchase order to the vendor against the FEDLINK BOA (up to $100,000) and pays invoices issued by the vendor; transfer pay accounts transfer contracting authority to FEDLINK, which issues a delivery order against the BOA and pays invoices up to the amount authorized by the delivery order. For FY99 the direct service fee is $1200 per account up to $100,000 plus .06% of service dollars over $100,000. The transfer pay service fee for FY99 is 7.75% (up to $300,000 and 7% over $300,000) of the dollars transferred to FEDLINK to cover services rendered by the vendor. The agency is obligated to LC for the amount of the fees when it signs the IAG.

Compete Individual Orders: Request Quotes and Compare Prices

When the FY2000 FEDLINK serials agreements are established, individual orders will be competed among the serials vendors participating in the FEDLINK program. Federal acquisitions procedures are followed in requesting quotes, evaluating responses and selecting vendor(s). Warranted agency contracting officials sign the documents that authorize the expenditure of funds after the vendor selection is made and funds become available: LC/C&L signs the delivery orders for transfer pay accounts and individual agency procurement officers sign local purchase orders. Because the vendor quotes are obtained and the funds are authorized under the FEDLINK program, the terms and conditions specified in the FEDLINK agreements apply to the resulting contracts for individual agency serials orders. The Statement of Work (SOW) and other terms and conditions in the BOAs provide for best value, full service agreements, and standard federal acquisitions practices.

How to Use FEDLINK Workshop

FEDLINK conducts regular "How to Use FEDLINK" workshops that provide a thorough introduction to FEDLINK services and procedures for new members and an update on changes in the program for returning members. FEDLINK members and agency contracting officers are invited and encouraged to attend. Call FEDLINK at (202) 707-4800 for more information.

B. Exercising Option Years

LC/C&L reserved the right to exercise option years for those members whose requirements they competed, i.e. those with accounts over the small purchase limit. Direct Pay members may also have reserved this right when issuing RFQ's (contact your local contracts office). However, it may have been determined during competition of individual agency requirements or during the period of performance that it would be in the best interest of the government to seek competition again for future fiscal years. Agencies which chose the firm-fixed pricing option for one fiscal year must seek competition for the next fiscal year. LC/C&L can assist anyone with questions about exercising option year renewals.

C. Serials Vendors in the FEDLINK Program

BOA #99CLFB71003
American Overseas Book Company, Inc.

9900 Georgia Avenue, Suite T13
Silver Spring, MD 20902
POC: Cicely P. Marks
Phone: (301) 589-6850
Fax: (301) 589-6842
Email: [email protected]

BOA #99CLFB71004
Blackwell's Information Services

22 Cortlandt Street
New York, NY 10007
POC: George Ralis (DC)
Phone: (703) 979-2400
Fax: (703) 979-2409
Email: [email protected]

BOA #99CLFB71001
EBSCO Subscription Services

6800 Versar Court, Suite 131
Springfield, VA 22151
POC: Susan K. Dyer
Phone: (703) 750-8266
Fax: (703) 750-2442
Email: [email protected]

BOA #99CLFB71002
The Faxon Company

4425 Brookfield Corporate Drive
Suite 200
Chantilly, VA 20151
POC: Janice E. McIntyre
Phone: (703) 464-0013
Fax: (703) 502-4530
Email: [email protected]

D. FEDLINK Points of Contact

Following are important FEDLINK points of contract. The FEDLINK Fiscal Hotline (202) 707-49090 is available from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, for general FEDLINK program information and referrals for further assistance.

Where to Mail Forms

Transfer Pay Intent to Compete Serials Subscription Form and Title List:
Contracts & Logistics
Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20540-9414

FEDLINK Services Registration Form and signed IAG:
Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20540-4935

For Information on:

  • CBD synopsis
  • Requests for Quote
  • Basic Ordering Agreements
  • Pricing Options


Deborah Burroughs
Serials Contracting Officer
Phone: 202/707-0461
Fax: 202/707-0485

For Information on:

  • Registration for FEDLINK Services
  • IAGs and IAG Amendments
  • Accounts, invoices, statements


FEDLINK Fiscal Hotline:
Phone: 202/707-4900
Fax: 202/707-4999

For Information on:

  • Subscription service technical requirements
  • Overview of the serials process


Lynn McDonald, Serials COTR
FEDLINK Network Librarian
Network Librarian on duty
Phone: 202/707-4832
Fax: 202/707-4873

Visit the FLICC/FEDLINK Web site at: //

For tips on serials subscription services visit: //

II. Guidelines for Competing Serials Subscription Services Under the FEDLINK Program

A. Overview

FEDLINK is providing the enclosed guidance for completing the steps in the competition process for use by librarians and other technical points of contact and those responsible for completing the FEDLINK IAG. The Points of Contact chart on page 7 gives addresses and phone and fax numbers for the LC/FEDLINK offices mentioned below.

The process requires that an agency establish an IAG with FEDLINK and provide serials agents with the list of titles from which to quote. A vendor shall be selected only on the criteria stated in the Request for Quotes (RFQ).

Agencies must determine if their annual subscription procurement is expected to exceed or be less than the Small Purchase Limit and chose either FEDLINK transfer pay or direct pay service. These decisions determine whether the agency will conduct competition locally or through the Library of Congress contracting office. Some steps and documentation are different in each category:

  1. Transfer pay exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold;
  2. Transfer pay under the simplified acquisition threshold; and
  3. Direct pay.

Direct pay members should contact their local procurement office to determine if it is feasible for the activities to be performed locally in a timely manner.

Some steps in the procurement and IAG processes can be performed simultaneously: for example, the library should begin to obtain the list of serials titles as quickly as possible; the IAG point of contact should register for a generic serials account (service ID "SZ") and complete IAG documentation while the agency prepares for and completes competition. No delivery order or purchase order will be issued to the selected vendor until appropriate documentation has been completed.

The librarian or other technical representative prepares the requirements. The contracting or procurement official is responsible for conducting competition and authorizing the expenditure of funds. The Library of Congress Contracts and Logistics (LC/C&L) is the contracting office for all transfer pay procurements. LC/C&L is not the contracting office for direct pay procurements. Agencies who register for the direct pay option must follow the competition requirements of their local procurement office. LC Contracts personnel are available to the local contracting officer for coordination efforts at (202) 707-0461. FEDLINK Network Librarians are available to assist with describing technical requirements at (202) 707-4832 or [email protected].

For transfer pay accounts, LC advertises all procurements exceeding $25,000 in the Commerce Business Daily (CBD). Any subscription agent responding without an established FEDLINK BOA would need to respond both to the original RFP and to the individual RFQ, and, if successful, would be issued a BOA for this task only. Direct pay accounts shall follow local agency requirements for advertisement of procurements.

For procurements under the simplified acquisition threshold, agencies may compare vendor firm-fixed service fees for selection based on lowest price. LC/C&L also will assist libraries obtain quotes for Transfer Pay accounts under the small purchase threshold, if requested.

B. Steps in the Competition Process

The following numbered list reviews the procurement steps in the order in which they are performed. It identifies who performs each step and highlights some important considerations. At its end, there are longer discussions of factors librarians and others should consider in preparing technical requirements, including title lists, and considerations affecting evaluation and pricing terms.

Agreements established by the Library of Congress for the FEDLINK program are known as "Basic Ordering Agreements" (BOAs), and define the terms and conditions for business under the agreements. Any subscription agent who wishes to compete for an individual agency's requirements under the FEDLINK program must have a BOA with LC/FEDLINK. If they are not part of the current set of subscription agents in the FEDLINK program, they would need to provide a response to a copy of the original Request for Proposals, RFP #S-LC99015, and a response to the individual agency's Request for Quotes (RFQ). LC would then determine if they were qualified to provide services under the program for that one agency and issue a BOA for that single task.

The librarian or other technical point of contact who is responsible for determining the agency's requirements for serials subscription services performs steps 1 through 3. Steps 4 through 7 are performed by the official designated to execute the formal procurement process, for example a contracting officer, or other government representative qualified to compare prices for small purchases. The assistance of the librarian or other technical representative may be needed in Step 6, evaluating responses. LC performs the final official function of notifying the vendor to proceed to provide services (Step 10).

The librarian or other technical representative will:

  1. Obtain and review the list of serials titles or (for transfer pay exceeding the small purchase limit) determine if the title list previously provided to FEDLINK is representative of current requirements. At the same time, determine the procurement mode: transfer pay exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold, transfer pay under the simplified acquisition threshold, or direct pay. Communicate at the earliest practical moment with LC/C&L (fax the Intent to Compete Form) or the procurement office. Members expecting to secure direct pay services should verify that their agency contracting officials can undertake the procurement. Be sure to supply them with sufficient information about the FEDLINK program. Provide them with a copy of this package.
  2. If a new title list is required, identify agency requirements and prepare a package for quotation purposes. The list should be formatted as described on page 12, item C.1. Describe optional services or special instructions, if any, following the guidelines provided on page 13, item C.3.
  3. Send the package of titles, etc., to the appropriate procurement official:

—Transfer pay exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold:

You should send the package to LC/C&L, using (or reusing) the Intent to Compete Form as a transmittal cover. As appropriate, annotate the form to indicate that the title list on file at FEDLINK is representative of current requirements and to request the standard pricing terms.

—Transfer pay under the simplified acquisition threshold:

Agencies shall:

  • send title list to LC/C&L to obtain quotes on your behalf. Include the Intent to Compete Serials Subscriptions form with your title list;


  • compare the service fee ranges offered by all of the vendors;
  • document quotes received and other factors affecting the choice of vendors;
  • notify all vendors who provided quotes of vendor selection;


  • rotate orders; and
  • submit documentation to FEDLINK using the Serials Selection form.

Note instructions in steps 5, 6, and 7 below, and in Section C. Quotes provided by the unsuccessful offerors are confidential, as is other proprietary information provided by all vendors responding to the RFQ. If questions are raised by vendors during the quote process or upon notification of selection, immediately seek guidance from LC/C&L.

—Direct pay:

Send the package of titles, etc., to the local contracting officer or small purchase agent, as determined by local agency policy.

For procurements exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold, the contracting officer shall:

4. Synopsize agency requirements in the CBD. LC/C&L only synopsizes transfer pay procurements; local contracting personnel shall synopsize direct pay services in accordance with their local agency requirements. CBD notices should include the FEDLINK ID, an indication that the order will be placed under the FEDLINK program, and, if applicable, a notice reserving the right to exercise available option years. Sample text: "The Library of Congress intends to issue an RFP to existing Basic Ordering Agreement holders for the placement of new and renewal FEDLINK subscription services on behalf of (agency name (FEDLINK ID) for domestic and foreign serials and publications and for related services. Services are used by federal libraries and information centers nationwide. Written responses should include prices and technical data sufficient to determine capability. No telephone calls will be accepted. Ref: RFQ99-XX.".

5. Issue the RFQ to all vendors with existing FEDLINK BOAs. Any subscription agent responding to the CBD without an established FEDLINK BOA would need to respond to both the original FEDLINK RFP and to the individual RFQ, and, if successful, would be issued a BOA for this task only. Be sure to include the FEDLINK ID on all RFQs (sample on pp. 13-14).

6. Evaluate cost responses, and forward any technical responses to the requesting agency for review. Vendors shall be selected based on criteria established in the RFQ. If optional services (which may incur charges) are required, these services shall be fully described and cross-referenced to the BOA Contract Line Item Number (CLIN). The assistance of the librarian or other agency technical representative should be made available to the contracting officer, if requested. Questions pertaining to the competition process should be referred to the appropriate contracting officer. Other procurement officials are welcome to confer with LC/C&L. FEDLINK librarians can assist libraries and other technical representatives.

7. Notify the selected vendor as well as the unsuccessful vendors who responded to the RFQ. LC/C&L performs this function only for RFQ's issued by their office (i.e. for Transfer Pay exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold) in accordance with FAR 13.103.

Once the selected vendor has been notified, the individual authorized to place the order, i.e., the librarian, may contact the vendor to confirm exact titles and service components. This allows the vendor to place the order in a more timely manner once s/he has received the delivery order or direct pay authorization. Do not skip this essential step.

Notification of unsuccessful offerors for Direct Pay competition shall be accomplished by the agency contracts office in accordance with their policies and procedures.

All FEDLINK members with serials requirements will:

8. Complete documentation and, if necessary, ensure that the IAG is modified. For further information, see the section entitled The IAG Process At-a-Glance (page 17) and the FEDLINK Services Registration package.

a. Transfer pay exceeding simplified acquisition threshold: LC/C&L will notify the member and the vendors, and will work with FEDLINK Fiscal Operations (FFO) to amend the IAG. The member will be contacted if more information or forms are required.

b. Transfer pay under simplified acquisition threshold: complete the Serials Selection Form. Forward it with IAG documentation to FFO.

c. Direct pay: complete the Serials Selection Form and the Purchase Order. Forward them with IAG documentation to FFO. (If the total amount for the serials renewal this year is less than $100,000, send the purchase order directly to the Vendor, who can notify the publisher as soon as they receive authorization to proceed from LC/C&L, as described in step 10.b., below.)


9. The FEDLINK Fiscal Office (FFO) forwards the appropriate documentation to LC/C&L for processing.

10. LC/C&L issues documentation to the selected vendor for the "Not to Exceed" amount:

a. Transfer pay: Delivery order signed by LC/C&L and forwarded to vendor. A copy is sent to the member IAG point of contact.

b. Direct pay: Authorization to the vendor to provide services in accordance with the BOA and Purchase Order. This authorization indicates to the vendor that the requesting agency is a member in good standing and has the appropriate documentation on file at FEDLINK. A copy is sent to the IAG point of contact.

C. Determining and Evaluating Requirements: Elements to Consider

1. Title List

The list of serials titles which an agency expects to order or renew is used as the basis for obtaining quotes. The title list may be generated in-house or may be obtained from the incumbent vendor and edited as necessary. Providing such a list is a requirement of the current FEDLINK BOAs. The incumbent vendor may be able to supply upon request, and LC/C&L can accept, a list in machine readable format. Whether in paper or in an electronic file, the list should be as fully representative of an intended order as possible; however, in most cases exact titles are confirmed by the library or ordering office once selection is made, and additional titles are often added or canceled throughout the year, except in the case of Firm-Fixed price procurements, which must identify exact requirements.

Lists should be in alphabetical order by title, but may, if necessary, be broken into separate alphabets, for example by ship-to or funding center. The list must include:

  • Each serial title;
  • ISSN—if no ISSN is available, annotate the list (by hand is okay) with publisher address if available, or, at a minimum, city/state or city/country, or a publisher phone number;
  • Subscription period—title by title, or a statement at the beginning of the list, e.g. "January - December 2000", (note especially if some need to be regularized);
  • Number of copies;
  • Relevant ship-to address information—if there are more than three ship-to addresses, also indicate the total number of ship-to's; and
  • If possible, the list should not include prices. Current FEDLINK vendors will supply a list for RFQ purposes, without prices, if requested.

When quotes are returned from the vendors, the quote should indicate any titles which are not available from the vendor and why. Titles may have ceased publication, for example, or more information may be needed to verify which title an agency intends to order. In some cases, a particular vendor may not be able to provide some titles because the publisher will only supply the title if the customer orders directly (i.e., not through a subscription agent) or through some vendors and not others. The latter case is relatively infrequent and affects few titles; LC/FEDLINK verifies the viability of vendor/publisher relationships before awarding BOAs.

It is possible, though unusual, for an agency to determine during the evaluation process that a vendor cannot supply a sufficient portion of the agency's title list. Contracting officials may contact the member to determine if the fulfillment rate of the quote is satisfactory.

2. Subscription Periods

The subscription period may be identified title by title, or may be stated in simple terms at the beginning of the list, e.g. "Subscriptions are for the period January - December 1999." Note in the RFQ if the vendor should establish common expiration dates for the subscriptions. Subscriptions may be for single or multiple years. Funds obligation is based on the fiscal year in which the order is placed. Orders may be placed against current fiscal year funds for subscriptions to begin during the next fiscal year; for example, orders placed in FY98 prior to September 30, 1998, can begin subscriptions in January 1999 and will be paid for with FY98 funds. This practice is authorized by the US Code (31 USC § 3324(d)(2)), with clarification made by the Comptroller General (e.g., B-256692) and many agency acquisition regulations. It is recommended to avoid the possibility of subscription lapses at the beginning of the calendar year caused by late authorization of funds at the beginning of the federal fiscal year.

Transfer pay agencies requesting LC/C&L to perform competition should note the earliest subscription period on the Intent to Compete Serials Subscriptions Form to highlight the time by which subscriptions must be authorized, to help avoid potential breaks in service. Direct pay members also should bring to the attention of their contracting officers the time frames that affect delivery. Vendors must be able to observe the lead-times required by publishers for renewing and beginning subscriptions. January starts should be authorized by the previous November; vendors may not be able to prevent subscription lapses if orders are authorized after Thanksgiving.

After the original year for competition in FY99, allow at least three months for competing requirements. In other words, for money to be obligated by September 30, requirements should be at the contracting office no later than late June; earlier is better. Realize, however, that publishers will not have provided new price information to the subscription agents until late summer or fall. Ask the vendor to clarify expected price increase percents, especially for quotes provided before August, and then reconfirm the amount to be obligated as near the issuance of the funding as possible. See also information in Section 4, Pricing Terms, on page 18.

During FY99, please begin the competition process in early spring and allow as much time as possible for the RFQ routines. Vendors will be responding to hundreds of RFQs, and LC/C&L will be processing hundreds of transfer pay RFQs. Transfer pay customers should send the "Intent to Compete" form to LC/C&L by June 15, with title lists and requirements. Special arrangements will need to be made for requirements received after June 15.

3. Technical Requirements/Special Instructions to the Vendor

The SOW describes the services required under the FEDLINK BOA. Serials agents are responsible for the placement of new and renewal subscriptions to single or multiple addresses for domestic and foreign serials and periodicals. dministrative services include extensive support of the claiming process; communicating with publishers to change addresses, to collect refunds where appropriate, to correct duplicate issues or other problems; verifying and obtaining membership entitlements, sample copies and back issues; and providing information and assistance via personal representatives, information bulletins, catalogs and management reports. Assistance is provided in verifying serial prices and in projecting price changes so that government representatives can ensure the necessary funds are available and authorized. The SOW is published as a supplement to this package. Additional copies can be obtained by calling the FEDLINK Fiscal Hotline: (202) 707-4900. The original RFP (83 pages) is archived on the FEDLINK home page at //

Evaluation is based on lowest fee and the determination that titles and optional or special services can be provided. Simple lowest fee will suit the needs of most agencies and provides for the fastest process. The standard terms of the SOW thoroughly provides for full service. However, the requesting agency should describe in full any optional services that may incur additional costs. Optional services, such as check-in and processing, are identified in the SOW. Technical requirements competed under RFQ's shall not be outside those services described in the SOW.

The agency technical representative may determine a need to provide special instructions to the vendor in the RFQ. Special instructions identify any particular local requirements which the agency should verify the vendor will perform for the service fee quoted, or to clarify if they are in fact optional services for a separate charge. For example, an agency may have a large number of ship-to addresses that change frequently, or special data elements required on invoices or reports. Frequent use of special delivery methods may be noted, e.g. rush shipment or courier service for newspapers. gency staff may have established routines which depend upon communication of data such as claims, invoice copies or reports via interfaces between a vendor and the agency local systems. Most management reports are routinely provided by the vendor on request or at a frequency stated by the customer, but if a library depends upon particular reports with special data elements, sorting arrangements or formats, describe the technical requirements in the RFQ.

In all cases technical requirements and special instructions should be described in neutral, specific, functional terms, and should describe the minimum requirements determined to be needed to continue serials management processes. Requirements should be stated briefly. Do not identify every aspect of the SOW the agency intends to use, but only those which incur extra charges or require special attention from the vendor to tailor results to particular needs.

For example, you do not need to say that you will require claims service, which is standard operating procedure for all FEDLINK customers of subscription agents. You should, however, describe any special requirements, such as how claims reports data should be formated or communicated, such as in an electronic format, or sorted in some unique fashion for local use (by ship-to address, etc.), or at some specific frequency such as if you anticipate many rush claims. Do not describe requirements that will not actually be used, and do not exceed your actual minimum requirements. Fair and open competition is required by US law.

FEDLINK staff can assist you in assessing and describing technical requirements. Contact Lynn McDonald at 202-707-4823 or [email protected]. Include a fax or email address, and request a copy of the "Tips on Preparing your Technical Specs," or see the Tips on the FEDLINK home page at //

The assistance of the agency librarian or other technical point of contact should be made available if needed to determine that the quotes received meet the requirements for optional services or that the vendor has provided an indication that special instructions can be followed.

4. Pricing Terms

Standard terms: Most agencies use the standard pricing terms of the FEDLINK BOAs, which state that individual titles are charged at the publisher's price plus a service fee or discount. The BOAs state a possible range for service fees. For individual orders competed under an RFQ, a firm-fixed fee/discount percentage is determined in the competition process. Cost quoted in the RFQ include publisher's list price, an estimate for bill-laters, an estimate for supplemental charges, charges for optional services requested, and firm-fixed fee/discount percentage. Cost evaluation is based on the offered firm-fixed service fee/discount percent and any charges for optional services.

Firm-fixed price: Firm-fixed price means a firm line-by-line pricing for title list and optional requirements. No additions nor deletions to the title list will be allowed. No modifications will be accepted to add or delete funds. This option is not renewable and must be recompeted each fiscal year.

Evaluation under Standard terms: When comparing prices among vendors, the determining factor should be the service fee/discount percent, not the total cost listed for the titles quoted, unless the agency chooses the Firm-Fixed Price option.

Background: Vendors prepay the publishers on behalf of FEDLINK customers and then invoice the government. On the invoices, vendors' prices for journals are the publisher's list price on the date of the order to the publisher, plus the firm-fixed fee/discount determined under competition. Optional services are billed according to the terms of the BOAs, stated against Contract Line Item Numbers (CLINs), with no additional service fee assessed by the vendor. Serials prices are determined by the publisher. Some publishers provide discounts to certain groups so that government or institutional prices may be available. Serials vendors will assist in determining the lowest price available from the publisher for individual customers. The publisher's prices are themselves made publicly available. Calling the publisher or looking at an online database often provides the most reliable data: vendor's databases of titles, which customers can access, list the publisher's price.

Serials vendors regularly update their databases as publishers communicate new pricing information or as the vendors discover new titles or new prices when they place orders or investigate subscription terms for customers. Ongoing automation efforts in the serials industry allow publishers to communicate prices online to vendors, so that accurate pricing information is available in as timely a fashion as possible. However, it is possible that a price in one vendor's database may be more recently updated than another vendor's.

The total price of the title list is provided for budgeting purposes, not for evaluation of costs. The vendor will provide a list of titles that are unavailable (for example, ceased publication) or that cannot be provided by them. They may seek clarification or more information about particular titles.

Billing: When the order is placed and the subscription paid by the vendor, the correct list price on that day will be determined by the vendor so that billing will be accurate. FEDLINK encourages members to spot check invoices for accuracy, including checking some individual title prices to verify that the list price was charged. Remember, however, that the price on the day the consulted catalog was printed or the price on the day the publisher was called by the federal customer may not be identical to the price on the day the order was placed. Apparent discrepancies should be investigated carefully. Vendors will supply copies of payment information on request and otherwise assist in efforts to verify correct prices, as will many publishers.

Funding: Once service begins, vendors will continue to work with the customer to ensure supplemental charges are forecast as accurately as possible. For Transfer Pay, funds can remain in the FEDLINK serials account for up to three years beyond the base year, to allow for bill-later charges and costs for supplemental charges on multiple-year subscriptions. Within the original fiscal year, funds can be moved from the serials account to another account or a refund can be requested and the funds used outside the FEDLINK program. If necessary, funds can be added or moved to another account to cover supplemental charges. Most agencies have found these pricing practices satisfactory, due to the assistance provided by the vendors and FEDLINK.

III. Contract Administration

FEDLINK members are responsible for monitoring vendor performance and verifying that invoices are correct. To ensure both a smooth transition to a new vendor and efficiency with your orders, the following guidelines will assist you in managing your serials contracts.

A. Start Up

When the RFQ process is completed and vendors have been notified of selection, you may begin to communicate with the selected vendor to prepare for renewal.

A. However, first make sure the following steps under #1 below have been completed:

1. Direct pay (all funding levels) or transfer pay under the small purchase threshold: (a) All vendors which provided quotes should be notified of vendor selection; and (b) Serials Selection Form must be sent to FEDLINK. Follow directions on the form and in the Registration Booklet.

2. Transfer pay RFQ's completed by LC C&L/FEDLINK: LC will notify the customer and all vendors of selection.

3. All accounts: FEDLINK will transfer funds from the SZ account to the appropriate vendor, based on the Serials Selection Form or (for Transfer Pay over $25,000) notice from LC/C&L.

4. Transfer Pay (all funding levels): LC will issue the delivery order (funding authorization) to the selected vendor.

5. Direct Pay: Purchase orders for renewals over $100,000.00 for the year will be routed through FEDLINK/LC C&L with the signed IAG. LC will forward them to the vendor with authorization to proceed. Purchase orders for annual renewals under $100,000.00 will go directly to the vendor, with LC's notification authorizing them to proceed following when agency returns a signed IAG.

B. Once you and the selected vendor have been notified of selection:

1. Contact the vendor. They may call you first, but you are also free to contact them once the official notice has been sent by a contracting official. Be sure to give them your FEDLINK ID.

2. Confirm the renewal list even if you want them to place orders using the list that they received initially with the RFQ. Usually libraries need to substitute titles for those that have ceased publication; sometimes your funding level needs adjustment or titles need to be cut due to price increases. The vendor should provide you with a list to work with, although in order to expedite the process, you may have a new version of the list you want to send them immediately. Make sure you receive some kind of confirmation as to what they are ordering before they proceed because you may need to clarify which title you are ordering among several with similar names. Miscommunication with a new vendor at this stage creates problems you want to avoid.

3. Confirm any processes that relate to day-to-day communications, such as your library's points of contact and the vendor's service representative assigned to your account, orders, rushes, claims forms and/or reports, price increases in excess of authorized funding levels, or any other routine services you may need early in the season. You will soon also need to confirm any routine reports and schedules for second/third claims and renewals, learn how to use the vendor's online catalog and other systems, clarify how you and the vendor will communicate regarding bill-later items (to ensure funding levels are adequate); and be sure to understand how you and the vendor will communicate regarding new titles, added copies, cancellations, sample titles, memberships, duplicate issues, and any special reports. You may need to request a complimentary copy of invoices (supplementing the copy sent to your payment center, e.g., FEDLINK Fiscal.)

4. All procedures related to Optional Services need to be confirmed.

C. Your subscription agent may have written information about their procedures.

D. Vendors are required to provide you with a copy of the FEDLINK agreement on request. It can also be downloaded from the FEDLINK home page at // Section C, the Statement of Work (SOW), is included in the serials supplement to the FEDLINK Member Handbook. Make sure staff who work with serials are familiar with the SOW and have a reference copy.

B. Ongoing Contract Administration

A. You are responsible for verifying that invoices are correct. Transfer pay customers may use the Error Report form to report a vendor or FEDLINK error. Direct pay customers should follow agency procedures. Report errors as soon as possible so that credits or adjustments can be made in a timely manner. Spot check that the publisher's list price was billed correctly on the invoice, for some of the titles. (You may need to contact the publisher to do this, and to verify the price when your vendor placed the order, as prices change over time.)

B. Be sure you know how you and the vendor will communicate regarding price increases and funding authorization levels. Not all subscription agents communicate in precisely the same way concerning price increases, although the new FEDLINK agreement has some more specific language (see Section C: Statement of Work -- C.3.2.(f), Page C-9). Publishers sometimes raise prices or charge for supplemental volumes; continuations and bill-later publications need to be funded adequately. Exchange rates can affect funding levels during the year. Your subscription agent prepays for you, but you have a responsibility to see that they will be paid in a timely fashion. FEDLINK must reject invoices for transfer pay accounts if they exceed authorized funding levels and direct pay accounts are often handled similarly. Be sure you are familiar with the procedures for adding funds and know how to communicate with your vendor if you find you cannot fund all additional charges through the year. Firm fixed funding is an option, but requires recompeting each year and, it is believed, costs the government more than the standard pricing option.

C. Report problems in a timely fashion.

1. Be sure you know how to contact your service representative and their back-up respresentative, and to whom at the company to report unresolved or ongoing problems. The vendor contact for the FEDLINK agreement is published in this Serials Handbook, in the Information Alert announcing new awards (99-7), and on the FEDLINK home page at // . Most problems can be resolved with the vendor. FEDLINK has experienced superior performance from the vendor community in most instances.

2. Report ongoing problems to FEDLINK and LC C&L in a timely fashion. Contact Jim Oliver, FEDLINK Vendor Services Representative, at 202-707-4900 or [email protected]; confer about problems with Lynn McDonald, Serials COTR, at 202-707-4832 or [email protected]; or with Deborah Burroughs, Serials Contracting Officer, at 202-707-0461 or [email protected].

Jim, Lynn or Deborah may be able to suggest ways to communicate with your vendor to help resolve problems.

3. Document ongoing problems. LC C&L will help bring the vendor's attention to unresolved problems, if necessary. If you do reach that point, you will also want to have a file documenting your problems and attempts to resolve them. LC C&L will want copies of such documentation for future reference, and you may need them to help document evaluations of past performance in future competitions.

4. Vendor evaluation forms are requested from all customer accounts over $100,000.00 and will be sent to the IAG point of contact early in the next fiscal year. All customers can complete them. Request one from LC C&L (202-707-0461 or [email protected]).

IV. FEDLINK Serials IAG Process-at-a-Glance

A. Register

Complete and return the FEDLINK Services Registration Form, included in the FEDLINK Services Registration Package which will be mailed to members in August 1999.

A. If competition is not completed: register for a Generic Serials (SZ) account: On the registration form indicate the following:

Service ID:    SZ
Service Name:  Generic Serials;
Action:    B (for Begin);

Complete Service Dollars and Fund Type in the Services Registration Package.

B. If competition is completed: register for the selected vendor. Submit required documentation about the procurement (e.g., Serials Selection Form, purchase orders, etc.) as explained in the following steps.

FEDLINK will process the registration and return an IAG for signature.

FEDLINK strongly recommends that agencies do not wait for competition to be completed before beginning the IAG process. It increases the time before the vendor receives notification that funds are available and service is authorized to proceed. Instead, register as soon as possible for an SZ account.

B. Return Signed IAG

Secure the IAG signature and fund citation from the funds certification officer and return the signed IAG to FEDLINK Fiscal Operations. If you have an SZ account, amend the IAG after competition is complete. However, if you completed competition prior to registering and have established an account for your selected vendor, attach appropriate documentation to the signed IAG as described in step III.

C. Amend IAG

A. When competition is completed: the SZ account is no longer needed and an account must be established for the selected vendor. Amend the IAG to reflect the selected vendor, and, if necessary, amend the funding level.

  • Transfer pay exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold: do not contact FEDLINK. LC/C&L and FFO will amend the IAG. You will be contacted if more information or forms are required.
  • Transfer pay under the simplified acquisition threshold: send the Serials Selection Form to FFO, or request C&L to do a price comparison on your behalf.
  • Direct pay: send the Serials Selection Form (and Purchase Order of over $100,000) to FFO.

B. Add Funds: Use the New Service and/or New Funds IAG Amendment Request Form to add funds to a serials account. If the procurement was not for a Firm-Fixed Price, funds may be added during the Fiscal Year in some circumstances, to cover purchase of a few new titles, or to cover unanticipated supplementary charges, for example when publishers add issues to a subscription and raise prices. You may consult LC/C&L before adding funds.


C. Add Serials to IAG: Use the New Service and/or New Funds IAG Amendment Request Form to add an SZ account, or, if competition is complete, the account for the selected vendor(s).

For more information and forms, contact the FEDLINK Fiscal Hotline. All registration and IAG forms and accompanying materials should be sent or faxed to: FEDLINK Fiscal Operations, ATTN: IAG Team, Library of Congress, Washington DC 20540-4935

Phone —202/ 707-4900 • Fax:—(202) 707-4999

VI. Supplement

Section C—Statement of Work

For a copy please call FLICC at (202) 707-4800.

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