Introduction to Integrated Library System:
Request for proposal (RFP) is the heart of a library system purchase and it is the coordinated effort between members of library staff to develop coherent statement of library’s mission, needs and expectations. Integrated library system (ILS) is also known as library management system or library automation, it is an enterprise resource planning system for a library. It tracks items owned, orders made by library, bills paid from library and members who all have borrowed books from library.
ILS contains relational database, a software to interact with database and two GUIs, one for members and one for staff.
Organizations make use of RFP tool to purchase products and services by encouraging proposals from different vendors. An outline of an RFP includes:
- Problem statement summary and needs for procurement
- A section about administrative information
- A definite technical requirements and information section
- Requirements for managing and implementing project
- Vendor qualifications and references requests
- A section for vendors to specify other relevant information not already specified elsewhere.
- Guidelines and license agreements for purchase contract, nondisclosure agreements and other legal documents.
- Appendix with institutions relevant information such as network diagrams, technical requirements studies and project plan outlines.
Before RFP process begins, a library’s purchase team should understand how ILS market is shaping development. An RFP is a good tool for keeping vendors honest, sales rep may tell that new system is great, but official request for a bid document gives the library concrete details on exactly what the system can do, and how it addresses existing problems in library.
An RFP is long and tedious document, an unpleasant to read as it is to write. Libraries work from basic models of RFPs to speed up the process. This method saves librarian from boredom and conserves their energy for more important tasks.
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