Friday, June 1, 2012

Cataloging: Here is a great course on cataloging MARC21 and AACR2.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Competing out your ILS

At some point, the Library Systems Administrator will be asked about the cost associated with the library's "Integrated Library System" (ILS) and if costs can be lowered - either with the current system or a different system. In other words, either formally or informally you will be asked to "compete out" your ILS.

It takes a complicated estimate of cost to get a good picture of how much your library will spend - to either intially purchase an ILS or change over to a different ILS.

An ILS can use multiple servers to (1) host a database (such as MySQL, Sybase, MSSQL or Oracle), (2) host an open public access catalog (OPAC) to view the library collection over the World Wide Web, and (3) host other major software like enhanced statistics or enhanced OPAC. Client software that resides on your PC workstation is needed to allow for safe updates to the database.

Commercial systems and open source software is available, as well as consulting company contracts that offer software maintenance support and customization contracts for a specified period of time.

Costs in money or staff time:

Staff time it takes to learn about different systems.
Staff time to listen to sales presentations.
Staff time to compile a list of all the requirements for your ILS and OPAC.
Staff time to write and submit RFPs.
Staff time to look over RFP responses.
Staff time to decide on an ILS.
Staff time to map old database to new database - including circulation policies, bibliographic load policies, multiple location policies and consortium policies.
Cost of contractor to transfer the data from the old database to new database if purchased separately.
Staff time to prepare your existing MARC21 records for transfer or hire a contractor to prepare your records for transfer.
Cost of server or multiple servers if separately purchased.
Cost of server software license (operating system) if separately purchased.
Cost of ILS software license if separately purchased.
Cost of client software licenses if separately purchased.
Cost of Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) website if separately purchased.
Cost of number of users allowed on the system at one time if separately purchased.
Cost of software maintenance/customization support team if separately purchased.
Cost of training on new system if separately purchased (keep in mind number of users).
Cost of technical manuals if separately purchased.
Staff time to train on new system.
Staff time for assessing new system and working out problems with functionality and workflow.
Staff time to clean up records if the migration did not go well.
Cost of hiring contractor to clean up records if migration did not go well.
Cost of move to yet another new system if the system really did not meet needs and expectations.

*As far as the RFP process goes, the Prairie Librarian blog has some good information: