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Results of bidding serials request Sheryl Williams 16 Feb 1996 21:16 UTC

I apologize for the delay in posting the summary of comments regarding
my request for bidding serials information.

I received 11 responses.  There is a surprising amount of support for
bidding serials, primarily in regards to the "much lower service rate"
which was obtained. In one case this rate drop was "dramatic." One
institution reporting finding that there was minimal difference between
vendors. "We felt that the change was not worth the small savings," and
the institution remained with its current vendor.

On the other hand, the primary concern  is the undercutting of the
vendor-client relationship, which is established over time.  There is
also the fear of lost subscriptions, duplicate subscriptions, and titles
never ordered in the first place.  The contract should be renewable for
3-5 years to lessen the opportunities for these headaches.

Comments include:
How will cancelled titles be handled?  Will they be locked in for the
period of the contract?  Will credit be given for them?

Let the Purchasing department allow the library to write the mandatories and
to be involved in the final decision-making step.

Are annuals/irregulars/monographic serials to be included in the bid?

Separate out foreign titles and issue two requests for bids, one for
foreign and one for domestic...Ask also for separate responses, one
describing services to be provided and answering all the mandatories
and desirables, and a second which contains the charges.  Evaluate the
first response before opening the service charge response.

Suggested articles:
_The Serials partnership : teamwork, technology and trends : proceedings
of the North American Serials Interest Group, Inc., 4th Annual Conference,
June 3-6, 1989,..._ The same thing is also in _The Serials librarian_, v.17,
no.3/4 (1990): "To bid or not to bid..." workshop, Lawrence R. Keating II,
Nancy H. Rogers.

Also from the same issue of _The Serials librarian_:
"Determining which subscription agency services best meet your needs", N.
Bernard "Buzzy" Basch.

"The serials acquisitions partnership", Jane Maddox.

"Order consolidation : a shift to single vendor service", Jan Anderson.

"We need department store _and_ boutique serials vendors", October Ivins.

Other recommended works include:
"The request for the proposal process," Frances C. Wilkinson, _Library
acquisitions : practice and theory_, vo. 19, no. 2 (1995), pp. 251-268.

"Resource grants : application and review," Virginia Bowden, _Bulletin of
the Medical Library Association_, vol. 80, no. 2 (April 1992), pp. 157-168.

A follow-up:  A meeting with representatives of our Purchasing department
convinced them that we are already receiving a very low service charge from
our vendor, that we do work closely with the three other UN campuses to
eliminate duplication of titles, that we have on numerous occasions met with
representatives from other vendors to stay abreast of their services, that the
rate for the other campuses would not be advantageous because of our STM
titles, and that nothing would be gained by having our serials do out on bid.
This decision may of course be reviewed at a future date.

Many thanks to all of you who supplied information.

Sheryl Williams            
Head, Serials Dept.
McGoogan Library of Medicine
University of Nebraska Medical Center