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21 May 2007 - Final Report published - click here for details  


1. This document invites tender proposals to undertake a study to identify the new relationships and information exchange requrements between publishers, resolver software and knowledge base suppliers, subscription agents and librarians to maximise the benefit of OpenURL linking.

In academic libraries Open URL and linking technology is transforming access to electronic journals and articles. As digital library collections become 'mission critical' and libraries move to electronic only serials, it is essential that electronic content is made available in a timely, reliable and accurate manner. The accuracy and timeliness of the knowledge bases that lie behind linking technology is critical. The experience of many libraries is that while resolver technology has the real potential to enhance access to digital collections, in practice it has also introduced a range of new problems. There can be significant delays in the updating of knowledge bases, the titles in packages from content aggregators can be inaccurate as is identifying who needs to do what to solve such problems.

The traditional serials supply chain of publishers, subscription agents and librarians has become more complex with a new player - companies providing resolver software and the knowledge bases behind them. By studying the roles and expectations of the various parts in the supply chain we should be able to identify and clarify the expectations, performance issues and barriers that need to be overcome to ensure a smooth supply chain to the end user.

2. Funding of up to £16,000 plus VAT (where chargeable) is available for this study. A suitable schedule for payment will be agreed following the award of this contract.

3. The deadline for the proposal is 7th August 2006.


4. The United Kingdom Serials Group (UKSG) exists to encourage the exchange of ideas on printed and electronic serials and the process of scholarly communication. In a dynamic environment, the UKSG works to promote discussion and the free flow of information on serials matters and associated technology; to develop links between all parties in the serials information chain; and to encourage professional awareness, stimulate research and provide a programme of training and education. The UKSG is a registered charity and a company limited by quarantee. It is the only organisation spanning the wide range of interest and activity between serials producers and readers - with a membership of nearly 600 organisations, a third of them based outside the UK, the UKSG engages a broad cross-section of people concerned with the publication, distribution and use of serials.

Objectives of the Study

5. This study is intended to provide UKSG with an understanding of issues and good practice with regard to resolver vendors and the serial supply chain. The study would be expected to comment on the following key areas;

a. Mapping of the new supply chain, identifying the expectations, roles and relationships between the various agents.
b. Identifying the information and dataflow requirements for all parties in the supply chain.
c. Identifying barriers to an efficient and effective supply chain, including any technical and standard issues.
d. Recommending good practice.
e. Identifying areas for further study.

6. Information to support this study should be obtained from:

b. A representative cross section of libraries, publishers/content providers, resolver vendors and subscription agents.
c. Research of already published work in this field eg Journal of Academic Librarianship Vol 32 March 06 Myths and Realities of SFX in Academic Libraries doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2005.12.008

7. Project Partners

a. Librarians
An appropriate number of academic librarians with resolvers should participate in the study. The libraries will use a variety of resolver systems.
b. Publishers/content aggregators
An appropriate number of publishers/content aggregators who provide information to resolver vendors.
c. Resolver vendors
An appropriate number of resolver vendors, reflecting the various types of organisations, for example a new entrant, a Library management system supplier.
d. Subscription agents
An appropriate number of subscription agents.
e. Other organizations that can provide relevant expertise
Organizations with relevant expertise in other forms should also be considered.

Timescales, Deliverables and Management

8. Timescales

a. This Invitation to Tender (ITT) is issued on 14th July 2006. The deadline for submission of full proposals is 1.00 pm on 7th August 2006 . Bidders who are short listed will be expected to present to the evaluation panel on either the 22nd or 24th August 2006. Bidders will be notified of the outcome of their proposal by 4th September 2006.
b. The study should begin by 18th September 2006 or as soon as possible thereafter. A progress report must be submitted to UKSG by 17th November 2006, with the final report by Friday 26th January 2007.

9. Deliverables

The deliverables associated with this study include:

  • Informal updates on progress to be made at regular intervals through the course of the study (at intervals to be agreed with the successful bidder following award of contract)
  • Progress report by 17th November 2006
  • Final report by 26th January 2007
  • Dissemination of the project and its findings at the UKSG Conference 16-18th April 2007

10. Intellectual Property

Any information gathered during the course of this study and not already in the public domain is deemed to be the property of UKSG. The information provided in the final report and the rights to all other output shall become UKSG's property.

11. Management of the Study

The study will be overseen by a group of project partners, including at least one academic librarian, one publisher/content aggregator, and one subscription agent.

Proposal Content and Submission Deadline

12. Submission of Proposals

a. Proposals should be a maximum of 4 A4 pages plus Appendices. The text must be in no less that 10pt font.
b. Proposals should include:
i. Scheduled work plan showing key dates and deliverables.
ii. Summary of relevant experience to undertake this project.
iii. CVs of key personnel proposed for this project.
iv. Methodologies to be adopted.
v. A breakdown of costs, including a statement on VAT costs.
vi. An assessment of risks associated with successful completion of the study.
vii. An outline of areas to be covered in the final report.
viii. Contact details of previous clients who may be approached for reference purposes.

13. Proposals should be sent by email to It is the responsibility of the bidder to ensure that the email has arrived by the deadline outlined above.

14. A copy of the proposal should be also be posted for receipt by the same deadline to:

Alison Whitehorn
Business Manager
UK Serials Group
Heath End

15. Evaluation Process and Criteria

An evaluation panel will be established with representation from UKSG. The criteria used to evaluate the proposals will include assessments of (in no particular order):

  • Feasibility of the study within the given timescale
  • Robustness of the methodology
  • Analysis of the risks to the completion of the study.
  • Relevant experience and expertise of staffing resources.
  • Costs.
  • Value for money.

16. Queries regarding the tender process should be addressed to :

Alison Whitehorn
Business Manager
UK Serials Group E mail:

UKSG reserves the right not to select any proposal to undertake the study.