1 June 2000 (MMG, ver.2.0)



In purchasing a new Library Management System (LMS), Yale University Library will enter into a 5-10 year relationship with a system vendor. To a great extent the long-term success of the new LMS depends on the vendor’s commitment to support services and the quality and diversity of those services.


The Business Work Group is charged to:

  1. Describe briefly the business relationship the library, as customer, wishes to create with its LMS vendor. The Work Group should focus on support services. This description should give special prominence to the qualitative features of the desired business relationship and should prompt information about the business practices the vendor itself prefers. The description should invite information about the vendor’s business practices that the library may not have anticipated. The description should enable vendors to show how they structure their business to help create the desired relationship, citing (wherever possible) current practice with existing customers to illustrate the desired behaviors.
  2. Develop a list of key features of support services that define the long-term business relationship the library, as customer, wishes to have with its LMS vendor. The vendor’s relations with existing customers presumably will be a major source of information, so the factors should be defined with attention to the kinds of information that can be secured from such customers.

As time permits, the Work Group is encouraged to describe and assess potential new kinds of business relationships between Yale University Library and system vendors, e.g., development partnerships, service packages in which the vendor runs the entire system, etc.


The Work Group might consider such matters as the: vendor’s help desk, user groups, development practices and plans, practices in releasing new software versions, business relations with hardware vendors, strategic alliances with other companies, staffing ratios, other customers (number, type, size and location), extent and quality of training and documentation, availability of add-on services (e.g., additional training, data conversion services, customized programming), etc.


The Work Group need not address:


The Migration Management Group establishes the Business, Readers, Records, Reports and Systems Criteria Work Groups and charges them to develop:

  1. A general description of the environment in which we want to work,
  2. A checklist of specific system requirements that are weighted on a needs scale (essential, important, desirable)

Both elements in the charge are equally important, giving the library two distinctive but critically important perspectives for evaluating vendor systems.

The general description of the environment will be sent to the system vendors as a Request for Solution. This description should describe an ideal working environment within the focus of the charge (i.e., business relationship, reader interaction with the system, report generation, etc.). Invite the vendors to tell us how their systems will help us achieve this model environment.

The checklist of specific system requirements will also be sent to the vendors. It will be used to compare systems and evaluate the products relative to our needs. These lists will form the basis for the evaluation documents we will develop later in the fall for our intensive system demos. Do not attempt to include every command and action that might occur within an automation system. Concentrate on features that are beyond operations that can be verified quickly during a system demo and basic commands. Checklist requirements should be defined as positive, desirable attributes (rather than as attributes to be avoided). They may also be worded as questions to the vendor especially when the attribute is cutting-edge and may not exist in current LMS products.

The Criteria Work Groups should, wherever appropriate, consider issues as they have an impact across all traditional library functional units, e.g., access services, collection development, research services, special collections, technical services, etc.

Work Groups should take the Migration Management Group’s statement of Threshold Requirements ( as a common, minimal point of departure although they may wish to elaborate on the threshold requirements and define detailed characteristics that are important or desirable features of the new LMS.

The four educational demonstrations by LMS vendors are designed to give staff a general overview of next generation systems as well as to introduce the vendors’ development efforts. Work Group members should try to attend all four demos. Vendor, library and RFP websites may provide additional inspiration for the Criteria Work Groups, (see BACKGROUND at Work Groups should also evaluate suggestions submitted to them from the Yale community through the webforms.

First draft documents should be completed by 3 July 2000 and sent to the Migration Project Manager, Please submit the general description as a MSWord document. Submit the checklist of requirements as an Excel spreadsheet with three columns, 1) Requirement name, 2) Requirement Description, and 3) Rating (essential, important, desirable). These drafts will be used by Yale staff at ALA in their discussions with vendors and colleagues from other institutions.

Criteria Work Groups will remain active through 14 Aug 2000. They will revise draft documents throughout July. Work Group members attending ALA are encouraged to use the conference to research system criteria by visiting vendor exhibits and conferring with colleagues at other libraries about their experience with vendor products. Please submit final documents to Audrey Novak by 14 Aug 2000. Final documents will be sent to vendors for their reply.

Work Group meeting schedules and notes should be posted regularly to the Orbis2 website. (To post to the website, send MSWord or HTML documents to

Please address questions about your charge and work group to (2-2365).