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Traveler Solicitation Q&A

The deadline to submit new questions has passed.

Last Updated: October 20, 2023

Question: Paragraph 2.6 B 1 & 2 describes the pricing that the RFP is looking for. Is there a certain pricing document or format that should be included in our response?

Answer: No, there is no required pricing document or format that must be used to convey this information. Prospective Contractors are welcome to provide their pricing in whatever way is most clear for their product/s.

Question: Regarding Page 7, Section “2.8 PERFORMANCE STANDARDS,” part D: Please confirm, if our service level agreement includes performance standards remedies regarding uptime and support services, that damages will be assessed based on the service level agreement. Please confirm there are no other damages to be considered by the Arkansas State Library.

Answer: Yes, any damages assessed are based on service level agreements in the final contract between the State Library and the contractor. In the event a vendor breaches a contract, the State Library may seek to cancel the contract as a last resort.

Question: Regarding Page 4, Section 2.4: Can you please provide any documentation available for vendors describing the geolocation integration with BiblioBoard? We support multiple contracts with geolocation, but we would like to better understand how to generate the specific authentication token BiblioBoard requires.

Answer: BiblioBoard’s specific methodology is proprietary information, but they employ a variety of tools to provide seamless authentication across the Traveler collection. These may include methods such as referrer URLs, embedded tokens, or API calls in order to accommodate a prospective contractors’ own processes. Typically, BiblioBoard creates a URL for a Traveler resource (e.g. that initially routes users to BiblioBoard’s authentication service. If successfully authenticated (i.e., the user is in Arkansas), BiblioBoard reroutes that user to a URL (or makes a call, depending on the integration) provided by the Prospective Contractor that grants full, authenticated access to the resource.

BiblioBoard has successfully integrated with all databases forming the Arkansas State Library’s collections to date, and we feel confident they can find a solution with any new contractor. Direct discussions between BiblioBoard and Awarded Contactors regarding authentication logistics will occur between February 2024 and August 1, 2024, which leaves plenty of time to come to workable solutions for all parties involved.

Question: Could you please provide me with the population served? The US Census indicates 3,011,524 but I am not sure that is the correct number to use. This information is required for our pricing.

Answer: Population data is included in Section 2.5 of the RFP- Scope of Resource Accessibility.

Question: Are resources for standardized testing being considered for this RFP?

Answer: Yes, standardized testing resources would be considered in the fourth category of the solicitation document: additional standalone products. Resources will be chosen from category four as funds allow.

Question: Are reference required for this submission?

Answer: No, references are not required.

Question: Our products are not available to children 13 and under. Is this a non-starter?

Answer: Unfortunately, per section 2.5 of the RFP, “all bids must be for a statewide subscription and cannot exclude any library types or age groups,” so any proposal with age restrictions is a non-starter. Traveler Resources are available to every Arkansas resident within the state boundaries; as registration is not required to access Traveler, the State Library has no way to verify any user’s age.

Question: Our products require users to register for an account so they may have access to our features and benefits. We cannot accommodate access based on location-services from users’ devices. Is having our products available to users without requiring them to register an absolute requirement for this bid?

Answer: Resources in Category 1 (comprehensive collection of databases) and Category 2 (online encyclopedia) cannot require users to register for an account. Resources in Category 3 (language learning platform) and Category 4 (standalone and single subject databases) may require users to register for an account to access the full benefits of those resources; however, geolocation authentication is required when initially determining whether that the user should be allowed access to the product (i.e., is located in the state of Arkansas).

Question: In regard to Section 2.4 Authentication, we understand that all online resources must be remotely accessible to all Traveler users using both geolocation authentication and IP proxy address. Our company supports prompting for geolocation authentication by adding a specific URL parameter to the URL (authtype=geo&geocustID={targetCustomerID}. This can be combined with other supported authentication methods, such as using authtype=ip,geo which will route the user through geolocation if/when they are not on a known institution’s IP range. If this method of prompting for geolocation differs from what the BiblioBoard integration requires, please share documentation and examples of how BiblioBoard uses tokens to achieve geolocation authentication. This will help our company confirm whether this is supported or planned functionality.

Answer: The following response to this question is from the Arkansas State Library’s authentication vendor BiblioBoard: “Based on the information provided, we would have no issues integrating into this system with our current geolocation technology. All specifications outlined fit within what our system requires. If there’s any need for more technical explanation… we can have [a prospective contractor] do the location check and send their parameters after the authentication on [BiblioBoard’s] side.”

Question: Will government agencies have access [to] the online program?

Answer: Yes, state government employees may access Traveler resources through the Arkansas State Library’s website the same as other Arkansas residents.

Question: Is Geo authentication and access required for all proposed resources from all vendors?

Answer: Yes, all resources must be remotely accessible through geolocation authentication. The Arkansas State Library contracts with an authentication service, BiblioBoard, to provide remote access for Traveler resources via geolocation.

BiblioBoard creates unique links using authenticated tokens from Prospective Contractors and adds a geolocation component that validates Arkansas residents by reviewing their IP address and identifying whether they are coming from within the state’s boundaries. Prospective Contractors are responsible for providing the authenticated tokens to BiblioBoard.

Question: Would online tutoring and homework help be considered? Also, would career services (such as live resume writing assistance, job coaching, etc.) be considered?

Answer: Yes, tutoring, homework help, and career services would all be considered in the fourth category of the solicitation document- additional standalone products. Resources will be chosen from category four as funds allow.

Question: As noted on page 2 of the RFP document under Section 1 – Introduction, “Prospective Contractors may submit bids on one or more categories.” If we are planning to propose a product offering for more than one category, do we have to submit multiple (separate) proposals, or can our entire response be encapsulated in one proposal/electronic submission? We noticed that on page 5 of the RFP document, under Section 2.6, it says: “If responding to more than one category, the Prospective Contractor must submit distinct proposals addressing each category.” Can you please provide clarification here?

Answer: Prospective Contractors may submit one document that includes bids on multiple categories, provided that the technical aspects unique to each of the four categories are discussed separately in distinct sections. This ensures that multiple bids can be evaluated individually by the committee.

For example, it is reasonable to assume that answers to some sections such as customization & branding, promotional & marketing materials, training or support (first appearing in sections 3.3-3.5 & 3.7) may be the same across platforms or products. However, the required and preferred technical specifications are distinct across the four categories, so should be addressed separately (e.g. 31.-3.2 and 6.1-6.2).

Question: Furthermore, if our entire response answering to multiple categories can be included in one proposal, but the narrative responses for different categories have similar/overlapping answers, is it acceptable to refer to previous answers?

Answer: It is fine to refer to previous answers.

Question: Sections 3-6 outline questions specific to each content category. Do we only need to provide in line responses to the questions that pertain to our offer?

Answer: Prospective contractors are not required to provide in-line responses to questions, but it is recommended that answers to applicable questions and required specifications are addressed within the proposal.

Question: Page 5, Section 2.6 of the RFP states that “If multiple packages are available, the Prospective Contractor shall provide separate pricing for each tier and the number of database titles or platform modules available per tier.” Does this mean it is acceptable to propose multiple package offerings per category? Or can we only submit more than one package if responding to various categories (i.e. one package per category)?

Answer: Yes, Prospective Contractors can propose multiple database titles/platforms. It is encouraged to include multiple options when available, as it provides the Advisory Committee more flexibility in their selections. For example, a vendor could provide pricing for both a basic and elite package.

Question: Are high schools and/or private schools included within the scope of this RFP? They are not explicitly outlined under Section 2.5 Scope of Resource Accessibility, however, this note on the Arkansas State Library Website states: Traveler resources are available to all schools, libraries and residents in the state. Arkansas residents can access the collection through the State Library’s Traveler webpage. The RFP also notes on page 5 that “All residents of Arkansas may access Traveler resources remotely.”

Answer: Secondary school generally covers grades 6-12, so High schools are included in the total number of schools (1,056) and total student enrollment (476,579). There are 126 K12 private schools in the state. Additional statistics regarding Elementary and Secondary schools can be found at the AR Department of Education Data Center.

Everyone in the state of Arkansas has access to the Traveler collection, but we provide additional data regarding schools, academic institutions, and public libraries in our scope because some vendors use those populations as factors when determining their pricing.

Question: We did not see any evaluation criteria listed underneath Section 1 or Section 2. Would Arkansas State Library be willing to share evaluation or scoring criteria with us? This information would be helpful for us to be aware of, so that we may put forth the best possible proposal.

Answer: Aside from ensuring each proposal meets the relevant technical requirements included in the RFP, the Advisory Committee scores on criteria such as scope of subject coverage, the volume and overall quality of resources offered (including currency and full text availability), the distribution of resources across audience type, ease of use and price. Criteria may vary slightly but is comparable across the four categories.

Resource priority is determined via usage statistics of the current collection and survey data from the library community, in addition to the professional experience of the Advisory Committee and the perceived needs of their local communities.

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