Request For Proposal — MARC 21 record support for Koha

In 2002, The Nelsonville Public Library was planning to switch to Koha, and open-source integrated library system. At the time Koha lacked support for the MARC library standard, a prerequisite for any automation system used by an American public library. The decision was made to commit funding towards the development of this feature in Koha, and the following RFP was released.

The Nelsonville Public Library invites all interested parties to submit proposals in response to the following request.  Proposals may be submitted in any format, but should carefully answer all questions in the request.  Proposals should be sent to Stephen Hedges, Director, Nelsonville Public Library, e-mail, fax 740-753-3543, mail 95 W. Washington Street, Nelsonville, Ohio 45764. Proposals are due no later than 8:00 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, September 30, 2002.  Any responses made in proposals from interested parties may be incorporated as part of a final agreement.


The Nelsonville Public Library is a public library system consisting of seven libraries serving the residents of Athens County, Ohio, USA, with 36,000 active borrowers and over 250,000 items in the collections.  The library has made plans to switch from its current library automation system to Koha, but only if Koha has certain required capabilities.  Among these is the ability to store and retrieve item records in MARC 21 format at the (Full) National Record Level.

Accordingly, the Library is seeking proposals from parties who are capable of modifying the current Koha code to provide this capability. Proposals will be evaluated by a committee of five Library staff members, and a contract will be negotiated with the submitter of the successful proposal.

Please note that the Nelsonville Public Library does not expect to fund the entire development process, but is instead offering a financial reward to encourage development of Koha to be able to handle MARC 21 format.  Nelsonville Public Library may elect to share some of this financial burden with other agencies as it sees fit.


Nelsonville Public Library realizes that several people/groups may wish to combine resources to fulfill the requirements of this RFP. The Library is aware of the special nature of Open Source software projects, which encourages wide participation in the development process, and is thus amenable to proposals which divide the work between parties.  In such a case, however, the Library prefers to receive only one combined proposal, with payment going to only one person or organization.  If no acceptable combined proposal is received, then the library will entertain partial proposals from several persons or organizations that can demonstrate a plan to coordinate their efforts toward achieving the intended goal.


Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of cost, qualifications of the programmer(s), time to delivery, ease of integration of the proposed code into the current Koha software, and ease of upgrading the delivered software to incorporate future changes to the MARC formats.

The Library also intends to share information from proposals with the current Koha development team, in order to better judge the compatibility of the proposals with the overall Koha development plan.


  • How will you modify current Koha tables and/or scripts to accomodate MARC 21 National (Full) Level Record Requirements?  (See  Please provide enough detail so that the committee may judge the viability of your plan, but do not submit sample tables and/or scripts.
  • Who will undertake this work?
  •  What are the qualifications of the person(s) doing this work?
  • How have you been involved in previous Koha development?
  • How long will it take to complete this work?
  • How much will you charge for this work? (in US Dollars, please)
  • How will you coordinate your work with the existing work on MARC for the 1.4 release of Koha?