Charter of good practices of data transfers…

Charter of good practices of data transfers when changing the ILS or the corporate archive software system

traduction par /translated by : la société / SirsiDynix / Company


Version 1, 13 may 2009


The librarian professional associations and the ILS publishers (see the list in annex) wrote this charter to make the data transfer easier when a library is changing its ILS.

According to databases legislation, the data added or bought by the library is owned by the institution on which the library depends.

In a re-computerization context, the previous software provider is hereinafter referred to as the “current provider”.

The goal of this charter is to make the data transfers easier, allowing the libraries to know the technical and financial conditions of the transfers with some precisions on the basic technical elements.

The charter therefore defines a set of good practices which concern : For the software publishers :

  • the available file formats and structures,
  • the deadlines and information conditions between the library and its ILS provider,
  • the information on the price of the data transfer, For the libraries :
  • the definition of the library needs to the current provider,
  • the requirements allowing a good data transfer.

The software publishers who sign this charter publicly commit to respect its terms.

The professional associations (ABF, ADBDP, ADBGV, ADBS, ADBU, ADDNB, FULBI, INTERDOC) consider that the practices mentioned in this charter are good practices. They support the charter, make it known and advise their members. They provide its publication on the Web. They organize consultation meetings with the software publishers in order to update it if needed, for example to take into consideration new standards, and the nominate some representatives to follow its evolution.

The present charter can be reproduced with no change as long as the source and the version are indicated.


The librarian professional associations and the ILS publishers, signatories of the present charter, accept the following rules :

Article 1

The current provider commits :

either to provide all the requested data to the library customer, upon simple request, free of charge or for an announced amount, in a documented and non coded format,

either to provide to the library the tools and the documentation allowing the library to extract all the data itself.

These data must include, with no loss, the bibliographic records with the information of their links to orher bib. records and every related documents (textual documents, pictures, sound recordings…), the authority or thesaurus entry records with their relationship information, the serial holding summaries, the item records, the current loans and the user or borrower records.

These data can also include all the elements produced by the library especially : the status of the sent overdue notices, the acquisition data (purchase orders and the full order lines) in a re-usable set, the serials data (check in and control records) in a re-usable set, and, more generally, all the needed files for the management of the library and the services to the users.

Every provider who signs the present charter presents, on the Web site where it is published, its vision, its method and some elements of its price calculation for such a data transfer. The provider commits to supply, when answering a tender, the price of the data supply including the calculation formula for annual price reevaluations.

The files are provided to the library on a media or via a transmission way which are commonly used and in a format or structure as described in the second article.

Theses files have to be provided after a simple request from the library, a month after the receipt of a written demand.

Article 2

The above mentioned non coded formats are those following :

  • ISO 2709 files containing MARC records in an official MARC format (according to the specifications published by the IFLA for the UNIMARC format, by the MARBI for the MARC21 format…, ABES-BNF recommendation or Recommendation 995 for the items data, AFNOR Z 47-100 norm related to thesauri, etc.),
  • ISO 2709 files containing other data than MARC records, with a provided whole description,
  • data in XML format, with a provided whole DTD with tag description,
  • flat delimited text files with the used character set indication and the list of the colums outside or inside the data file,
  • the multimedia files stored in the database and exported in standard formats,
  • any other format defined on a common agreement between the current provider, the next provider and the library.
Article 3

The professional associations which are signatories of this charter recommend to the libraries :

  • to get information from their current provider about the capabilities of their ILS data export : . does the software include an export functionality in the core product or as an add-on ? . what data can be exported ? . in what format ? . who proceeds with the export ?
  • in a re-computerization project context :

– to clearly and precisely define the expected features of the new ILS, that will help them to define the data they wish or they do not wish to transfer from the old system to the new one : searching functionalities, bib./auth record linkage functionalities, thesaurus management, item management, binding, notices to the users, serial check-in, serial holding summaries, acquisition functionalities, etc ;

– to prepare some significant samples of data to be transferred in order to provide them to the different competitors ;

– to precisely describe their own practices and special features ;

– to well identify and locate the digital data files to transfer from one system to the other one.