FOLIO integrated vendors


In our last Resource Management SIG meeting we discussed the integration of vendors in regard to the ordering workflows in FOLIO. Since the definition of a “integrated vendor” is not set yet and we have a wide range of possibilities where the communication process between FOLIO and vendor systems can be improved and more forward-looking compared to other ILS systems I would like to start the discussion with a bigger scope.
The definition of a FOLIO “integrated vendor” needs to be agreed upon rather soon than later since manual data entry for ordering data cannot be an option even for early versions of FOLIO. In the meeting the idea of a normalization layer came up.

I think the three key questions are:
1.) Who needs to be part of this discussion?
2.) Where can/should the communication between vendors and libraries be automated?
3.) How do we promote the use of up-to-date technology in FOLIO’s interfaces?

Other fields that might worth exploring:

  • Advanced status communication / Parcel tracking -> integrate vendor’s status updates into the status display of each order
  • Duplication control between integrated vendors
  • Integrate vendor notifications into the FOLIO communication channel -> PIN, Out of Print, Quotes, …
  • FOLIO workflow trigger by vendor systems



I may not have figured out the best way to link up Discuss posts, but the idea of automated order processing has come up in an Australia/New Zealand workshop as well: Automated workflows for EOD (by Ebe)

I think of @Ann-Marie’s ways of managing acquisitions data:

  1. Manual: in this case, a lot of what happens within the LSP is a recording and tracking mechanism that keeps track of transactions that occur outside of the LSP. E.g., I email vendor X because I am ordering Y product. From vendor X’s perspective, they’ve received the order. But now I create a PO in the system manually, to keep track of this order and make sure the right vendor and right funds are connected, so we can pay the invoice appropriately.
  2. Batch: We focus on the EDI/embedded MARC data to transmit order information between the vendor and the LSP. This is common, established workflow, but not particularly forward looking. Still I think it is critical to have it for a comprehensive system, especially for libraries who manage content in volume.
  3. Real-time: This is the next wave of innovation with acquisitions, where library staff place orders in a vendor system that are then sent via API to the LSP. The LSP creates the PO and sends it back to the vendor.

I think area number 3 represents the current trend for vendor integration, and is a type of integrated vendor. Numbers 1-2 are important, but not integrated. Then FOLIO could go a step further, and provide an ability from within FOLIO to access content from across a wide variety of vendors, place orders from within FOLIO, and have that information confirmed by those vendors. That might not represent a workflow desired by all libraries, but seems like a way to streamline acquisitions processes further, and fits with the vision that @filipjakobsen provided in the prototypes.