Call for Consultancy :AAU Online Electronic Library Design


The Association of African Universities (AAU), is asking for proposals for the design, development and implementation of an electronic online library on which the AAU will manage information/documents and publications emanating from AAU and elsewhere related to Quality Higher Education in Africa.


The Mission of the AAU is to raise the quality of higher education in Africa and strengthen its contribution to African development by fostering collaboration among its member institutions, provide support  to their core functions of teaching, learning, research and community engagement and facilitating critical reflection on, and consensus building around, issues affecting higher education and the development of Africa.

The organization therefore wishes to design and implement an electronic online library that will serve as a channel to disseminate information from research projects and other activities from AAU and other stakeholders in higher education in Africa.

The library is expected to act as:

  • a source of information about quality higher education in Africa and accreditation agencies, including focal points’ profiles,
  • a source of information for researchers from higher educational institutions in Africa and other partners elsewhere
  • A platform to collect, classify and disseminate information on higher education and research, particularly in Africa
  • a place for users to find related publications, reports, guidelines and current information on emerging trends in higher education in Africa.

1. Requirements for Proposal

A brief description of the design and function of the Electronic Online Library is set out below to allow suppliers to better understand the project under tender.

1.1 Design

The electronic online Library should be based on an Open Source Software Platform. The home page should be customized to reflect the themes of the AAU main website. The platform should comply with the international standards of electronic libraries but specifically handle the following

1.      Exchange of information sources with other Library/Information Centres

2.      Extract bibliographic data from other sources

3.      Comply with the protocols for bibliographic data interchange (Z39.50)

4.      Handle the major query languages

5.      Be able to describe varying resource types

1.1.1 User interface

The user interface should be user friendly and easy to navigate for new visitors to the library and should be visually attractive.

1.1.2 Navigation and Page Content Specification

The navigation structure of the online library should be arranged to best serve different types of audience groups. The site should be easy to navigate so that site users do not get ‘lost’ in areas of the site.      

A navigation bar, visible on each page should include links to the home page of AAU. The bar should also provide links to other information sources that have relevance for quality higher education. Drop-down/pop-out sub-menus should present further options within each main section.

1.1.3 Content

The LMS should be able to handle almost all the major formats of keeping information for both print and non-print sources of information. Though majority of the content will be in the electronic. It should handle

1.      Audio (in various formats like mp3, aac, wma, etc)

2.      Video (mp4, 3gp, flash, avi, etc

3.      Document formats like pdf, doc, ppt, publisher, pagemaker, rtf, etc

1.2 Functional Requirements

The following functional requirements should be operational on the platform.

Ø  Catalogue management

Ø  Customer database

Ø  Customizable queries

Ø  Database integration

Ø  Periodical management

Ø  Fee collection

Ø  Search functionality

Ø  Circulation functionality

Ø  Serials management

Ø  Web services for users

1.2.1 Search

The search/browse functionality should allow the following activity

Search/browse by

            Author, date, subject, title, classification, collection

1.2.2 Security considerations

There will be three types of users, two of which will require password protection:
- Superusers (Secretariat)

- Registered users

- Public users (General public)

1.2.3 Membership/User Management

The majority of the information sources on the library platform should be publicly accessible (and not password protected). However, the platform should have the option to put some items under quarantine. The following functionality should be included:

  • to allow users to create a profile (name, email, address, member agency, summary username and password, membership and registration date);
  • to allow users to upload documents (format to be specified), start, post or moderate blogs;
  • to allow users to login and logout from the library
  • to allow the database of members and items with the library to be viewable by Secretariat staff through a back end interface.

1.2.4 Content Management

The Library management software (LMS) should provide a secure interface through which AAU staff are able to perform the following tasks:

  • update information on existing sources;
  • easily insert links to other content (pages on the AAU site, other websites, documents etc.);
  • add new documents;
  • withdraw unwanted sources or links;
  • upload images, documents, audio files and video clips for incorporation into the library platform and

Whilst new items should appear on the current additions, latest items added should be advertised on the homepage automatically (i.e. without having to make an explicit change to the content of the homepage).

1.2.5 The LMS should have the following features:

  • easy to use by people with little or no knowledge
  • automatically ensure, as far as possible, that accessibility standards are maintained; and

1.2.6 Further Interactive Functions

The Proposal should include itemised quotes for the possible inclusion of the following functionalities:

  • a facility for logged in users to post comments against new items in the current additions area of the homepage
  • discussion forums (standard discussion forum pages through which threads can be created and browsed, and logged in users can make posts); and
  • a facility to carry out online surveys and polls.

1.3 Accessibility and Usability

For any Flash content, if a user does not have the correct Flash Player version they should be offered a link to download the latest player and an alternate image.

1.4 Online Hosting

The Electronic online library will be hosted on servers at AAU

2. General Contractual Details

2.1 Ownership

All documentation, code and graphic design will become the property of the AAU.

2.2 Payment

Payment will be according to milestones to be agreed with the successful supplier. This will be from an agreed project plan.

3. Required Format of Proposal

It is suggested that submitted proposals include each of the following sections:

1. Summary of proposal, including specification of offered products, services and costs.

2. Acceptance testing, monitoring and evaluation procedures.

3. Project organization, scheduling and management approach.

4. Supplier Company Overview.

5. References.

Three (3) current corporate references, including short project/reference description, company name (client), contact name, title, address, telephone number, and client relationship synopsis.

4. Administrative Details

4.1 Timeline

The target is to have a redesigned, content managed web site for the AAU live by February 2014.

4.2 Contact Information

The contact person at AAU for all matters relating to this tender is:
Pascal Hoba,, Tel. 021 774495

4.3 Confidentiality

The bidder undertakes to treat confidentially all information acquired in the context of this tender and to use it exclusively for the AAU bid, and for the assignment if the bid is accepted.

On principle, no information or data connected with this document may be passed on to third parties without the consent of the AAU. This shall also apply to any sub-contractors employed or bids provided by bidding consortiums.

AAU shall treat the bids confidentially and shall not open them in front of other bidders.

The AAU reserves the right to limit the appointment of a consultant to bidders already appointed to work for the AAU on previous assignments.


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