In yet another sign of the gathering pace of the use and support of mobile devices in the school system, the NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC) has awarded software provider Softlink $10.5 million over six years for a browser-based school library management system.
The contract announcement follows close on the heels of a major new initiative funding for DEC in the NSW Budget. Intermediumanalysis indicates that DEC received 10% of the $784.33 million in new initiative ICT funding in 2014-15. It also topped the new ICT initiative funding leader board with $62.2 million for ’technology for learning’.
Softlink’s ‘Oliver’ platform will replace the existing ageing OASIS platform utilised by NSW schools for the past 26 years. It allows ‘Oliver’ users to connect to library services through multiple devices, including smartphones, iPads, and laptops.
The program allows a high degree of customisation, with the ability to integrate with eBooks, third party applications, and school content and database providers.
In its original Request for Tender (RFT) for the library management system, DEC described its existing DOS-based OASIS Schools Library System (SLS) solution as “outdated and unsustainable”, calling for a new system according to the requirements that it be:
- Purpose-built Library System;
- Web-based solution;
- Eminently suitable for use in NSW public schools;
- Reduces the total cost of products and services;
- Provides products and services that are commercially competitive;
- Establishes a sustainable partnership between DEC and the successful tender to deliver quality products and services;
- Provides best practice through continual review of delivery methods, i.e. value-engineering; and
- Provides effective management of risks.
Softlink will provide Version 5 of the ‘Oliver’ school library management software to the over 2000 schools across the State. A previous version of the program is currently being implemented in 22 government schools.
Over the course of a two-year rollout, NSW schools will receive the new ‘Oliver’ software at staggered intervals, with the project expected to be completed by 2016.