RFT 13/107 Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and related services

07/11/2013 to 09/12/2013

Questions and Answers

Friday 15 November 2013

Q.1. Does the Library anticipate setting up three panels, one for scan only, one for OCR only, and one Combined? Or will the Library set up either a Combined panel or OCR and Scanning panels?

 A.1. The Library anticipates setting up three panels, one for scan only, one for OCR only and one for a Combined process.

Q.2. Question on Part A Overview and Requirements, Section 1.3: The Library's expectation is that any contract resulting from this Request for Tender (RFT) will include a requirement for the successful Tenderers to offer to provide Services to other Government Agencies.

a. What other agencies are likely to require digitisation services and what is the nature of the content they would wish to digitise?

b. What volume level might be expected?

A.2. This requirement is in line with cooperative procurement practices within the Australian Government to enable the use of a procurement contract by more than one Government Agency. The Library does not know what other agencies are likely to require digitisation services or the nature or volume of content they would wish to digitise.

Q.3. Question on Part D Terms & Conditions, Clause 24.2: This clause indicates that a Tenderer must not propose any subcontractor for a significant part of the delivery of the Services that is involved in a Tender being lodged in relation to this RFT by any other organisation.

Please clarify. We plan to respond to the OCR only RFT; our partner company will respond to the Scan Only RFT; and both of us plan to submit a proposal together in response to the Combined RFT. Please confirm our plans are conformant with the Library’s Terms and Conditions.

A.3. Yes, your plans are confirmant with the Library's Terms and Conditions. Please note Clause 15.1 which states that "Tenderers may form a consortium in addressing the requirements of this RFT, providing the consortium contracts with the Library through one legal entity and prior approval for any subcontracts is sought from the Library."

Q.4. Question on Schedule 3.3, Knowledge, Expertise, Responsiveness, Reliability, and Past Experience: May a vendor include the NLA newspaper project as one of the Past Performance organisations?

A.4. Yes.

Tuesday 19 Nov 2013

Q.5. Please confirm that the sample newspaper issues are provided for Tenderers reference only. In other words sample outputs are not required at this stage.

A.5. Yes, the sample issues are provided for reference only.

Q.6. Please confirm that Tenderers are to respond to the documents as listed under the heading '13.2 Tenders must include' in the RFT.

A.6. Yes, the three documents listed under Clause 13.2 represent the minimum content  required for evaluation of the tenders.

Q.7. Section in Schedule 1 - Statement of Requirements is about pages with incorrect orientation. Please confirm does this mean that there is no need to change the orientation of the page to reading orientation?

Q.7. Yes, there is no need for the OCR contractor to change the orientation of the page to reading orientation.

Q.8. Section 25 “Access to Contractor’s Premises and Records” in the Draft Deed states the need to access records for a period of 7 years after termination of contract. Which records is this referring to and why so long?

 A.8. Section 25 relates to the activities of an “Auditor” (as in 25.1) which can include the Privacy Commissioner, Commonwealth Auditor General, Commonwealth Ombudsman, a Library officer or a delegate of any of the above so the records referred to are those relevant to their areas of activities.

Monday 25 Nov 2013

Q.9. Must the OCR contractor provide the positions or coordinates of paragraphs, lines, words and fonts (refer to Page Layout in 1.10.2 XML ALTO File for each Page)  whereas in Zoning section, it only requires to zone at the level of the articles?

A.9. Yes, the OCR contractor must provide the positions or coordinates of the elements on each page (zones, paragraphs, lines, words and fonts) in the associated ALTO file as specified in Schedule 1, section 1.10.2. This allows the Library to re-create the page if required, based on OCR’ed texts and their positions on the page as originally printed.

The requirements for zoning in Section 1.11 apply to the level of articles and the information derived is contained in the METS file for each newspaper issue.

Tuesday 26 Nov 2013

Q.10. Some of the sample images published with the RFT should be de-skewed prior to OCR.  As I remember from experience with the prior NLA newspaper digitization contracts, this is allowed, but the angle by which the image is rotated must be recorded as PREMIS metadata in the METS file.  Is this still the case?  I assume, too, that the images may NOT be cropped, only de-skewed.  Is this also correct?

A.10. Yes, images should be de-skewed prior to OCR if required. The de-skew angle is recorded as a PREMIS metadata in the METS file and more detailed information about that is in the “Use of METS and ALTO in ANDP” document. The images supplied to the may not be cropped, only de-skewed.

Q.11. What is the total number of microfilms to be scanned?

A.11. As described in Part A of the RFT the Library envisaged that about three million newspaper pages will be scanned and delivered every year until 2015/16 and on a reduced scale after that. One microfilm reel can contain between a few hundred to a few thousand pages, but the Library uses a general ballpark figure of 1,000 pages per reel, which means about 3,000 reels a year to be scanned. Please note that the Library does not guarantee the quantity of work to any successful Tenderer.

Q.12. What is the time frame for completing the job – scanning, ocring, indexing etc?

A.12. Scanning and OCR work will be given out to each successful Tenderer via official work orders which will include details of time frame for the completion of each job.

Q.13. Can an individual submit tender and if approved, form the company for signing the deed?

A.13. The Library expects that only companies will submit tender responses in order to satisfy the Condition for Participation in this tender as set out in Schedule 2.

Q.14. Can we include a subcontractor with the tender proposal and if accepted, form a consortium for signing the deed?

A.14. The Library has to be satisfied that the company responding to the tender will be the company that it will sign the deed with, should that company be successful. It will not be acceptable if the consortium formed is a different legal entity from the successful Tenderer.

Q.15. Why is there preference for a company with iso 9000 etc. It leaves small companies or individuals at disadvantage who could do the work equally well.

A.15. Schedule 1, Section 1.6.2 for data security and management, as well as Schedule 3.4 for the risk management plan refer to relevant ISO standards. The Library prefers the Tenderers to comply with these standards to allow it to evaluate the services and capabilities of each Tenderer in an objective and standardised way.

Q.16. Would it be possible for NLA to share examples of the work reports?  The description of the reports is clear but examples go a long way.

A.16. The reports are Excel csv files and are quite straightforward. The data elements required for the work reports are all set out in the RFT. The Library will provide the successful Tenderer with templates if needed.

Q.17. The ALTO XML sample file provided shows that the ALTO schema resides at "http://schema.ccs-gmbh.com/ALTO" and at "http://schema.ccs-gmbh.com/ALTO alto.xsd”.  There should be a copy of the ALTO schema at this location, but, at present, these links do not resolve properly.  Furthermore, the official location for the schema is now at http://www.loc.gov/standards/alto/alto-v2.0.xsd.

A.17. Thank you for pointing this out. It was missed when we last updated that file.

Please note that in accordance RFT clause 17.2, all requests for further information or clarification should be lodged no later than 5 pm on the day that is five Business Days prior to the Tender Closing Time. The cut-off time therefore will be 5 pm local Canberra time on Friday 29 November 2013.

Wednesday 27 Nov 2013

Q.18. Clause 2a, Schedule 3.6 “Strategic Fit” stipulates that “if the Tenderer has entered into one or more contracts with the Australian Government within the last three years, information about those contracts and how their performance demonstrates that it is able to meet this evaluation criterion.  This information should include the name of relevant projects, the duration, the number of other parties involved (if any) and written referee reports (no more than three projects required)”. Can you please clarify the written referee reports? What is the report expected.

A.18. To help the Library assess the Tenderer’s strategic fit with the Library, these referee reports from Australian Government agencies should provide information about how the Tenderer’s performance in working closely and cooperatively over extended periods of time with these agencies.

Friday 29 Nov 2013

Q.19. On the article density, there is no mention of this in the tender document. How do we respond when the article density is high? Please clarify how to respond to this or can we expect this to be included if so how? Should there be a separate pricing column on the article density.

A.19. The experience so far within the Australian Newspaper Digitisation Program is that the average number of articles per page is 10. With existing panellists the Library negotiates slightly different pricing when it is clear that the number of articles per page is consistently and significantly higher than 10 for a body of work within a particular work order. The Library expects that it will continue this practice with the successful Tenderers this time.

Q.20. In the Schedule 2 of the RFT, the signature page calls for 2 signatures – one of a director and one of director/ secretary. Would it suffice if one director alone signs the Form of Tender?

A.20. Yes, it will suffice if one director alone signs Schedule 2. Naturally this director must be authorised to commit the organisation to the tender submission.

Q.21. Is it mandatory to have Schedule 2 – Form of Offer in the RFT physically signed?  Are scanned pages with signatures acceptable? One of our authorized signatories are travelling and hence we seek this clarification.

A.21. A scanned page with signatures is acceptable.

Q.22. In Schedule 2 – Form of offer, Section: Further Information in Relation to Financial and Corporate Capability, the Item, “12. The Tenderer hereby consents to and authorises the Auditor-General or its nominee to access its premises and inspect any documents, records or other information, however stored, in connection with the RFT. The Tenderer will cooperate as reasonably required with any request for access” should be #11 instead of #12. Please confirm.

A.22. Thank you for pointing that out. This is indeed a typographical error and this item should be #11.

Please note that in accordance RFT clause 17.2, all requests for further information or clarification should be lodged no later than 5 pm on the day that is five Business Days prior to the Tender Closing Time. The cut-off time therefore will be 5 pm local Canberra time on Friday 29 November 2013.

Monday 2 Dec 2013

Q.23. Questions about the draft deed:

a. For Clause 19.5, please specify the frequency (number of meetings per year) and duration. Will these meetings be held in Australia? Will the cost of travel & stay be reimbursed?

b. For Schedule 1 Item 10, 11 - Unconditional Financial Undertaking, Performance Guarantee, please specify if these are mandatory? If yes, under what circumstances will these required?

c. For Schedule 3 Clause 4, please specify the quantum & milestones of liquidated damages.

d. For Schedule 1 Item 9, will it be possible to reduce the Worker’s compensation insurance to AU$10 million?

e. Compliance to Australian Regulations, we propose to execute the project from overseas. There are a number of instances where the contractor is expected to comply with Australian WHS. Can this be interpreted as Compliance with Local regulations instead of Australian Regulations?

A.23. These clauses are standard to all Library tenders and supporting contracts when we approach the market place.  They are not specific to this particular tender.

a. The Library expects to work closely with each successful Tenderer, which includes developing the most effective way of communication that works well for both parties. This clause provides the Library with the flexibility to request meetings with the Contractor as the need arises, but always in consultation with the Contractor. The Library generally does not reimburse cost of travel and stay for Contractors, and for Contractors who operate overseas it is unlikely that the Library will request meetings in Australia.

b. The Library uses a financial undertaking as an amount of money to cover the alternative delivery of the services where the contractor fails to do so, while the performance guarantee is to seek another company to sign up and guarantee that the obligations of the contractor are to be met. The actual formula for the amount of funds for each depends on the circumstances of the contract.

A financial undertaking or a performance guarantee is to be provided only if required by the Library. In reality they are not likely to be required by the Library.  This is because:

(i) It is a deed of standing offer that will be signed between the Library and a successful Tenderer.  At the time of signing, there is not a contract formed between the parties.  As a consequence there would be no requirement for any guarantee.  A contract is only formed at the placement of an official order;

(ii) The Library will control the amount of work being provided and the risks associated with any potential non-performance are possibly more effectively managed  through that than through requesting for financial undertakings or guarantees;

(iii)  The Library intends to create a panel of contractors through this RFT process therefore we already have alternatives if a Contractor fails to perform.

c. The Library’s requirements for Liquidated Damages Milestones will be negotiated with the successful Tenderers.

d. The amounts for insurance coverage quoted in the draft deed are generic.  Tenderers are required under Clause 2, Schedule 3.9 in the RFT to provide details of insurance covered held or proposed. The extent of each Tenderer's insurance coverage and value will then be considered by the Library when evaluating risk, as part of the consideration of overall value for money.

e. For Tenderers operating overseas, clauses 13.3 (a), 17.2, 42.1 and 43.2 should be interpreted as requirements for the Tenderer to comply with any applicable WHS law which will be the relevant national and local legislations.

Q.24. Is it fine to showcase the three projects from a single client?

A.24. In relation to the requirement under Schedule 3.6 Strategic Fit for the Tenderer to provide details of up to three projects with Australian Government agencies, it is fine to use three different projects from a single client.

Q.25. Is it mandatory to provide the Insurance details in the RFT response?

A.25. Tenderers are required under Clause 2, Schedule 3.9 in the RFT to provide details of insurance covered held and/or proposed.

Q.26. Part of the response to Q19 states that “With existing panellists the Library negotiates slightly different pricing when it is clear that the number of articles per page is consistently and significantly higher than 10 for a body of work within a particular work order. The Library expects that it will continue this practice with the successful Tenderers this time”. Is the contractor required to specify the additional pricing along with the proposal? Please specify the area where this needs to be specified.

A.26. No

Please note that the Library will not respond to further questions about this tender.

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