legal terms in their SLAs. Many SLAs are outlined in technical terms alone, or with a
combination of the two different approaches.
A well-planned and well-maintained SLA should include:
- Definitions of terms related to the nature and length of contract and service;
- Expected response times for ASP services;
- Nature and availability of helpdesk support;
- Minimum bandwidth availability;
- Financial penalties in the case of system malfunction;
- Procedures for addressing breaches of the SLA before having to resort to a court of law.
It is not an easy task to put together a good SLA that anticipates all potential problems.
A good starting point is to consult other institutions with experience of drafting and
finalising an SLA. Model SLAs are available for purchase online from the Consus
, and can be difficult to find without payment.
The more specific the clauses in the SLA, the clearer the relationship between the ASP
and the customer. For example, an e-commerce company with an annual income of
1,000,000, using an ASP for orders, could lose about 100 per minute if the order sys-
tem malfunctions or becomes temporarily unavailable.This calculation is based on the
assumption that the orders are distributed evenly throughout the twenty-four hours. In
fact, if the company has peak hours of business, such losses may well exceed
A S P s a n d t h e H e r i t a g e S e c t o r
The use of ASP in the cultural heritage sector is still exceptional, and despite the
potential financial and organisational benefits the decision to change from a locally held
and locally maintained system to an ASP service is not an easy one to take. ASPs offering
services designed to meet the needs of heritage organisations are rare, if not unknown.
The most popular use of ASP in the cultural heritage sector is in place of traditional
LMS software in libraries. By managing library collections through leasing access to the
Internet, two expensive investments obtaining and implementing an LMS in the
library, and additional staff salary and training costs can be eliminated. Cataloguing,
collection management, and access provision for library staff and users can be accom-
plished through a Web interface, as the case study on the Corcoran Library, below,
Some of the companies participating in this specialised field offer free service for very
small collections, often defined as those with around 5,000 titles. Additional storage and
product support may be offered to organisations undertaking service subscriptions.
Records are usually provided in MARC format, which means that they can easily be
acquired from the library's existing electronic records.When such databases are used as
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