February 29, 2008

Demos - a good thing....

In the past several years, I've run my fair share of trials for different electronic resource products. Generally, if you're familiar and comfortable with databases and electronic resources, you can get a good feel for the product without a demo. However, with some products, a demo is a very good thing. This was brought home in the past week with demos on two products that afterwards I realized I wouldn't have figured out all they have to offer without the demo. At least not in a two week trial.

I arranged the first demo for me and a couple of other librarians, because we were given the option to add on the module to an existing product when we renewed (through our consortium), but I had never seen it or heard of it. And, honestly, I wasn't getting much information from the brochure sent by our rep. So, we set up a trial. Next thing I know, the Product Manager is offering to do a 20 minute web demo. I figured what the heck and arranged for the business librarians to join me. Incredibly robust product; I doubt we would have realized half of what it can do without the demo. It was about a 20 minute demo, but it was 20 minutes well spent. Very, very nice product.

The second demo was yesterday. Brief and in person. Again, amazing product. We might have gotten a lot of what it has to offer during the trial, but there are things we would have missed. Another 20 minutes well spent.

Now I'm thinking maybe I should do more demos or at least remember that for some products a demo will be needed. In case you're interested, the products demo'd were Mergent Horizon and West's Campus Research.