Monday, April 25, 2005

Vendors need to talk! (Part 2 -- a page from Dialog's play book)

Ever since I can remember (and my memories in this area do go back to the early 1980s), Dialog has courted MLS students. (Dialog is an online information services with terabytes of content.) Dialog has provided passwords for library schools to use so they could demonstrate or teach about Dialog. They have freely provided reference materials and user guides. Even now, a section of the company's web site is devoted to students (Dialog Graduate Education Program). Dialog knew that introducing students to its service was an important step in getting corporations and others to use its services. And it worked.

Vendors who are involved in various aspects of digitization need to understand that students are their future users and their future advocates. They would be wise to demonstrate their products to students (perhaps to entire classes at library/information schools). Doing so could help the vendors in years to come.

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