I was very happy to find your blog and other resources about digitization and wondered if I could ask for some advice.Here is my response. If anyone has additional advice or ideas, please leave a comment. Both she and I would appreciate it.
We are a public library in Australia wanting to purchase a digital archiving system. The initial use will be for Local History material and our Museum's collection. We are a longstanding customer of Dynix (nowSirsiDynix) so we would like to get ArchivalWare from PTFS. It looks very suitable for our needs and we can afford it. The vendor has told us that this product is much more feature-rich than Unicorn's Hyperion (Sirsi's product), but we have not evaluated any other products such as CONTENTdm or DigiTool.
I saw that you have been getting familar with these products at various conferences and demonstrations.
I suppose my questions are:
- It is easiest for us to just go with the Dynix-partnered product (at a very good price) as we liked it, we trust the vendor and their support but would you consider this a mistake?
- Would you consider that all 3 products have basically similar features and functions?
ArchivalWare and CONTENTdm are frequently the final two products a project will review before selecting one. ArchivalWare claims that it handle textual documents better than CONTENTdm. The reality is that any product will have its pluses and minuses. PTFS has said that in head-to-head comparisons, their product comes out better than CONTENTdm. That is their point of view. I've not seen an independent test of the two products.
I believe that SirsiDynix announced some changes in February/March, so first I would ask that you contact your SirsiDynix rep and find out the status of the products you're using. I don't want you to select ArchivalWare, if a change at SirsiDynix makes it then a bad decision.
Many of the organizations that I know who are selecting CONTENTdm do so because of (1) others around them are selecting it, (2) they know/assume it will work with other OCLC products, and (3) they believe/trust in OCLC. Of course, the features matter, but then you must look at the "other stuff." I think you're following the same logic. ArchivalWare should integrate with your other SirsiSynix products. You already are using SirsiDynix and trust them (hence you trust their partners).
Feature-wise, every product is similar yet different. Since it will be unreasonable for you to install and try the three products you mention, I would suggest that you look at projects that have used those products and perhaps speak to (e-mail) the people involved. For example, http://www.hrvh.org used CONTENTdm and http://soda.sou.edu/ used ArchivalWare. (I know there are many others, but those two came to my mind quickly.)
You might make some inquiries on library-related discussion lists to see what other opinions are out there. I'll post this notes in my blog and maybe some people will comment there.
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