I’ve had discussions recently with Abe Lederman and Darcy Pedersen regarding how organizations go about selecting a federated search vendor. (Darcy runs marketing for Deep Web Technologies, this blog’s sponsor, and Abe is my brother and runs the company.) I wanted to know how Deep Web’s customers went about choosing a vendor, whether it be Deep Web or one of its competitors. What questions did prospective customers ask? What were their concerns? How did they formulate requirements? How did they conduct pilots? How did they ultimately evaluate vendors?
To synthesize our discussions, Darcy drafted a checklist of questions. I’m not ready to post the list yet because I’m interested in fleshing it out a bit more and I want other input to improve and extend the questions, hence this post.
Questions for blog readers: What process do/did you go through in selecting a federated search vendor? What questions did you ask? What questions do you wish you had asked?
To prime the pump I refer to a post Abe wrote a couple of months ago regarding vendor evaluation: “Not all Federated Search Engines are Created Equal.” In that post he mentioned a couple of presentations he was delivering:
In May I will be giving talks on this subject at two library group conferences. First, on May 7th, I will be speaking at a one day conference on Next Generation Library Technologies put on by the Southeastern NY Library Resources Council, then on May 9th, I will be speaking at a Conference put on by the Atlantic Provinces Library Association. Both of these conferences are being held at great venues, the FDR Presidential Library and Prince Edward Island. I encourage you if you are in the area to register for one of these conferences and attend one of my talks. I will be sure to provide links to my talks on this blog after the conferences.
Abe promised slides and now they’re available. The two presentations were similar so I’ll only present a link to one of them, the one from the Next Generation Library Technologies conference. Here it is.
Slide 22 begins the evaluation discussion. Subsequent slides suggest an evaluation process and offer questions to consider. Slides 30 to 33 provide sample questions in different categories.
I find the presentation to provide sufficient food for thought for an entire series of blog articles on such subjects as:
- What features are important?
- What are your requirements?
- What is your vendor evaluation criteria?
- How do you conduct a pilot?
To repeat the questions I asked earlier: What process do/did you go through in selecting a federated search vendor? What questions did you ask? What questions do you wish you had asked?