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Best Practices for Demo Sites

According to our research, demo sites have a number of important uses. If you aren't sure which OSS ILS you would like to migrate to, setting up demo sites for different ILS can help you evaluate and choose. If you have already chosen your OSS ILS, demo sites can show you what kind of data preparation needs to be done and how the setup needs to be changed. You can also use demo sites for your staff and patron training.

How have you used demo sites to evaluate and test OSS ILS in your library? What about them did you find particularly helpful?

The nice thing is that hardware requirements are fairly minimal to get a working installation going for either Koha or Evergreen. It's possible to install the software on older equipment that may no longer run Windows very well, so the only cost is in time. One of the most valuable lessons of doing a demo is developing a better understanding of the types of technical skills you will need to feel comfortable. For instance, developing some skill and comfort level with a variety of linux is essential to being able to install and configure an ILS. Other OSS tools are necessary to get everything working, such as Apache webserver software. Evergreen requires the installation of an additional framework software, OpenSRF, in order to work. If you have staff who love to take on such projects then you might be able to get a system up and running using only the free resources that are available online. However, if the idea of typing commands into a terminal window and downloading install packages seems terrifying you may be better off using a vendor to manage your transition.

By Vance