In the end, we gathered everyone's notes and tally sheets, spoke to as many of the attendees as possible, and tried to synthesize their opinions.
All five products have some things they do well, and some they don't. There are actually few glaring deficiencies, such as the one product that won't be able to create AVI movies until the next release. Another requires an add-on bit of software for certain functions supplied by another vendor, and I am told said add-on won't work as a thin-client, and thus must be installed on every reading station.
At the host of this little party, I have been hearing lots of interesting tales... Did I know, for example, that one company did this, another didn't do that, and by the way, this company just got thrown out of a big-name academic center in favor of that company? Sheesh.
Now, don't bombard me with queries such as, "but why didn't you like X?" It's not that we didn't like X, but we felt that one product would satisfy our needs in a manner better than the rest. Your mileage may vary, and I urge all potential customers to check out the software for themselves.
Many thanks to all of the vendors and all of those who attended our little shoot out.
And now, the winner is....
Wait for it.....
I'm looking forward to having it up and running ASAP, so I can report on how well we did with our choice. More to come!