ALA Mid-Winter Recap

Nate Cothran, our head of Authority Control recently returned from the Mid-Winter session of ALA. This is what he had to report:

Backstage kicked off the year right by attending the ALA MidWinter conference held at Boston, MA.  Even the weather cooperated.

On Saturday, January 16 at 7:30am EST, the Authority Control dept hosted a Users Breakfast at the Seaport Hotel, which was just a hop, skip & a jump away from the new conference center itself.  The breakfast was quite good and we had many clients and Backstage personnel co-mingling.  It was also a great opportunity for me, Nate Cothran, to finally meet with a lot of you at last.  Though I have attended ALA in the past, this was my first chance to attend the breakfast.

John Merrill, our CEO out at Bethlehem, PA said a few words about our recent acquisition of the “PresRes” from OCLC, which handles Microfilm duplication, Storage and other Digitization services.

I was also able to give a brief introduction to a couple new services we have to offer immediately:

  • MAX – Mars Authority eXpress
  • Bowkers TOC – Table of Contents enrichment

MAX can return your processed Current Cataloging bibs typically in less than an hour (our system can process about 20,000 recs/hr).  This service costs a bit more, and it is especially useful for libraries that need their records processed & returned immediately.  The great thing about MAX is that there is no minimum fee or schedules that need to be fussed over; simply send in your records through our website any time of the day in whatever size file works for you and we will get the results back to you fast.

Backstage Authority Control has also incorporated the Bowkers/Syndetics TOC database.  What this means is that we now have a direct means of providing you with enriched (TOC, Summaries, Fiction profiles) content as part of your normal bib processing.  Since we maintain the database in-house, this reduces the cost on our end and we pass those savings onto you by also lowering the cost of what you may have been paying elsewhere.  We also thinks it makes sense to charge you only for the enrichments you actually receive.

Both MAX & Bowkers TOC are in place today.  If you’re not sure whether either of these makes sense to your library, please ask us to setup a sample run for your records.  At Backstage, we love to run samples for our customers as it helps us refine the process for them and also gives our clients the assurance they need for these exciting new services.  For more information on these services, please feel free to contact me,, or your Sales Representatives from Backstage.

You’ve made it this far in the blog post, only a little further!  I had the opportunity to attend some great presentations at ALA regarding cataloging and so I would like to pass the links to our forum that contain my notes:

Karen Anderson was scheduled to attend the all-day training session for RDA (Resource Description and Access) at ALA, but unfortunately slipped on a patch of ice at her house and broke her arm.  So Maritta Coppieters, our Bibliographic Services Product Manager, attended in her stead.  Maritta also had to catch a plane to England on Sunday, January 17, but I was lucky enough to glean some of her notes regarding the latest updates on RDA.

While we still plan on sending out regular updates on RDA (of which Backstage is one of the vendors training on it), I have posted my notes from Maritta in our forum:

There has been a lot of chatter (AUTOCAT) regarding the pricing for the RDA subscription and we will continue to follow this closely.

My thanks to all of you that I was able to meet at ALA!  I look forward to meeting many more of you in Washington, DC for Annual this June.

Nate Cothran,

Product Manager, Authority Control Services

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