Posts Tagged ‘Announcements’

Backstage Testing RDA

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Maritta, the head of our cataloging and bibliographic services department asked if we could post this announcement on our blog, we’re always happy to share information about RDA with our readers, so here you go.

Backstage is pleased to announce its participation plan for the current US National Test for RDA. (more…)

Announcing: New 300 Field Validation

Friday, April 9th, 2010

We’re excited to announce that the 300 field validation that we’ve been working on is now in place and working.  We add this to the hundreds of other corrections and validations that we make to bibliographic records as we process them. Judy, one of our Project Managers, explains the new process:

In an effort to continue improving our bibliographic validation services, we’ve been writing some cleanup steps for the 300 field.  Nothing drastic of course — just some “straightening out” changes.  The cleanup takes place only on records marked with ‘a’ in leader byte 6 … non-print bibs such as media, electronic resources, microforms, etc. are left as-is.  Here’s a list of what the programming will do:

  • * 300 $a = ‘unp.’ [or] ‘n.p.’ is changed to ‘1 v. (unpaged)’
  • 300 $a = a comma is added to #### page numbers if missing (ex.: 5332 p. becomes 5,332 p.)
  • 300 $a = ‘l.’ is changed to ‘leaves’
  • 300 $a = ‘approx.’ is changed to ‘ca.’
  • 300 $a = preliminary leaves and it’s abbreviation (p.l.) are removed (ex.: 4 p.l., xv, 312 p. = xv, 312 p.)
  • 300 $a = ‘unnumbered’ is removed and brackets added (ex.: 48 unnumbered leaves = [48] leaves)
  • If the p. is up against the :$b or the illustrative matter is up against the ;$c we add a space to separate
  • 300 $a = Missing periods are added to ‘p’ (ex.: 135p. = 135 p. )
  • 300 $b = The illustrative matter is rearranged to be in correct order
  • 300 $b = Obsolete illustrative matter is replaced with ‘ill.’ (ex.: ‘tables’ or “fronts.’ = ‘ill.’)
  • 300 $b = If ‘ill.’ is followed by the parenthetical illustrative matter, ‘ill.’ is dropped and the parenthetical matter remains (example: $bill. (ports.) = $bports.)
  • 300 $b = illus. is changed to ill.
  • Adds missing semicolon before $c
  • Adds ;$ccm. if missing from 300 field
  • [various pagings] = changes brackets to parentheses
  • If there is no 300 and the record is a book, the default of $ap. ;$ccm. is added
  • If there is numbered plate info in the $b that is moved to the $a – if plate designation is not numbered, it’s deleted

As with any of validation rules, these are optional, and if necessary, we can work with you to develop exactly what you’d like. These rules are now being included by default in our processing. We hope you find them useful!

ALA Mid-Winter Recap

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

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

Nate Cothran – new Product Manager of Automated Services

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Nate Cothran – new Product Manager of Automated Services

John Reese, the former Product Manager for Authority Control, has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer within our company. John is still available to all of us and we welcome his input whenever we get a chance to hear it.

This also means that Nate Cothran has been promoted to Vice President of Automation Services. What does this mean for you and your library? It means that the same dedication you are used to seeing with John will continue with Nate. It also means that you can feel free to contact Nate [ncothran[ a t ]] or [800.288.1265 x255] with any questions or concerns you may have.

We thank you for your continued service and look forward to working with you always.

Backstage Library Works Automated Services

Monday, August 31st, 2009

You may have noticed that we’ve recently changed the name of this blog from MARS Authority Control to MARS Automation Services. Why the change? I’ve asked our Chief Operations Officer of the Utah location, John Reese, to explain why. Here is what he had to say.


Before the purchase of MARS from OCLC, Backstage Library Works ran several bibliographic automated products.  These services include Non-MARC or Brief MARC Record Upgrades (Machine Matching), Deduplication and Consolidation of bibliographic data, Union Database creation, Marcadia and Custom Programming.  Prior to this week, these services were run independent of the MARS 2.0 Automated Authority Control Service.  Backstage is happy to announce the consolidation of all of the above mentioned services and MARS 2.0 Automated Authority Control under one division to be called, “Backstage Library Works Automated Services.”

We found that there was a lot of overlapping in client needs involving authority control with the above mentioned automated bibliographic services.  All of these services require technical knowledge of the automated process.  At Backstage we are now sharing this valuable resource under one umbrella, Automated Services.  We look forward to having one department work with your sales representative in offering the most efficient automated solution for you.  Below is a list of all of the services under our newly formed Automated Services department.  If you have question about this change please contact John Reese,

MARS 2.0 Automated Authority Control:

MARS 2.0 service is one of the oldest and most reliable automated authority control offerings on the market. With our new system upgrade introduced in 2008, managing your authority records has never been easier.  MARS 2.0 offers name and subject authority control based on the Library of Congress name and subject authority databases (and other available National databases like MeSH, NLC, etc.).  The authority control process standardizes name, subject, series and Uniform title headings.

Automated Machine Matching:

This service offers several options to upgrade non-MARC or brief MARC records to full MARC bibliographic records.  This process searches electronic records against Backstage Library Works database and the Library of Congress Bibliographic Database to return a full standard MARC record.  There are over twenty million records to match against in this database.

Automated Deduplication:

Backstage Library Works offers a deduplication process that consolidates bibliographic or authority records in a library’s database(s).  This process is performed according to the profile specifications of the library and is often used when a library or a library consortia is forming or adding new libraries.

Union Database Creation:

Library consortia or library districts often require a central database for their consortia to work from. Backstage helps libraries create Union Bibliographic as well as Union Authority databases.


Marcadia is an automated batch copy cataloging service offered jointly by OCLC and Backstage Library Works.  This product finds, evaluates and delivers catalog records from OCLC WorldCat.  It is based on search records you supply from your local system and a selection criterion you provide.  Marcadia selects matching records from WorldCat and delivers them to you.

Custom Programming:

It has been a long standing Backstage Library Works’ tradition to customize our services to the needs of our libraries.  Many libraries require special programming to accommodate either earlier cataloging practices that no longer meet current standards and need to be changed or special programming to create unique processes for their library.  Backstage takes pride in its ability to accommodate these special needs.

Juvenile Subfield Additions

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Adding a Juvenile Subfield $v to your Library of Congress Heading

Children’s subject headings are a separate file within the LC subject file. They are designated by a second indicator of 1 in the 650 tag. The adult representation found under Library of Congress Subject headings uses a $Juvenile qualifier. The LC Children’s authority file contains just over 950 authority records.

In the automated authority control world many of our libraries are interested in changing all of their children’s subject headings to their Library of Congress equivalent.  We have always had the ability to search these children’s headings against their adult equivalent.  Recently, our clients requested that we add a juvenile subfield $v at the end of a heading that we flipped from Juvenile to Adult.  That was easy enough to do we simply added a $vJuvenile at the end of the tag once the heading was flipped to an adult heading.  However, this still did not adequately define the type of juvenile subdivision we wanted to represent the heading.

We knew that there were fixed fields within the bibliographic record that more precisely defined the type of Juvenile book we were looking at.  What we decided to do is base the juvenile designation on these specific codes.  If the bibliographic record is a book format (leader/06 = ‘a’or ‘t’) then we check byte 33 of the fixed field to determine what type of juvenile heading this is.  There are fourteen different characters that define the Juvenile book from Comic Strips to Speeches.  However, there is not a valid subfield $vJuvenile …. for each representation.  What we decided to do was translate the ones that did have a valid representation to that heading.  For instance if byte 33 was a ‘d’ we created the juvenile heading $vJuvenile drama.   The following charts indicate what heading are assigned to what code in byte 33.

= “1” : add “$vJuvenile fiction”
= “d” : add “$vJuvenile drama”
= “h” : add “$vJuvenile humor”
= “p” : add “$vJuvenile poetry”

All headings that did not have a valid subfield $vJuvenile representation in byte 33 were defaulted to Juvenile literature.

We also looked at leader byte six to determine if the bibliographic record was something other then a book and assign an appropriate juvenile designator to the headings.  For example, if leader byte 6 is ‘e’ or ‘f’ for maps we add $vMaps for children or if byte 6 is a ‘g’ and byte 7 ‘m’ or ‘v’ we add $vJuvenile films to the adult heading.  The following example illustrates what this change will look like once your juvenile headings have been converted to Library of Congress.

        Child heading:
        650   1 $aRain forests.
        650   1 $aCollies$vFiction.

        Matched LC adult with "Juvenile" description added:
        650   0 $aRain forests$vJuvenile literature.
        650   0 $aCollies$vJuvenile fiction.

For a more detailed account of subfield $vJuvenile assignments please review section 3.8 of our planning guide: