Customer Stories: Authority Control

(Excerpted with permission from a letter of recommendation sent by a current Backstage Library Works authority control client to a prospective client.)

It’s worth EVERY penny... for what we pay Backstage we could never hire someone to manually do the work they do for us.

Kent State University Libraries has used Backstage Library Works for a number of projects.  We’ve used them for authority work ever since they purchased the programming from OCLC.  We converted our database (RDA enrichment) through them. We also use them for a limited number of contract cataloged items. 

I am VERY pleased with Backstage and can HIGHLY recommend them. I describe them as the "Cadillac" of authority work.  They care about quality and put time and money into developing a quality product.  They have a librarian on staff who knows about cataloging and is seen as a national expert on RDA.  They are thorough and careful.  

We typically send Backstage 10K-30K records each quarter and they often complete the processing for them by the day’s end.  We also pay for "notification" work, which means giving us updated authority records when an authority record in our database is updated by LC, NLM, etc. It’s worth EVERY penny when one looks at the number and kinds of changes they make to our records; for what we pay Backstage we could never hire someone to manually do the work they do for us.

Backstage staff are lightning quick in responding to emails and phone calls. I’ve made suggestions to them and seen them carry them out within minutes.

All of the changes are based on a profile we filled out.  If you don’t want something done, you don’t select it.  We actually have three profiles because our Special Collections department doesn’t want as much done to their records.  They can also do specialized programming.  There is a one-time setup fee and an hourly programming fee, but they are up-front about how long it will take them to program and their programmers are fast.

Backstage staff are lightning quick in responding to emails and phone calls. I’ve made suggestions to them and seen them carry them out within minutes.  The few times something’s gone awry, it’s always been very minor and they fix it quickly.

Backstage has a LOT of reports, so many that most libraries don't go through them all.  We pick and choose the ones that are most important to us and look at those and ignore the others.

When I reviewed authority companies about 10 years ago, I really appreciated Backstage’s commitment to hiring qualified people and their commitment to staying current with library trends. To me, that showed they cared about quality.

You really can’t go wrong with Backstage.  They’re tops in their field.  In my experience, Backstage is a fantastic company for authority work (and other projects).
 

Amey Park
Database Maintenance Librarian, Associate Professor
Kent State University
apark@kent.edu