Metadata Matters

Creating and enhancing metadata has been the heart of our business for more than 30 years.

At Backstage, we understand the challenges that come with describing your holdings in the way that best serves your patrons, and we know the value of well-managed, quality metadata that will open access to your collections.

Leveraging proven processes, our catalogers stand ready to support your bibliographic projects. Whether you’re assessing cataloging and acquisitions workflows, processing a donated collection, or just trying to get ahead of the curve on your backlog, we can create metadata to fit your chosen standards and local practices.

Whatever your project, our teams can handle it.

Comprehensive Options

Full-Service Cataloging

Backstage catalogers find, edit, and create MARC records that meet accepted standards and are adapted to fit your specifications.

We can build as simple or as rich a collection of metadata as you’d like, working from original materials or from digital surrogates of title pages and other key descriptive elements.

We can create records for almost any language on the planet. And we work with all sorts of media: new books, rare antique volumes, vinyl records, sheet music, electronic titles, and more.

Copy Cataloging

Match Existing Records

Copy Cataloging

When your materials are likely to match existing records, copy cataloging may be the most efficient option. We offer copy record management in the form of enhancing according to your specifications, be that by accepting records as found or by adding key access points and descriptive fields.

Databases available include the Library of Congress, RLUK, and OCLC WorldCat — either with your account or ours. We can also set your holdings in WorldCat as we go.

Create New MARC Records

Original Cataloging

When no matching copy is available, Backstage catalogers can create original MARC records, which can be uploaded on your behalf to the database or consortium of your choice.

While we follow international rules and standards, we can always adapt our processing to your specifications: full, minimal, or modified. Our policy is to first follow your policies.

Original Cataloging

Multi-Lingual Cataloging


Your growing collections reflect a diverse community of users. Backstage offers the linguistic expertise you need. We’ve cataloged publications from around the world in a wide range of languages, including:

  • English
  • African: Niger-Congo languages
  • Afro-Asiatic: Arabic, Hebrew, Amharic, Tigrinya
  • Altaic: Mongolian, Turkish, Ottoman Turkish, Turkic
  • Austronesian: Tagalog, Malaysian (Malay), Indonesian, Hawaiian
  • Baltic: Latvian, Lithuanian
  • Basque
  • Celtic: Welsh, Scots, Irish Gaelic, Breton
  • Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese), Japanese, Korean
  • Dravidian: Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam
  • Finno-Ugric: Estonian, Finnish, Hungarian
  • Greek, Albanian, Armenian, Caucasian, Georgian
  • Indic: Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Urdu
  • Indo-Iranian: Nepalese, Oriya, Persian (Farsi)
  • Mayan languages
  • Romance: French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish (and Bilindex headings), Catalan, Galician, Provençal, Latin
  • Scandinavian: Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese
  • Sino-Tibetan: Burmese, Tibetan
  • Slavic: Belarusian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Church Slavic, Croatian, Czech, Macedonian, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovak, Slovenian, Ukrainian
  • Tai-Kadai: Thai
  • Vietnamese
  • Western Germanic: Dutch, German
  • Yiddish, Ladino
If you have language needs not on this list, contact us, and we’ll let you know how we can help.

Streamlining Acquisitions

Shelf-Ready Processing

Do holes in your acquisitions workflow keep you from getting materials into the hands of waiting patrons as quickly as you’d like?

When a book vendor doesn’t offer the shelf-ready processing that you rely on, you can turn to Backstage to bridge the gap. We catalog your books and media, then label and prepare them to go straight from the shipping box to your library’s shelves.

When preparing a large shipment, such as a donated collection, we can box the materials in call-number order to make shelving the new items even easier.

Shelf-ready workflows may include:

Taking inventory of library books
  • Cataloging: A full catalog record makes your new items discoverable. Because many overseas vendors do not offer physical processing, Backstage cataloging support for multiple languages is key to many of our shelf-ready clients.
  • Physical processing: From jacket covers and labels, to security strips, property stamps, and anything else you need to make an item ready to circulate, we match your local practices to prepare books and media to go straight onto your shelves.
  • Drop-shipped workflows:  For approval plans and individual orders, we coordinate shipping from your suppliers to our shop for cataloging and physical processing, then on to you, cutting steps and saving time.
  • Continued support: We provide cataloging and processing support for backlogs, donated collections, and ongoing acquisitions.

More Than Just MARC

Metadata Formats

Metadata enables access to archival materials, digital images, and other special collections. When discovery systems for these collections don’t look like a library catalog, we’re still here to help.

We can craft metadata to fit your systems, schema, and specifications, including:

  • EAD
  • TEI
  • Dublin Core
  • DACS
  • MODS
  • MADS
  • XML

We’ve gathered data elements from archival folder labels, digital images, and the backs of photographs. We’ve worked with existing metadata from paper finding aids to text files to spreadsheets. Our teams can create, enhance, and format whatever metadata you need to help your patrons explore your incredible collections. 

A Place for Everything


Whether you’ve decided to reclassify a subset of your collection or the entire catalog, partnering with Backstage gives you all the options for a successful project.

We’ve helped libraries reclassify tens of millions of items, working with widely accepted standards and specialized local practices. Our projects have included:

  • Dewey Decimal to Library of Congress Classification
  • Updating Dewey versions
  • Expanding from abbreviated to full Library of Congress
  • Retiring a local classification system
  • Adopting BISAC classification

Your project can include computer-assisted validation and database matching, manual subject analysis and call number assignment by experienced catalogers, label printing, and even on-site relabeling and reshelving.

Analog to Digital

Retrospective Conversion

If it’s not in your electronic catalog, for all practical purposes, it’s not in your library.

Whether you’re populating an ILS for the first time or just have small pockets of unconverted materials lingering in your library, Backstage can provide high-quality bibliographic records for your catalog.

We have worked for libraries all over the world, preparing records for all major automation systems. We’ve converted collections for academic, public, special, and government libraries, in dozens of languages, including non-Roman scripts, and from nearly every type of source document.

card catalog

You may already have brief record information in spreadsheets or another electronic format. We can work with you to convert these non-MARC data sources into MARC records that you can use in your ILS.

We also provide on-site card scanning for catalogs that can’t be packed up and shipped to us, and we can process anything from guard books to title/verso pages if no cards are available.

Empowering Content Providers

Publisher Cataloging

A catalog record helps a librarian put your book, ebook, or database content in front of an interested reader. The richer your metadata, the more readers you’ll attract.

The brief records produced for CIP or by conversion from ONIX to MARC may suffice to list an item in a library’s catalog. But from there, you’re playing a game of hide-and-seek. Will the metadata in your brief record lead readers to your content?

Backstage can help you create or convert metadata for your content, enrich your data with additional access points, optimize your records for search and discovery in the library environment, and make your publications more useful to library patrons.



At Backstage, our quality is guaranteed.

Read about our lifetime guarantee.

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