Information Today
Volume17, Number 2 • February 2000
OCLC Opens TechPro Office at Ambassador Book Service, Finalizes Agreement with pica

OCLC has announced that it has opened an OCLC TechPro office at Ambassador Book Service, Inc./Ambassador Media (Ambassador) in Hempstead, New York. In a separate news release, the company announced that it and the Pica Foundation have signed an agreement to establish a jointly owned organization to better serve the European library community.

TechPro Office
An OCLC TechPro service staff works in Hempstead to provide OCLC cataloging on a contract basis for libraries that order books, videos, or other materials from Ambassador. A participant in the OCLC PromptCat service, Ambassador forwards to the TechPro office materials that do not match through PromptCat, a service that provides libraries with bibliographic records along with materials from vendors. TechPro also catalogs for libraries that do not use PromptCat. Cataloging is completed according to library specifications, with fully shelf-ready materials available from Ambassador.

“This strategic partnership offers Ambassador’s library clients the ultimate outsourcing solution for shelf-ready service of their print and nonprint requirements—linking the world’s most renowned cataloging resource without fulfillment service,” said Gary Herald, president and CEO of Ambassador.

“When not working on TechPro projects, the TechPro cataloger at Ambassador upgrades nonprint media master records, including video, and adds new original video records to WorldCat from Ambassador’s extensive audiovisual collection,” said Marda Johnson, director of OCLC Collections and Technical Services. “This benefits all OCLC libraries.”

TechPro projects are assigned to the most appropriate location depending on staff expertise, scheduling requirements, and geographic proximity. Some large projects may be processed at multiple locations. The expansion of TechPro to additional sites outside Dublin, Ohio, allows more flexible and timely scheduling of new projects.

“It is wonderful to have more options to offer libraries when scheduling their projects, and they appreciate our increased flexibility,” said Marcia Stout, TechPro’s representative. “Whether a library has a backlog project, or they need ongoing help with a particular language or format, we want to do all we can to make their experience with TechPro a very positive one.”

The OCLC PromptCat service automates copy cataloging by automatically providing OCLC-MARC records and setting holdings for titles identified by a library’s participating material vendors.

Founded in 1973, Ambassador Book Service, Inc. provides print and nonprint materials to college, university, school, corporate, public, government, and medical libraries throughout the world. Ambassador Media, a division of Ambassador Book Service, is devoted to the sale and distribution of educational videotapes, audiotapes, CDs, CD-ROMs, DVDs, laser discs, and software.

OCLC/Pica Agreement
The Pica Foundation, based in Leiden, Netherlands, has established a new Dutch limited liability company (Pica BV) and has transferred all present activities to the new joint venture. OCLC will participate in the new Pica company through a graduated stock acquisition that will begin at 35 percent and increase to 60 percent within 12 months.

“The new relationship with OCLC is an exciting step towards the creation of an integrated European information infrastructure,” said Cees Datema, chairman of the Pica Foundation.

“We anticipate that this combination of staff competencies will add value for OCLC members globally, as well as enhance services for current Pica customers,” said Jay Jordan, OCLC president and CEO. He also stated that the merger will complement the activities of OCLC’s Europe, Middle East & Africa Office, which is located in Birmingham, U.K.

Pica BV will continue development and support of its current products and services, including the further development and support of Pica’s local library systems, the central library system for cataloging, interlibrary loan, and end-user services.

Pica will also continue its associated cooperation with European partners: the Agence Bibliographique de l’Enseignement Supérieur in Montpellier, France; the Gemeinsamer Bibliotheksverbund in Göttingen, Germany; and the Hessisischer Bibliotheksverbund and Die Deutsche Bibliothek in Frankfurt.

Source: OCLC, Dublin, OH, 614/764-6000; Fax: 614/764-6096; http//

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