Leading Scientific and Technical Abstracts Provider Faces Outsourcing Challenges
A leading provider of scientific and technical abstracts that maintains a database of over 12 million bibliographic records and catalogs articles from journals, conference proceedings, technical reports and other materials in the fields of science and technology opted for Data Gateway’s indexing and abstracting services.
This provider has to deal with a range of problems in sourcing, processing and monitoring all the articles that need to be uploaded to its database on a daily basis with the objective of making its database current and extensive in its coverage. The most pressing problem was getting back all the articles it sends to its suppliers (of abstracting and indexing services) on a timely basis. The turnaround problem is tricky because the publications, numbering thousands in a year, are difficult to monitor when done manually using spreadsheets, which was the case at that time.
The possibility of breaking down each publication to the article level was considered to further improve currency. However, this could aggravate problems in monitoring outgoing and incoming workload. Quality is also critical, as the technical background needed for indexing the varied scientific content requires a specialized educational background equivalent to what the UK counterparts had. This client, being a first-time outsourcer, had its own internal editorial production software, but was hesitant to extend use and access to vendors.
Data Gateway organized its team of indexers for this project, selecting those with the required background in Physics, Engineering and Computing. An in-house training team complemented the training sessions provided by the client’s training team sent over from the UK, maintaining optimal coordination for the subsequent months to ensure that the indexers receive continuous feedback despite the remote training setup.
Data Gateway created its own production software for this project, and upon consultation with its indexers, aimed to create a functionally efficient and indexer-friendly software. A monitoring software was also created in-house to keep track of all the publications received and returned by Data Gateway to this client, religiously ensuring that all publications are processed on a first-in, first-out basis. Within 6 months, Data Gateway was able to maintain average turnaround at 7 days (as required), which was later reduced to within 3-5 days, while achieving the annual target volume in just 11 months.
After 8 years and counting of productive and integral partnership, this provider remains one of Data Gateway’s top clients.