Mathematical Reviews is made by people. A lot of people. First of all, roughly 17,000 mathematicians are active reviewers. These people are located all around the world. From the very beginning, the reviewers, who are part of the mathematical community, have been essential to the endeavor. At the MR offices in Ann Arbor, 78 people perform a variety of tasks behind the scenes. (And there are some more people at the AMS headquarters in Providence who deal with sales, marketing and promotion.) To begin with, we have an Acquisitions Department (9 people) who make sure that we receive all the journals, conference proceedings and books that are covered. This department works closely with the publishers to ensure that their needs are met. The people in Acquisitions also start the cataloging process. Since we cover roughly 120,000 items per year, it is very important that we get the cataloging right. And just to be sure we do, we have an entire department of catalogers (13 people). Cataloging at Math Reviews is different from cataloging at a library, since we work down to the level of articles, whereas most libraries only go to the level of issues for journals. The Cataloging Department also does the author authority work. If you write a paper or book and you happen to have the same name as another mathematician, we work hard to keep track of your work and to keep it associated with you. Our catalogers might even send you an email, asking if you are the author of a particular paper or two (or more).
I mentioned the 17,000 reviewers. As an item makes its way through Math Reviews, at some point someone decides which reviewer to send it to. That is the role of the editors (officially known as the “Associate Editors”). The 16 editors are mathematicians, each of whom has some set of areas (specified by MSC) to cover. The editor assigns the item to a reviewer, then someone from Reviewer Data Services (RDS) takes care of getting the paper or the book to the reviewer. RDS also takes care of sending a reminder (sometimes more than one). When the review arrives, a copy editor will check it. We have 18 copy editors(*), who are quite skilled at fine-tuning the written word and correcting the mathematical typesetting (TeX). They also verify the references and create the reference links within the reviews. The review then goes to the editors for double checking that it makes good sense mathematically. After a final check (“QC”) from the copy editors, the review is ready to be published in MathSciNet.
Behind the scenes, there are two more groups of people. One is our excellent IT Department. Almost everything at Math Reviews relies on the database and various applications we have developed to access and to update the information in it. We process roughly an item a minute every day. That is only possible because IT has given us just the right tools to get the job done. The other group is our Administration Department, whose job it is to make sure that there is a building to work in, electricity to run everything, and, at the end of the week, a paycheck to bring home.
Here is a picture of some of us from 2012:
Here is a recent picture, taken today! [28-apr-2015]
(*) Note: One of our crack copy editors was so kind as to proofread this post for me!