Nov 112015

With information about the serials holdings of over 100 UK research libraries SUNCAT is the ideal tool for providing an overview of serials holdings across the UK. Currently, however, it is only possible to search the web interface title by title, which makes the comparison, of any significant collection of serials, a resource intensive exercise. Therefore, to enable libraries to easily conduct a more comprehensive comparison we have developed a new Serials Holdings Comparison service.

The service enables libraries to submit a file of ISSNs for comparison purposes. The results produced can help with decision making around collection management tasks, such as cancelling or renewing subscriptions, moving titles into storage, or deselecting lower use material.

The service consists of a simple interface where a library can upload a CSV file of ISSNs. They can then:

  • Choose to run the comparison against all 103 libraries on SUNCAT, or against a particular selection of libraries
  • Choose to compare against print only holdings, or against print and electronic holdings

The submission process is very straightforward and a validation stage will highlight any missing or invalid ISSNs in the file, which may be useful beyond the scope of the comparison.

There are a number of different outputs, including:

Graph view: a visual overview or snapshot of the level of holdings for titles across the selected libraries

holdings comparison graph

List view: this displays the total number of holding libraries for each ISSN and lists each holding library and its summary holding statement. The list can be ordered by number of holding libraries and can be filtered to show those titles submitted which are held in a small or, alternatively, a large number of libraries and by those titles marked for UKRR retention.

holdings comparison list view

CSV file: a detailed report of all the libraries holding each title, an indication if the holdings are print or electronic, their summary holdings statements and an indication of whether a title is marked for UKRR retention.

We have completed some initial testing on the service with a number of our contributing libraries and have subsequently made some improvements to the service. We would now like to open up the test service to a wider group of libraries to gather further feedback before we make the service available to all. If you have a task or project, with which you think the service might assist, and would be willing to provide some feedback on the process and the service in general, then please contact us at as soon as possible. We will be happy to arrange a short demo of the service and for access to the test site.

If you have any questions about the new service please also contact us at, we look forward to hearing from you!

SUNCAT is the Serials Union Catalogue for the UK. Visit the service at

 November 11, 2015  Posted by at 3:39 pm Uncategorized  Add comments

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