Apr 152015
 

The FTP server that our Contributing Libraries use to send us their updates will be unavailable for a short time, between 5 and 6pm next Wednesday 22nd April, to allow for essential maintenance. This means that it won’t be possible to transfer any files in this time period.

If you are a SUNCAT Contributor please pass this on to whoever is responsible for sending your update files.

If you have any queries or concerns about the above please contact the EDINA helpdesk at edina@ed.ac.uk.

 April 15, 2015  Posted by at 9:37 am Contributing Libraries, News, Updates Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Mar 272015
 

The SUNCAT team will once again be at the UKSG Annual Conference, which this year is to be held in Glasgow next week from the 30th March to the 1st of April.

For those of you who don’t know, UKSG is an organisation which “exists to connect the knowledge community and encourage the exchange of ideas on scholarly communication. It is the only organisation spanning the wide range of interests and activities across the scholarly information community of librarians, publishers, intermediaries and technology vendors”.

We shall be attending the plenary sessions and various breakout sessions. If you come across us please do say hello! We will also be giving a demo of the new-look SUNCAT service at the Jisc exhibition stand (Stands 35 and 37) on Tuesday 31st March during the lunchtime. We will tweet more specific details on the demo closer to the time. If you have any questions about SUNCAT or want to arrange a separate demo please do pop along to the Jisc stand.

Other EDINA services and projects will also be represented at UKSG. There will be a short demo of The Keeper’s Registry by Lisa Otty at the Jisc stand. Look out for details on this @keepersregistry. There will also be a Group A breakout session entitled ‘Hiberlink: Threat and Remedy of Reference Rot in Online Scholarly Statement’ and given by Peter Burnhill, Muriel Mewissen and Richard Wincewicz on Monday 30th and Tuesday 31st March.

You can follow the conference through the UKSGLive blog (which SUNCAT members Paula and Celia will be contributing to), as well as on Twitter @UKSG and using the hashtag #UKSG15. SUNCAT will also be tweeting @suncatteam. Whether you will be at the conference, or following it online, we hope you have a really interesting and enjoyable conference.

 March 27, 2015  Posted by at 10:39 am News Tagged with:  No Responses »
Feb 172015
 

The article ‘SUNCAT: Ten Years and Beyond’ has just been published in Ariadne, the Web Magazine for Information Professionals Issue 73.

The article has been written by Celia Jenkins, SUNCAT Bibliographic Assistant – with help from her SUNCAT colleagues. It charts the beginnings of SUNCAT, from 2003 onwards, and the ways it has developed over the last ten years and more to meet the challenges and changes in scholarly communication and technology. This has included the addition of new Contributing Libraries (now totalling the magic number of 100), and the ability to link to the Table of Contents of a journal and to the full-text of the article where available. SUNCAT has also been working with other initiatives in the serials domain, such as The Keepers Registry and UKRR, to help deliver improved services to all with an interest in serials. Back in Spring 2012, SUNCAT began a process of re-development inside and out, which has been very much informed by end-user feedback. This work has already resulted in a new and much improved interface, with increased functionality, and this is continually being refined. The future of SUNCAT is a very exciting one, which is mirrored by the new possibilities now presenting themselves in the digital landscape.

We hope you enjoy reading the article!

 February 17, 2015  Posted by at 11:15 am News Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Jan 262015
 

We are very pleased that SUNCAT has just added its 100th Contributing Library, the National Archives. Reaching 100 Contributing Libraries is a landmark for SUNCAT highlighting it as the most comprehensive source of journal holding information in the UK. SUNCAT contains the holdings of all the UK legal deposit libraries:

• British Library
• National Library of Scotland
• National Library of Wales
• Trinity College, Dublin
• University of Cambridge
• University of Oxford

In addition, it has over 50 Higher Education Libraries from across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, including all those of the Russell Group.

SUNCAT also has a range of specialist libraries covering a wide variety of disciplines including art; music; history; medicine; science; horticulture and the environment.

By incorporating information from all these libraries SUNCAT can help you uncover new or unique journals in a particular field, help you locate copies held closest to you or where you can apply for a copy of an article. The service can also highlight those journals which are widely held and more importantly where the one or two copies of more unusual titles are available.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our Contributors for working with us to keep SUNCAT as comprehensive, accurate and current as possible!

To find out more information and directions to all the locations of each of the 100 Contributing Libraries click on the library locations map.

We are not stopping at 100 libraries and are keen to add more UK Higher Education, Specialist and Public Libraries, so if you are interested in contributing please see the earlier Contributing to SUNCAT is easy post.

For further information and news about SUNCAT please see our website, follow SUNCAT on Twitter (@suncatteam), or contact the EDINA helpdesk at edina@ed.ac.uk.

Dec 082014
 
Issue 12 of the SUNCAT Newsletter (December 2014) is now available on our website. It provides a round up of the SUNCAT news and developments for this year, including information about:
  • New libraries (we have almost reached 100 contributors!)
  • Ten years of SUNCAT
  • The new SUNCAT platform
  • Future developments
  • Details of the latest survey
  • RDA and SUNCAT
  • Events, presentations and articles
Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments about the contents.
For further information about SUNCAT please see our website, follow our news on Twitter @suncatteam, or contact the EDINA Helpdesk at edina@ed.ac.uk
 December 8, 2014  Posted by at 12:26 pm News Tagged with:  No Responses »
Nov 052014
 

I attended the Internet Librarian International (ILI) 2014 Conference at Olympia  a couple of weeks ago and found the opportunity to talk about our experience of transforming SUNCAT, learning about the latest library trends and generally meeting follow Librarians very useful.

My presentation is available on the SUNCAT website but unfortunately the other presentations from the conference are password protected.

After mistakenly trying to join some of the numerous other conferences taking place at Olympia at the same time some of the highlights for me included:

The opening keynote from Michael Edson of the Smithsonian who talked about the dark matter of the Internet – the huge amount of cultural activity on the Internet which is valuable but difficult to capture so is not well covered by our cultural institutions. He made particular reference to the Vlog Brothers who you can check out at http://www.youtube.com/user/vlogbrothers

A number of the speakers spoke extensively about or at least touched upon the changing and new roles available for Librarians with the advent of new trends and technologies. Developments in publishing, open access, open source, mobile apps and research data management were highlighted by Brian Kelly (CETIS) as key findings from the 2014 NMC Horizon Report for Libraries.

Suzanne Enright from the University of Westminster described how they used Agile Methodology to develop a Virtual Research Environment, while Mary Antonesa from Maynooth University Library presented on the development of a simple directional app to assist users find locations and items.

Ben Showers Head of Scholarly and Library Futures at Jisc encouraged us to follow three principles when collecting and measuring metrics:

  • Principle 1: Measure what really matters, not just what you can get data for
  • Principle 2: Don’t collect or measure if you are not going to act on it.
  • Principle 3: Make as much of your data available as possible.

And finally of great interest was the presentation around engaging users in the tender exercise for a new LMS and discovery tool at the Open University. This included setting up a user panel, interview and observation sessions and creating wireframe prototypes to gather initial feedback. Sodertorn University in Sweden also conducted similar exercises with users and discovered the importance of:

  • Relevance ranking
  • Terminology is vital – we should avoid using too much library lingo in discovery system
  • Facets should be highlighted so that users don’t overlook them

All very helpful as we continue to develop the SUNCAT service…

 November 5, 2014  Posted by at 11:49 am News Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Aug 282014
 

We announced back in November 2012 that we would be developing a new SUNCAT interface and have posted a number of items about the development along the way. Now, following the positive feedback on the new interface from the last survey, we would like to retire the original SUNCAT interface at the end of next month on Friday 26th September.

The original interface was went live as a pilot service in early 2005, and proved to be popular for it’s simplicity and ease of use, but we hope you agree that the new interface represents a significant improvement and modernisation of the SUNCAT service.

We would be grateful if you could move to using the new interface, if you haven’t already, as soon as possible and also if you could update any bookmarks accordingly. The address for the homepage of the new service remains as http://suncat.ac.uk.

One feature which will no longer be available is the Google search gadget (http://www.google.com/ig/directory?synd=open&url=http://www.suncat.ac.uk/ig/suncat-search.xml). We understand that Google will not support this in the long term so we have not updated this to work with the new interface. If, however, there is sufficient interest we would be happy to investigate providing an alternative as a future development.

Please also contact us as soon as possible via the EDINA Helpdesk at edina@ed.ac.uk if you have any queries or concerns about this or the switch off of the original interface in general.

 August 28, 2014  Posted by at 3:23 pm Developments, News Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Aug 112014
 

We’ve just published the report from the survey we conducted on the new look SUNCAT. The survey ran from the end of May to the end of June 2014.

The results of the survey were largely very positive but it did highlight a few areas where we can focus on making improvements.

The vast majority of respondents, 88%, found SUNCAT “Quite Easy” or “Very Easy” to use. Five percent reported that they found SUNCAT “Very Difficult” to use and on further investigation this was revealed to be due to a compatibility problem with older versions of Internet Explorer. However, as soon as we noticed these responses we investigated and we believe that these issues are now resolved, see the blog post: Problems using the new service on the IE8 browser

Further, 91% of respondents indicated that they found the new service better than the original one.

The most popular features on the new SUNCAT with the highest proportion of respondents reporting that they were either “Very useful” or “Quite useful” were:

  • Links to library’s local catalogues in the holdings display (91%)
  • Icons differentiating print and online holdings in the holdings display (90%)
  • Electronic only/non-electronic only format limit on the advanced search page (86%)
  • More search options on the advanced search page (86%)
  • Library information pages (linked to from library name in the holdings display) (82%)
Feature Popularity (Percentage of Respondents Reporting the Feature as Useful or Very Useful)
Links to library’s local catalogues in the holdings display 91
Icons differentiating print and online holdings in the holdings display 90
Electronic only/non-electronic only format limit on the advanced search page 86
More search options on the advanced search page 86
Library information pages (linked to from library name in the holdings display) 82
Results automatically ranked by relevance 77
Post-search filters on left-hand side of the results screen 75
More flexible and granular library and location limits on the basic search page 68
Option to choose how many results to view per page 67
Expanded table of contents (available on more titles) 63
Auto-suggestions on entering search terms 54
Map of all Contributing library locations on the basic search page 26
Newsfeed from the SUNCAT Blog on the basic search page 17

 

Respondents were also asked to comment on their favourite features. The most popular features were the format limiting, format filtering and format icons.

“I really like being able to tell at a glance whether a library has print or online holdings for a particular journal.”

“… is especially useful as it alerts to licensing issues etc. and therefore prevents requests that will fail and saves time in getting information to the library user.”

Second to these were the additional library information pages and the links to local catalogues:

“The improved links through to library information and the links to the local library catalogue is a big improvement.”

“The new library information pages are very helpful as I work in Interlibrary loans and this feature gives me important information very quickly without having to try and locate it on the library’s own website or in the BL’s directory of library codes.”

Followed by the clear design, ease of use and general usefulness of the new service:

“Cleaner, easier to read and navigate”

“much nicer interface – much more obvious in terms of how to use it”

We also used the survey to find out what improvements our users would like to see in SUNCAT so that we can use this information to plan and prioritise our future developments. The following table summarises the suggestions and EDINA’s responses.

Suggested Improvement EDINA Response
Ensure the new service is compatible with older browsers We have investigated this and believe that the necessary changes have now been implemented
Add more libraries We will continue to expand the coverage of the service and are currently in the process of adding new libraries
Improve deduplication We are gathering information about suggested matches on the service and will use this information to inform the development of an improved matching algorithm which should improve deduplication in the long term.
Improve holdings information Unfortunately, we have no control over this as we rely on the holdings information supplied to us by our Contributing Libraries
A bulk upload facility of ISSNs to enable scarcity checks We are in the process of developing a holdings comparison service which should assist with scarcity checking
UKRR libraries limit We are in the process of developing tailored or customised views onto SUNCAT, one of which could be for the UKRR.
Improve relevance ranking We will investigate possible improvements in this area.
Reinstate subject heading browsing This will be made available in an upcoming release
Provide better options for printing holdings dataPrinting results. It would be helpful if you could print a short summary with selected location details without the need to print irrelevant web-page data too. We will investigate possible improvements in this area.
Provide information about policies on ILL provision and licensing agreements We will investigate the possibility of pulling this information from sources such as KB+, while bearing in mind that recent changes to UK Copyright Law might make licensing information less relevant for ILL purposes.
Move the British Library code to appear beside the library name This information is displayed on the Library Information page which can be accessed by clicking on the Library name in the holdings display. We feel that adding this information directly to the holdings display could complicate and confuse the display for general users, but we will keep this request under consideration.
Split up electronic and print holdings or show more clearly We are working to improve how the format filtering works and will consider adding the format limit to the basic search page.

 

The results of the survey are very positive for the new SUNCAT service and indicate it now provides an overall improved platform from which to continue to develop the service further.

Unfortunately there were some initial problems with compatibility with older browsers, which the survey very usefully highlighted. Otherwise the responses to the new features are encouraging, with the vast majority of respondents finding the new service easy to use and an improvement on the original service.

Key features appear as those related to identifying, distinguishing between, limiting to or filtering out particular journal formats. This reflects a high number of users wanting to focus on non-electronic formats due to licence restrictions on providing copies from electronic formats. However, the additional information provided on the library pages and the links to local catalogues also proved popular.

We will give further consideration to each of the suggested improvements and where possible investigate developing these as part of future releases. In some cases the developments are already in the pipeline and the survey provides an additional confirmation of their potential usefulness.

SUNCAT is the Serials Union Catalogue for the UK. Visit the service at http://www.suncat.ac.uk
 August 11, 2014  Posted by at 3:03 pm Developments, News Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Jul 022014
 

I thoroughly enjoyed the recent Interlend 2014 conference at the Carlton Highland Hotel in Edinburgh. Interlend is the annual conference for the Forum for Interlending and Information Delivery (FIL), which is an organisation for those involved in interlending and document supply, enabling them to exchange ideas and views and also to raise the profile of this area of work nationally and internationally.

This year’s conference took place on EDINA’s home turf in Edinburgh and featured an excellent range of talks focusing on marketing interlending services, developments to systems supporting interlending and case studies of evolving interlending services in practice. My highlights would have to include:

Anthony Brewerton, Head of Academic Services at the University of Warwick, who kicked off the conference with a lively and engaging tour of the key concepts to be considered when marketing and branding a library service. This included the ladder of loyalty – developing relationships with your customers, until they become advocates of, then champions of and finally partners in developing your service.

Ann Lees and Stephen Winch from NHS Education for Scotland Knowledge Services Group (NES KSG) recounted the trials of dealing with a “no copying” policy across NHS Scotland (NHSS), following the Scottish Government’s decision several years ago not to renew the then existing CLA licence. To compensate, a service was set up to provide copyright fee paid copies of material via the British Library. In order to streamline this process NES KSG utilised the British Library’s API to enable NHSS users to make requests via the Knowledge Network search platform. Users can run a search on the Knowledge Network and if no full text is available to them a link to login to the new Document Delivery service is displayed. The user is asked to fill in details about the reason for the request, preferred delivery option and then the order is placed via the British Library DDS API. NHSS librarians also receive email copies of the requests and go into the system to approve them. The system went live earlier this year and usage is gradually taking off. However, since June this year a revised CLA licence has been signed so restricted copying is now also available within NHSS.

I feared that a presentation on copyright could be rather dry but Emily Stannard, the Copyright & Compliance Officer from the University of Reading gave an engaging and informative update on the current status of key copyright developments in the UK, particularly the copyright exceptions which came into force at the start of June 2014. These include:

Supplying single copies of published works to (non-profit) libraries and to library users. No contract or individual licence can override this exception, which could have implications for those libraries looking to fulfil ILL requests via copies of articles from e-journals. Potentially libraries would not need to check individual licences before supplying copies. Emily advised us to keep our eyes peeled for more information on this topic.

Other exceptions include:

  • Preservation copying covers all works
  • No requirement for paper copyright declarations, an online declaration with checkbox or digital signature is now sufficient
  • Libraries can copy all types of work for persons doing non-commercial research/private study
  • Text and data mining for non-commercial purposes
  • Accessible copies for disabled people
  • Making works available on dedicated terminals (providing there is no contract saying you can’t)

Marjory Lobban’s (Document Delivery Supervisor at the University of Edinburgh) review of interlending at the University of Edinburgh was set against the backdrop of the changing environment the library is operating within the University, with more online courses, more distance learners, more students overall and reduced library sites.

Following a downward trend in ILL requests from the late 1990s to early 2000s with the emergence of e-journals, figures started to level out again when the University started using WorldShare in 2007 and started to increase in 2010 when the University started using Iliad leading to more exposure to overseas libraries accompanied by a move to online requesting, which streamlines the process for users and ILL staff. An increasing number of supplies to the University are coming from overseas libraries so ILL requests are now often sent straight overseas rather than to the British Library or other UK libraries. Lending to overseas is also increasing.

Future plans include looking at pay per view options where full text isn’t immediately available to the user. Purchasing items if cheaper than the interlending option and rebranding the ILL service.

I also gave a presentation focusing on the new SUNCAT service, including:

  • Background and context to the recent redevelopment
  • Highlighting the key features which can be found on the new service
  • Describing how SUNCAT can assist end users, library staff and in particular ILL staff
  • A live demo of the new service
  • An update on future plans for the service

Attending Interlend 2014 not only let me introduce the new SUNCAT interface to one of our valued user groups, but also helped to give me more information on what is happening and some key priorities in the world of interlending, all very helpful as we consider how to continue to develop the SUNCAT service.

The presentations for all the sessions will soon be available on the FIL website.

Jun 182014
 

The survey on the new look SUNCAT service is available until Friday 27th June. Please do take a few minutes to give us your feedback. All comments are very welcome and will provide us with vital information on any areas which require further development. Thank you to all who have responded so far.

 June 18, 2014  Posted by at 9:44 am Developments, News Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »