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