May 182015
 

After the launch of the new look service last spring we asked you to give us your opinion of the new interface and features. We thank all of you who responded to this survey, the results have fed back into the service and we are using your comments to inform the continued development of the SUNCAT interface.

You can view a summary of the last survey, with a list of the planned actions resulting from this.

This year we would again appreciate your input to help us improve the service by answering some slightly different questions.

Your feedback is vital in helping us to identify and prioritise areas for further development, so we would be very grateful if you could take a few minutes to complete this survey which will remain open until Friday 29th May.

We would not only appreciate your comments but would also encourage you to circulate the survey details as widely as possible, both to your colleagues and end-users.

Thank you in anticipation!

 May 18, 2015  Posted by at 9:53 am News Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Apr 172015
 

Two of the SUNCAT Bibliographic Team will be at events in London this Monday 20th April. Celia will be attending the ARLIS workshop ‘Taking the plunge: art librarianship as a career option’, which will be held at Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts). It is going to be a very interesting day, which will see speakers from academic through to museum libraries cover many aspects of being an art librarian and dealing with information from art, design and architecture. Moira will be attending the EPUG-UKI (Ex Libris Products User Group, UK and Ireland) meeting and AGM 2015, to be held at the British Library Conference Centre, St Pancras. The day will also comprise of updates from Ex-Libris and presentations from EPUG members.

Whether you are from a Contributing Library or not please do come and say hello to Celia or Moira if you see them!

 April 17, 2015  Posted by at 10:20 am News Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
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 »