We’ve just made the report from the latest SUNCAT survey available on our website. The survey was conducted by Jisc in early summer and the feedback we received has been invaluable in helping us to identify any areas which need improvement or development to keep the service relevant to our users’ current requirements.
The vast majority of respondents were Information Professionals from a range to institutions, including HE, FE, the NHS and national libraries.
The two most popular reasons for using SUNCAT were related to:
- Locating serials for library users
- Checking serials’ bibliographic information
Respondents favourite features of the service were SUNCAT’s:
- Speed and ease of use
- Accuracy and currency of data provided
- Aggregation of serials and holdings data
- Comprehensive coverage
- Holdings information and display
Over 70% of respondents reported that SUNCAT saved them time:
“I can go to quality records easily, trusting the information there, without wasting time browsing in places like COPAC etc”
“Enables me to locate locations to apply to for ILLs without needing to check individual library catalogues or use Worldcat which is often unreliable”
“There are a number of things I can see at a glance from the result page. When upgrading serial records, I can quickly move between several records in the SUNCAT display and the layout is easy to navigate.”
“It is a more convenient union catalogue to use than copac for searching journals only, as it immediately shows all available holdings data for different institutions on each catalogue record. It also seems to run faster than both copac and Search25 much of the time”
- 77% reported that the effectiveness of the SUNCAT search was either good or very good
- 74% reported that with regard to ease of use SUNCAT was either good or very good
- 74% indicated that their overall satisfaction with the service was either good or very good
Respondents were also asked how likely they would be to recommend SUNCAT and why
“In terms of locating UK serials information it’s unrivalled. Copac is not as comprehensive, Worldcat a lot more unwieldy.”
“Very useful for checking journals holdings for lots of libraries at once – ideal for sourcing locating for ILLs”
“As it is based on British libraries’ holdings it often records more obscure and rarer European periodicals, especially in foreign languages, than perhaps WorldCat. It is invaluable as a source of bibliographic information on serials as well as a record of quite detailed library holdings.”
“It is so useful to have all serials in one catalogue to locate which library has what you want. Also saves a lot of time.”
“Very clear interface. Comprehensive coverage.”
Finally users were asked for suggestions for improvements to the service. These included:
- Better deduplication of records for the same title
- Improved exact title search
- Improving the visibility of the advanced search and browse options
- Enabling viewing of older as well as current tables of contents
- Providing a reset search button to clear previous search terms
The complete list or suggestions and our response to them can be found in the full report. We will be reviewing and evaluating each suggestion to enable us to prioritise our development plans over the next year.
Overall the results of the survey are very positive for SUNCAT. Respondents continue to have a high level of satisfaction with the service, finding it fast and easy to use. The redeveloped search platform has now had the opportunity to become embedded and appears to have been well received. However, the results also highlight a number of areas where improvements could be made. EDINA is aware of and has development plans around some of these and will investigate others as potential future developments.