Dec 162015

Issue 13 of the SUNCAT Newsletter (December 2015) is now available on our website. It provides a round up of the SUNCAT news and developments for this year, including information about:

  • SUNCAT topping the 100 contributing libraries mark
  • New libraries
  • Contributing to SUNCAT
  • Browsing SUNCAT
  • Finding journal holdings closest to you
  • New Serials Holdings Comparison Service
  • Migration of SALSER to SUNCAT
  • Details of the latest survey
  • Changes to the SUNCAT team
  • Webinars and events

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

 December 16, 2015  Posted by at 4:38 pm News Tagged with:  No Responses »
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 No Responses »
Nov 092015

We have just released an upgrade to SUNCAT which fixes a number of minor issues with the service and also introduces a new feature enabling you to quickly locate journal holdings which are closest to you.

When you find a title of interest on SUNCAT and scroll down the full record display to see the holding libraries you will see these are sorted alphabetically by the library name. However, you can now see a location marker at the top left hand side of the holdings display. Clicking on this marker will reorder the holdings by location, with those closest to you at the top of the list.

holdings by distance 1

The distance of each library, from your current location, will be displayed beside the library name so you can quickly decide if a library is within reasonable travel distance for you.

holdings by distance 2

You can then click on the library name to open up the library information page and get directions to it.

holdings by distance 3

One other improvement to note is that you can now filter your search results by institution even if you have selected pre-search library or location limits – previously this filter was unavailable when the library and location limits were in use.

We hope you find both of these features useful, please do let us have your feedback via the EDINA Helpdesk, or via the contact link at the bottom of all the SUNCAT pages.

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

 November 9, 2015  Posted by at 2:47 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
Sep 282015

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.

User affiliation2








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.



 September 28, 2015  Posted by at 3:52 pm News, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Jun 172015

Booking is now open for a free one-day workshop led by EDINA: “Taking the long view: Factoring preservation and continuing access into your library workflow”.

July 10th 2015: National Rail Museum, York

With the transition from print to digital publishing, it is no longer libraries but publishers who provide online access to e-journals. Librarians now need to regularly review holdings and subscriptions to ensure appropriate access and optimal use of financial resources. Historically, preservation was an incidental by-product of the access role undertaken by libraries. Today, the stewardship that underpins long-term access for the future is increasingly undertaken by external agencies such as Portico and CLOCKSS. It can thus be difficult for librarians to ensure that their communities will have stable, long term access to materials in perpetuity: this lack of clarity can have significant consequences for decisions around print rationalisation, cancellation, and budget allocation.

This knowledge exchange workshop will explore how librarians can plan for long-term access to journals. Participants will have an opportunity to share stories on how their institutions conduct annual reviews, print rationalisation exercises and other related processes, and there will be discussion of how EDINA services such as the Keepers Registry and SUNCAT can assist in these workflows.

This event is free but places are limited. Please register by 30TH June 2015.

The National Railway Museum is conveniently placed near to York Railways Station.

For further information please contact

Jun 032015

We ran a very successful introductory SUNCAT webinar at the end of April covering:

  • Scope and content of the service
  • Key features of the interface
  • How SUNCAT can support information professionals and end-users
  • How to contribute to SUNCAT
  • Future plans for the service

The event proved popular with around 90 participants from a wide range of UK Higher Education, Government, NHS and specialist research institutions. Almost all of the participants, 87%, reported that they had found the session useful and 60% indicated that they would be interested in future, more focused, SUNCAT seminars on either improving serials metadata or collection management.

Questions covered bibliographic issues such as the inclusion of different ISSNs and non-standard subject headings and if SUNCAT is RDA compliant, to system issues, such as how records are added to the catalogue and how often records are updated.

More details about the webinar including the slides, Q&A and a recording of the session are available at

 June 3, 2015  Posted by at 11:03 am News Tagged with:  No Responses »
May 272015

A reminder that the user satisfaction survey will close in a few days on Friday 29th May.

We would be really grateful if you could take a few minutes to give us your feedback as it helps us to identify any issues and forms the primary input for our future development plans.

A huge thank you to all who have responded so far!

 May 27, 2015  Posted by at 9:44 am News Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
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 »