What could the NBK do for us? – the NBK CDG Tools project

We are one of the NBK Community Data Group project groups, and our task is to consider the tools that the NBK might be able to offer contributing libraries to help improve the quality of our metadata. Our work is closely linked to that of the other 3 projects described in previous blog posts, looking at Support and Guidance, Metadata mapping and Systems in the context of the NBK. Together, our reports will inform how the NBK team can build a useful set of support documentation and tools that will encourage and enable all UK HE libraries to engage with the NBK as contributors of records, and as consumers of the services that will be offered from the rich database of library metadata that the NBK promises to be.

If your library is already contributing records to the RLUK database and COPAC, you may be familiar with the reports that are received back from Jisc after each updated file is processed. In the interests of making our metadata even more perfect(!), in an ideal world we would love to work through these reports every week or month, finding and fixing the coding errors and anomalies that the record ingest has identified. Because that’s what metadata folk like to do best. Sadly, the days of large library cataloguing or technical services teams are, for most HE libraries, long gone and we no longer have the resources to devote to such tasks. With fewer metadata staff, our priority now is ensuring that newly added titles are accurately described and easily discovered, and we rarely have the time to revisit legacy metadata and fix all those little errors and inconsistencies that have crept in, by accident or by design, over the years since we switched from card catalogues to automated systems.

But what if the NBK could help us with this? Could Jisc offer something back to contributing libraries that would help us to improve our local records, without too much manual effort for the library? Might we get better metadata back from the NBK, and if so, how would this be best delivered? These are the questions that our project is addressing. Tools allowing local metadata to be enhanced from the rich NBK database would be of huge benefit to all of us in improving the overall standard of metadata in UK HE libraries, and would be a big selling point to encourage libraries to join the NBK.

We began by considering local use cases and examples of “known issues” with our own catalogue records, which uncovered some common themes – local historical idiosyncracies in cataloguing practice, batches of records with coding errors, brief records from early automation projects. These formed the basis of our thinking about how the NBK might help in such scenarios: overwriting a brief record with a full record; overwriting selected MARC fields to fix specific problems; providing back the “master record” from the NBK for records submitted in our regular update files; uploading delimited data (lists of ISBN/author/title) to identify matching master records from the NBK. From here we considered the technical and resourcing implications that would help or hinder libraries when taking advantage of these services, and compiled our questions for the NBK community survey.

From the responses to the NBK questionnaire we aim to build a picture of the staff resources and technical expertise available within libraries, the issues that libraries have with their legacy records, and the functionality of the library systems with which they are working, to inform a set of recommendations to the NBK developers. Working together with Shirley Cousins of the Jisc NBK team, we will identify and propose some realistic, deliverable core tools and services that the NBK’s “contributor dashboard” could offer to libraries. The proposed tools will need to be technically accessible to as wide a group of participants as possible, so that low levels of local staff resource or technical knowledge won’t be a barrier to take-up. Ideally, the tools will be able to be automated, to minimise the amount of manual intervention required and allow even libraries with small metadata teams to take advantage of the tools for their metadata clean-up projects.

We are currently analysing the survey responses and planning our report back to the Jisc NBK team, and we hope that our recommendations will form the basis for some fantastically useful metadata improvement tools that will bring us all a few steps closer to the perfect bibliographic metadata that we dream of!

Who are the members of the NBK Tools group?

Fran Abbs, Metadata Manager, University of Sheffield Library

Eileen Crawley, Acquisitions and Bibliographic Services Manager, SOAS

Louise Grainger, Collections Information Analyst (Collections & Research), Wellcome Library

Martin Kelleher, Metadata Manager, University of Liverpool

Alasdair MacDonald, Metadata Co-ordinator, University of Edinburgh

Toby Reynolds, Metadata Co-ordinator, Durham University

Siân Thomas, Head of Systems and Standards, National Library of Wales

Systems and the NBK

We are one of the JISC community data groups, and our work ties in with Nick Barratt’s recent blog post regarding the metadata mapping project and review of metadata practice in the UK. Our group’s focus is to explore the technical aspects of data import and export relating to 2 key areas and how this may help libraries contribute to the National Bibliographic Knowledgebase (NBK).

The first area we are keen to learn more about is the types of catalogue records libraries are currently working with and the potential variance in quality provided by different suppliers vs. the staff time and resource to possibly improve these for our user community. We are interested in understanding the possible implications of this variance for the NBK, particularly when libraries use it to support collections management activities such as weeding or identifying collection strengths. Our initial discussions as a group raised questions which have now been incorporated into the NBK questionnaire, and we are sure that this data will be useful in shaping best practice and the development of the knowledgebase.

The second area we are focusing on is how Library Management System suppliers could provide documentation or other forms of guidance on the functionality of their systems when their customers are exporting large data sets to the NBK, thereby removing a potential barrier for non-contributing libraries. We are hoping to identify any challenges libraries may be facing and feed this back to the NBK group and LMS suppliers, which in turn may support the provision of guidelines / best practice / publishing profiles /NBK tool kits for libraries wishing to be involved.

It’s all about identifying potential problems or challenges and engaging the community and suppliers in addressing these, so that the NBK can fulfil its rich potential.
As part of this, we’re also interested in how the community can help itself, and what types of support mechanisms can enable a vibrant user community.

The NBK questionnaire will go some way to providing the data to support our work, but it would also be great to hear from the wider community about what steps we can take to make this work.  Because our group is interested in library staff’s experiences with key processes, we would like to undertake some short informal interviews to gather more detailed qualitative data to capture this, so if you would be interested in being in interviewed, please do get in touch!

Gareth Owen, Programme Manager, WHELF

Helen Faulds, Collections Manager, University of St Andrews

Suzy Cheeke, Collections Librarian, University of Bristol

Elly Cope, Manager, Access & Acquisitions, Leeds University

Ed Kirkland, Data Services Manager, University of Warwick

Aniska Kumra, Assistant Librarian – Resources Management

David Miller-Crook, Library Systems Manager, University of Southampton

Andrew Paton, Metadata Management Team Leader, University of Manchester

Wendy Taylor, Metadata Officer, University of Salford

Sarah Thompson, Head of Collections, University of York

 

 

 

 

NBK metadata mapping project

We are one of the four NBK data community groups highlighted in Lee Blyth’s April post.  Our group is charged with reviewing current metadata practice in the UK, developing  a framework of data standards, and mapping different levels of metadata against specific functionality – from basic ‘discoverability’ to collaborative ‘share and compare’ activities at local, regional and national level.  It’s already been a really worthwhile and valuable exercise in itself, bringing together managers from different institutions to share ideas – and enthusiasm! A big thank you to all involved.

 

There are several parts to our project. We’ll be looking at the algorithms associated with NBK that are used to match items, as well as conducting a brief desktop review of existing literature around metadata standards. This should help us understand how different levels of metadata have been used to support practical activity across the sector, and what practical problems this has thrown up from previous work (building on the White Rose collection overlap report).

 

We’ll also focus on what people are using their metadata for, in particular collection management and evaluation; discovery; and metadata enhancements. Using these previous activities as a benchmark, we hope to compile a sense of how particular metadata thresholds can be used as a guide for future cataloguing work, as well as practical collection management activity. We’ve submitted a series of questions as part of the wider survey Lee refers to, and we’d really like you to answer these candidly so we can obtain a ‘state of the nation’ snapshot about how decisions on metadata thresholds for cataloguing are made, how frequently we share records via online platforms, or whether reports on contributed records are reviewed and acted upon. The wider survey touches a number of key metadata issues affecting us all, and it is important that we all complete it as comprehensively as possible, involving other colleagues as required – the survey provides some guidance with this.  All this information will be invaluable when assessing how NBK will evolve, and how we can realise and release the value of the metadata we all create, use and share. 

 

Finally, and although largely outside the scope of the current community data group projects, our group also felt it was important to understand historic cataloguing practice across the sector. The way that decisions have been taken in the past, and knowledge of the present situation, might influence a more collaborative, open and transparent approach to future projects involving the wider library community.

 

Nick Barratt, Director, Senate House Library

Paul Cunnea, Acquisition & Description Manager, National Library of Scotland

Jane Daniels, Bibliographical Librarian, Cardiff Metropolitan University

Clare Hudson, Assistant Librarian Cataloguing and Metadata, London School of Economics and Political Science

Vanessa Lacey, Head of English Cataloguing, Cambridge University

Thomas Meehan, Head of Cataloguing and Metadata, University College London

David Morgan, Metadata, Discovery & Analytics Coordinator, Royal Holloway University of London

Amy Staniforth, Metadata team leader (Information Services), Aberystwyth University

 

National Bibliographic Knowledgebase Community Data Groups

Jisc have convened four community data groups to look at issues and possible interventions that might be made to enhance the quality and efficiency of library bibliographic and holdings data (https://libraryservices.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2017/12/nbk-group). These groups are running from now until the end of July 2018, and will be reporting their finding and progress to the community through blog posts here.

Our First Challenge… NBK Support and Guidance: Past, Present and Future!
Our group was challenged with identifying the support and guidance materials needed by contributors to the NBK.

Through initial discussion around the data being contributed, we formed a shared theme of data past, data present and data future:

  • Data past – Poorly catalogued records from the past that may be difficult to improve or deduplicate against the same items from other institutions.
  • Data present – Records that we are working with now, many of which may be imported via automated procedures, from different suppliers and with varying levels of quality.
  • Data future – Ways in which the NBK might allow us to improve previously catalogued records in batch, or how contributed records with missing or incomplete fields could be identified and workflows provided to improve the data.

Further to the above, during discussion with people in specialist roles at both existing and potential contributor institutions, it became clear that there are many different support levels required, spanning some very specific skill sets:

  • The technical data import and export functions from LMS systems.
  • Expertise in cataloguing and metadata management.
  • Collection development and management activities.
  • Management and leadership roles wanting to understand the benefits offered by the NBK and how they align with the strategic goals of the Library.

We aim to enable these different teams to work together, combining individual skills and workflows to realise these benefits.

We took the past, present, future theme and also applied this to the contributing institutions:

  • Libraries that have previously contributed data to Copac, so have staff in the required roles who understand the benefits of contribution to NBK and likely have staff with the correct skills and knowledge to work with the NBK.
  • Libraries that have not previously contributed to Copac, but have now contributed to or are in the process of contributing to the NBK.
  • Libraries that as yet have not contributed to either Copac or the NBK.

Our support and guidance project will ensure that existing support materials and contributing workflows are identified and mapped to appropriate use cases, that current support needs of the community are analysed and a representative user group established, and we will provide a proposal for a long term online support space and ‘innovation zone’ to help support the NBK user community.

How can you help?

  • We are working with three other groups, who are addressing different data challenges in relation to the NBK to co-create a survey for the NBK community. This survey will be available from early May and will be shared with contacts at your institutions. Please take the time to complete the survey and pass to appropriate colleagues for their completion too. The more engagement we receive, the better informed our work will be.
  • Do you have skills and experience of working with NBK or Copac? We are looking for some potential ‘experts’ who may be willing to provide support to other institutions at some point in the future. Have you got experience of contributing NBK records from a specific LMS or even multiple systems? Would you be willing to help create some guidance materials? Get in touch – lee.blyth@northumbria.ac.uk
  • Keep an eye on our blog posts and leave us your comments. We would like as much feedback as possible and would love to hear your thoughts on what type of support and guidance is required now and in the future. Please share these posts with your colleagues and encourage them to read and comment too.

Who are the members of the NBK Support and Guidance group?
Lee Blyth, Discovery & Access Librarian, Northumbria University
Annette Moore, Content Delivery Manager, University of Sussex
Emma Shaw, Collection Development Librarian, University of Roehampton
Kay Munro, College Librarian, University of Glasgow
Ruth Elder, Collections Management Specialist, University of York

 

CMCAB October Meeting

The Jisc Collection Management Community Advisory Board met on 17th October 2017.  My apologies for the delay in posting a summary:

Jane Daniels (Cardiff Metropolitan University) had produced a report for the Board about community interest in metadata memory.  The Board’s discussion raised issues on the current capability of library systems and how metadata memory and bibliographic history conflate.  There was endorsement of the value of investigating the issue further.

Our colleagues at the University of Sydney are experimenting with CCM Tools’ new MARC upload feature, as part of their pilot to assess the validity of the identification of their East Asian collections as an area of collection strength.  It is hoped that a case study report will be produced in the New Year.  The Board noted the value of pursuing overseas engagement to develop sustainable use cases for CCM Tools.

Service Updates:

  • The new MARC upload feature mentioned above enables CCM Tools users to upload data in MARC Exchange format which is then de-duplicated against Copac holdings. This produces better results sets for Copac non-contributors in particular, consolidating their holdings against Copac data.  The CCM Tools team have redesigned the user support pages on the website which have now been made live.
  • There have been several reloads of data to Copac recently as well as ongoing work with NBK data. New contributors to the NBK will also be loaded onto Copac so that their data is visible as soon as possible.
  • The Copac team are looking into developing a cataloguing interface in the next year or so following expressions of interest from smaller contributors and OA publishers.
  • White Rose data analysis work highlighted some issues with de-duplication of very common titles in Copac. A new title index has been developed which is now based on the de-duplicated data.  This is now working very well and has reduced the size of the database by 1 million records.

CM@ Hull: The collection management event hosted by the University of Hull was a great success with very high levels of satisfaction reported by attendees.  Lessons for future events include: thinking carefully about the balance between break out and presentation sessions and assessing the value of charging which adds considerably to the administrative impact.  The Board thanked Dawn Holland and the team at Hull for putting together a most productive event.

CM@ Edinburgh: the Board discussed various ideas for the next event which will be held in Edinburgh in June 2018.  Planning is at a very early stage and we hope to report with more information at the next Board meeting in February.

WRC Collections overlap: colleagues from the White Rose Consortium provided an overview of their collection overlap project and the resulting report (available in the previous blog post) The report identified several valuable recommendations for the community.  These included:

  • Caution around export of data: institutions should understand fully the exact nature and content of their data exports.
  • Metadata quality is a major issue which could benefit from sector guidance with the aim of driving improvements.
  • Additional guidance is needed on how collection management tools work (particularly around matching algorithms).

The Board discussed how accurately catalogues reflect actual library holdings and agreed that there is a need to clarify the data that is excluded from exports by contributors to the new NBK.  There was interest in the concept of identifying key metadata fields used for matching/de-duplication so that these could be a focus for efforts to improve quality.  Areas of interest for further investigation are: quality of data and collection overlap. Formal thanks was given to the WRC for their study and report.  It is clear that the report and its recommendations are very influential in other forums such as the National Monographs Steering Group.

Data quality interventions: Jisc is keen to support initiatives to improve metadata following on from the WRC report.  The Board discussed various principles for any such initiatives including the need for transferable methodologies, addressing legacy data and appropriate means to enhance poor data.

It was a suggested that a ‘minimum standard’ flag could be applied to records in the NBK to raise awareness.  However, we would not want to mandate standards as this would result in too much substandard material being excluded.  The consensus was that the focus should be on higher level strategic work which will make a difference to the community.

National Bibliographic Knowledgebase Update: SCONUL, RLUK and the National Monograph Steering group have recently been briefed on progress.  A key message to broadcast to the community is that the NBK is ready to accept data from all HE and specialist libraries.

The Board were given an update on contributors so far committed, the timeline for the Beta resource discovery interface and a draft participant framework which addresses the issue of services which are open to all, those for Jisc members and those for which some form of charge may be necessary.  CCM Tools is incorporated into the scope of this work.  Initially the existing Tools interface will be tested with the NBK data.  There are no plans to develop a radically different interface but there will be improvements and developments to reflect improved functionality.

UKRR for monographs: an update was provided following a recent meeting of the National Monographs Steering Group.  The impact of the WRC report (discussed above) on plans for a UKRR for monographs was discussed.  It was suggested that errors in deduplication could be something the community lives with.  Emphasis could be on storage solutions for the greater amount of unique items apparently in collections rather than addressing data quality.  However it is important to consider any shifts in strategy carefully in the light of further work on data quality.  The CCM Board concurred with this caution.

A.O.B: Next meetings are: Thursday 8th February and Thursday 21st June 2018.

CMCAB June Meeting

The Jisc Collection Management Community Advisory Board met on 29th June.  Here is a summary of our discussions:

  1. As usual an update on CCM Tools & Copac activity was provided. Highlights included:
  • The CCM Tools pilot with the University of Sydney is progressing. We are working on providing a MARC exchange upload facility.  Once established this functionality will be rolled out for use by other users who don’t contribute data to Copac, enabling them to obtain de-duplicated results sets featuring their own data.
  • As well as the CM@Bodleian Libraries Book Storage Facility event, featured in the April blog post, we have run 6 ‘Introduction to CCM Tools’ events around the country which have been well received and reached out to many colleagues with little or no experience of using the Tools. A new series will be offered in the autumn.
  • Adjustments to the ‘My library groups’ feature (announced via the lis-collection-mgmt email list) were time consuming. However the Board agreed that the changes improved functionality.  Access for non-members of the UK Federation has been set up and tested.  It will be rolled out to Copac contributors in September.
  • A research report into low or non-use of the CCM Tools was presented and discussed. The concept and value of the Tools is recognised but there remains some confusion about accessibility for non-RLUK members which we will continue to address.  Board members commented that the key to expanding use is for the Tools to be embedded in workflows and that this will only happen if they are perceived as supporting a business need in institutions.
  • The Copac team are juggling maintaining data loads to Copac with increasing NBK activity. Various improvements to workflows are being implemented to help manage this, including a dashboard for new contributors to collate and update information about their data.  It will be rolled out to more contributors as part of the NBK work.
  1. CM@ Hull Event, 7th September

Planning for this event is under way with a range of speakers interested in contributing.  A sub-group will be convened to progress detailed plans.

NB Bookings are now open for this event at: https://cmhull.eventbrite.co.uk

  1. White Rose Consortium (WRC) / GreenGlass update

Latest news on the WRC collaborative collection benchmarking project was provided:

  • Much work has been done comparing holdings results from GreenGlass and CCM tools. This involved close analysis of data through manual checking.
  • The analysis has identified variations in metadata between the three libraries which have inhibited consolidation of records for comparison. It is only through looking at large amounts of data that the true nature of issues becomes clear.
  • It is vital when embarking on any benchmarking project of this nature to fully understand the complexities of the data. Details such as changes in stock locations over years have an impact and the history of data creation and stock management have a big impact.
  • Further testing will be done and a report will be provided to Jisc. The testing has been challenging but work has continued to understand the level of reported overlap between the libraries.

The report was followed by a discussion about the nature of bibliographic metadata, whether metadata was improving over time and how the NBK may be able to support work to clean up and enhance metadata.  Levels of awareness of the issue are increasing in the community and the CMCAB will undoubtedly revisit it.  Colleagues from the WRC will provide a further update at the next meeting.

  1. National Bibliographic Knowledgebase

An overview of key milestones and principles for the NBK was provided:

  • The Beta service will be available in January 2018 and in January 2019 the full service will go live.
  • Phase 2 of data loading is currently taking place including WHELF libraries, existing Copac contributors who have provided reloads and some new libraries.
  • The NBK is essentially a database which will be the cornerstone for a range of Jisc services. These will include a cataloguing service and collection management tools through a login for Jisc members and a freely available resource discovery service.  Other services may be developed further down the line either by Jisc or others making use of the data.
  • For collection management, we will experiment with pointing the CCM Tools at the developing NBK database later this year to assess how this affects functionality. It is likely that the ‘live’ CCM Tools service will continue to use Copac data until 2019.  Existing functionality will be maintained but we are hopeful improved functionality can be delivered both from improved data coverage and from enhanced data such as usage, circulation and condition/preservation data if libraries can provide it.

Discussion followed about the data sources which will be incorporated into the NBK and the fact that community consultation is a key part of the project and is incorporated into all phases.  It was requested that Board members encourage colleagues to get in touch both about contributing data but also to volunteer for focus groups and provide feedback in specific areas.

It was confirmed that the NBK is a Jisc project and database which is being built on our behalf by OCLC.

  1. UKRR

An update was provided on Phase 3 of the UKRR.  This will adopt the principle of a Principal Holding Library and non-members will be able to use the facility on a pay as you go basis.  After Phase 3 the UKRR will be a ‘self-service’ facility enabling scarcity checking to take place.  An update on plans for a UKRR for monographs will be provided at the next meeting following delivery of a feasibility report.

Dates for meetings in 2017/18 are: 17th October 2017, 8th February 2018 and 21st June 2018.

We welcome your comments and suggestions on the work of the CMCAB.

Collections Management @ Bodleian Libraries Book Storage Facility

On Thursday 30th March, Michael Williams and his team opened the doors of the Bodleian Libraries Book Storage Facility in Swindon, having given members of the Collection Management community a rare opportunity to visit.  Anne Worden, who visited from the University of Portsmouth, kindly agreed to us posting her report on our blog:

Visit to Bodleian Libraries Book Storage Facility, Swindon, 30/3/17

Oxford opened this facility in October 2010 as a replacement for multiple other stores, including a salt mine in Cheshire, which were becoming very expensive. It is in one corner of a 17 acre site which the university bought and they will be expanding the current warehouse over the next 4 years at the same time as building a store for the Oxford University museums.

The current capacity is 13 million items with 8.9m being stored, so about three quarters full. They “ingest” (accession) about 7,000 new items per week, making just under 400,000 each year. The conditions meet BS5454 and PD5454, with the temperature being 17.5°C (+ or – 1°C) and the humidity 52% (+ or – 5) – 15,000 sprinkler heads are in place in case of fire. Items are stored in acid free, archival quality, strong cardboard box trays.

Stock is stored on 11m high, German-engineered (no leaning forward!!), metal shelves which are 70m long with 31 narrow aisles between them. Three aisles contain a huge run of map cabinets spread over 5 floors. All other items are stored by size and most have a barcode stuck on the top left hand corner to aid quick retrieval – those that don’t have the barcode stuck onto them have the barcode on a slip of paper sticking out the top but this isn’t ideal as the barcodes get mixed up when people borrow several items like this at the same time. Six forklift trucks are used to enable 8 retrievals of stock a day between 7am and 10pm, Monday to Friday – seeing the pod of the forklift rise up 10m to get something then move forward at that height to the next retrieval was quite a sight!

They get approximately 19,500 requests each month, a figure which has increased year on year. They think the increase is due to the speed and reliability of the service – vans deliver to libraries around Oxford twice a day and if you order by 10.30am in the morning, you can have the book the same day. Unexpectedly, medium use stock has been stored there as well as low use stock, as librarians have discovered that putting copies into the store actually makes them more accessible to users in different libraries around Oxford because of the frequent delivery service.

In addition to the delivery service, they also provide a scanning service and scan about 50-60 items per week in term. The reader gets a link to a server and then has 2 weeks to access the article/chapter. The scan stays on their system for a term just in case of retrieval problems, then gets deleted. They have just dropped the price of scans from £4 to £2 in order to encourage more use of this service.

There are 22 staff working in shifts and the key contact is Michael Williams, Head of Storage and Logistics. Because they will have spare capacity for the foreseeable future, they are keen to encourage other universities to use the facility – Cambridge are currently storing their newer legal deposit collection there whilst they wait for their own store to be built. Stock for other institutions is stored on separate aisles so can’t get mixed up with the Oxford stock. Michael said that he is happy to provide price estimates based on exact requirements.

Jenny Yaacob and I came away extremely impressed by the scale and efficiency of the whole set-up. If we were to consider off-site storage for legacy items, I would certainly recommend investigating what they could offer us, as nothing we could do ourselves would match their skilled operation.

AW 31/3/17

 

Announcing the Jisc National Bibliographic Knowledgebase

The new Jisc National Bibliographic Knowledgebase (NBK) is a development that builds on the long term success of Copac, providing a new platform for expanding the service to include all UK Higher Education libraries that wish to participate, as well as retaining and increasing the range of non-academic research libraries. This will offer a foundation with the potential for enhancing resource discovery and collection management services as well as developing new services to support libraries in managing their print and digital collections. Jisc has commissioned OCLC to build the NBK, in collaboration with the Copac team and others at Jisc, and we will be working with the HE library community to bring on board all HE libraries that wish to participate, as well as continuing to expand the range of specialist research libraries that contribute their catalogues.

Copac and Copac Collection Management tools (CCM tools) will continue to be maintained during the three year project to create the NBK and will be available to all service users as currently. As the NBK becomes established it is anticipated that Copac services, including CCM tools, will become integrated into the NBK, to offer functionality that utilises the expanded data set that the NBK will provide. As part of this development we will be looking to enhance existing services in resource discovery and collection management, as well as developing new services to support libraries in the management of their print and digital resources.

This is very early days for the project. The Copac team will be working with current Copac contributors over coming months as we begin to develop the new NBK. For HE libraries interested in contributing their catalogue to the NBK, we will initially be having discussions with HE library consortia to decide on the best way of widening the range of contributors. More details about data contribution will be available for individual libraries as the project develops.

For full details please see the press release: https://monographs.jiscinvolve.org/wp/

 

 

Pilot access for non-contributors to Copac

Back in February we ran an event to explore the possibility of extending access to the CCM Tools beyond RLUK member libraries: to those who do not contribute their library catalogue data to Copac. In response to a call for interest, a small group of 11 intrepid and keen institutions were represented as we got together in the welcoming environment of SOAS Library in London. Participants were given an introduction to the Tools which was followed by a discussion about their likely requirements and potential ideas for making use of them.

The consensus at the event was that our volunteers hoped to find the Tools useful despite the fact that their own library catalogue data is not currently part of the Copac database.There were many parallels between the requirements of this pilot group and our existing users, who face many of the same issues about space pressures,benchmarking collections and identifying unique and special material.

“… we could …. use it especially to help with our weeding projects, when we need to make tough decisions… and the possibility of discovering some of our books or collections are not as rare or unique as we may have previously believed.”

Aniska Kumra, Goldsmith’s University of London

Since February our pilot group have been experimenting with the CCM Tools: we do appreciate the precious time this has required when there are so many other demands on library staff time. It seemed now was a good time to catch up with some of them to find out how they have been getting on. We got some really positive feedback about the value perceived in the Tools: several colleagues had specific projects planned or in progress already:

“We [have] made a start on significance assessment of parts of our very new special collections using CCM Tools to gather data……….We might extend the CCM Tools brief to our Artists’ Books collection……”

Jane Daniels, Cardiff Metropolitan University


 “We have a significant amount of uncatalogued donations and special collections material I’d like to investigate with the tool to hopefully gather data on how rare or unique (in terms of holdings) some of this material might be.  From data gathered, we’ll hopefully be able to make informed decisions on whether to retain items or not, and if findings can be demonstrated using graphs, it’s likely to have more impact on the decision-making process.”

Sandra Cockburn, Oxford Brookes University


“… we have over 2,000 shelves of books in our external store, as part of assessing what we should continue to hold, [it] will be very helpful to run these against COPAC holdings – we may have rare items we need to hold on to?”

Jo Atkins, University of Leicester


“Potential use cases we are keen to try … are:

Map items we have identified for potential withdrawal …to help inform us on potential disposal or retention decisions.

Use CCM to identify most widely held texts in particular subject areas and then match that against our own holdings to identify potential gaps and weaknesses (we’d be interested to see if we could do this with any areas where ‘library resources’ scores had been lower in last year’s NSS).

…using CCM to identify core collections of texts when we hear of new courses or research areas incoming to the University…”

 Mark Hughes, Swansea University

In addition we got some valuable feedback about suggestions for enhancements, particularly in relation to increasing the scope of available data on Copac: reflecting the diverse needs of the pilot group:

The bigger questions….[it] would be a really valuable tool if COPAC holdings extended to SCONUL Libraries generally, [which] would allow us to look at holdings within regions and locally.”

Jo Atkins, University of Leicester


 

“… we’d like to see the scope extended, and like to be able to run data against both regional groupings….. or custom groupings of our own (e.g. against our self-identified peer set of institutions).  There would be tremendous value in being able to drill down to do comparisons against groupings like this and we think that would expand the use cases we’d see for CCM by enabling us to do different things.”

Mark Hughes, Swansea University

Thanks to all our pilot participants. We are in the process of building up an evidence base to support extending access to CCM Tools and the feedback we get from them is key to this process.

Keep an eye on this blog for more information later in the summer.

Working with users to improve the CCM interface

Since our last update we have completed the first round of formal user testing of the CCM Tools user interface. The tests were carried out for us by our Jisc colleagues who are experts in user research. They conducted 5 tests involving specific tasks followed by each tester (thanks to our volunteers!), and have presented us with the results.

In summary, the tests confirmed the overall value of the Tools as represented by this info graphic:

CCM User Test Results 2There was plenty of confirmation of the value and credibility of the Tools but as we expected some issues were identified with usability. NB The reason there are no measures against ‘findable’ (i.e. visibility via an internet search) and ‘accessible’ (specific accessibility assessment) is that these areas weren’t covered in the tests.

KEEPING THE GOOD BITS

Several aspects of the interface were well liked i.e. the simple uncluttered layout, and worked well in the tests. Regular users who have built up familiarity with the Tools may be pleased to know that we won’t be throwing everything out and starting from scratch but will be improving the existing design. We have therefore identified those parts which will be retained within our re-design.

One key feature identified was that the visualisation tools (i.e. graphs and maps) were not clearly enough signposted to new users. So we will be featuring these more prominently in a re-design. The graphs themselves also need some work to make them clearer to view, and we will be working to develop clearer calls to action to indicate next steps in a workflow: when and why batch searches should be used for example when too many results are returned.

WHAT NEXT

We are currently working on an initial re-design based on the user testing: this has been clarified following plenty of discussion within the team: we have been experimenting with paper prototypes, and post- it notes plastered on the office walls. Once this is complete it will be re-tested with volunteer testers, and hopefully released to existing users before the summer.

This is the first stage of work on the user interface, reflecting initial priorities. However, we also have a longer term list of recommendations for further developments which we hope to implement in the next phase of work.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK

So: if you have thoughts (positive or negative) about the CCM interface please let us know and we will incorporate them in future plans. Contact Diana Massam, project manager at:

Diana.massam@manchester.ac.uk