Collection Management: Share the Experience @ event summaries

Summaries of Collection Management: Share the Experience events from 2015 – 2019 are provided below:

Collections Management: Share the Experience @ Royal Holloway 11th & 12th June 2019

This year’s Collection Management: Share the Experience event, our 5th, was extended to become a two day affair, hosted in the beautiful surroundings of Royal Holloway, University of London.  Thanks to the tireless commitment of David Morgan and his colleagues at Royal Holloway library, and the many presenters who contributed, we were treated to a wide ranging, challenging and fascinating selection of presentations and workshops.

Presenters have been kind enough to share their presentations as follows:


Making moves – lessons from a library migration David Morgan (Royal Holloway)

Getting the balance right Catherine Parker (University of Huddersfield)

Collection categorisation break out session notes David Morgan (Royal Holloway) and Frances Machell (University of Birmingham),  Plus case studies from Bristol, Leeds, York and RHUL

Collaborative collection management updates: Nick Barratt (Senate House); Jane Daniels (WHELF); Suzy Cheeke (GW4); Lorna Mitchell (SCURL); Diana Massam (Jisc)

Stock management – helping customers find their books Natasha Viner (University of Manchester)

Academic engagement – shall we get engaged? Ann Stairmand-Jackson and Graham Gamblin (Birmingham City University)


UKRR – from project to service Andy Appleyard (British Library)

NBK updates Diana Massam, (Jisc)

Breakout – Visualising UKRR for monographs plus padlet summary of inputs Theo Stubbs (Imperial College)

NBK Community Data Groups updates Amy Staniforth (Aberystwyth University) (presented by Jane Daniels)

Metadata Summit: report Jane Daniels (Cardiff Metropolitan University); Suzy Cheeke (University of Bristol)

University of Birmingham’s new library – 3 years on Frances Machell (University of Birmingham)

Integrating collection management Robin Armstrong-Viner (University of Kent)

Collections Management: Share the Experience @ Edinburgh 29th June 2018

The fourth national Collection Management event was hosted by the University of Edinburgh Library on 29th June in the beautiful Edinburgh sunshine!  It was another day of fascinating presentations, a really thought provoking breakout session and plenty of discussion and debate.  The success of these events lies as much in the connections and informal discussions between delegates as in the range of formal sessions.  To me, there is definitely a sense that a professional community of practice has developed around collection management with these events as a focus.

The 5th event is already in the pipeline, probably to be held in the summer 2019, so keep an eye out for announcements on the mailing list.

In the meantime, the presenters at CM@ Edinburgh have kindly agreed to share their presentations below:

Hannah Mateer, University of Edinburgh  Collections management at Edinburgh

Anna Grigson, LSE Making an exhibition of our shelves: engaging users with print collections

Amy O’Donohoe, Royal Holloway, University of London Data collection for collections management Plus Slide Notes

Karen Thomas, Suzy Cheeke, Jan Davey, University of Bristol Breakout session: The decision tree and collection management plus summary of themes which emerged from discussion during the session.

Ian Jennings, University of Leeds  Collections management at Leeds


Jill Evans, SCURL

Jane Daniels, WHELF

Matt Wigzell, White Rose

Suzy Cheeke, GW4

Dr Nick Barrett, University of London Libraries

Diana Massam, National Bibliographic Knowledgebase

Kevin Wilson, LSE How do our collections support and reflect teaching and research at LSE

Collections Management: Share the Experience @ Hull 7th September 2017

The University of Hull Library hosted a third national Collections Management event on Thursday 7th September.  As UK City of Culture 2017 it was a great time to visit the city and another stimulating and lively day was had by all.  Thanks to RLUK for administrative support.

The presenters have all kindly agreed to make their presentations available:

Neil Grindley & Bethan Ruddock, Jisc The National Bibliographic Knowledgebase: project update

David Morgan, Royal Holloway, University of London Project Management in Libraries

Ruth Elder, University of York Applying a collections categorisation framework at York: a pilot project at the University of York

Hannah Mateer, University of Edinburgh Collections Rationalisation at the University of Edinburgh

Vanessa McHugh, University of Manchester From here to posterity: managing low use collections at the University of Manchester

Maggie Sarjantson & Lisa McFarlane, University of Hull From Spa town to City of Culture: decommissioning a campus library

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

Collections Management: Share the Experience @ Bristol 2nd February 2016

The second national Collections Management event was hosted by the University of Bristol Library, in association with Jisc, RLUK and SCONUL.  It was a popular and  successful event stimulating discussion and debate from delegates representing the Collections Management community.

Presenters kindly agreed to make their presentation slides available as follows:

Jo Aitkins (University of Leicester), Chloe Barnes (University of Sussex) and Anna Grigson (LSE) took part in a panel discussion following on from themes raised at the York event.  Jo and Chloe produced slides on Gifts and Collection Management Policies respectively which are available here: Bristol Panel Slides.

Slides from the subsequent presentations are available as follows:

Neil Grindley, Jisc From Strategy to Solutions a National Bibliographic Knowledgebase

Frances Machell, University of Birmingham Eating the elephant: reclassification and preparation for a major library move

Laurence Bebington, University Of Aberdeen  Loosening the Bounds of Copyright and Licensing: How Recent Reforms to Copyright can Facilitate Better Collection Management and Access

Collections Management: Share the Experience @ York 7th July 2015

This inaugural event, hosted by the University of York Library in association with Jisc, RLUK and SCONUL was a very successful opportunity for the Collection Management community to meet, share good practice and discuss common issues and activities.

Presenters have kindly agreed to make their presentation slides available as follows:

The Dark Art of Managing an External Store Jo Aitkins (University of Leicester)

Developing and implementing a Library Collections Policy to deliver and support ‘more’ Laura Shanahan (University of Edinburgh)

Collections analysis at University of St Andrews Helen Faulds (University of St Andrews)

Collection development or data driven content curation? Rachel Kirkwood (University of Manchester)

Collaborative Collection Management: SCURL’s experience Richard Parsons and Jill Evans (SCURL)

WHELF: Collections Management Collaboration within Wales Mark Hughes (Swansea University)

Collection Management: Share the Experience @ Royal Holloway 11th & 12th June 2019

This year’s Collection Management: Share the Experience event, our 5th, was extended to become a two day affair, hosted in the beautiful surroundings of Royal Holloway, University of London.  Thanks to the tireless commitment of David Morgan and his colleagues at Royal Holloway library, and the many presenters who contributed, we were treated to a wide ranging, challenging and fascinating selection of presentations and workshops.

Presenters have been kind enough to share their presentations as follows:

Where no link is available, content will be added shortly where possible


Making moves – lessons from a library migration David Morgan (Royal Holloway)

Getting the balance right Catherine Parker (University of Huddersfield)

Collection categorisation break out session notes David Morgan (Royal Holloway) and Frances Machell (University of Birmingham),  Plus case studies from Bristol, Leeds, York and RHUL

Collaborative collection management updates: Nick Barratt (Senate House); Jane Daniels (WHELF); Suzy Cheeke (GW4); Lorna Mitchell (SCURL); Diana Massam (Jisc)

Stock management – helping customers find their books Natasha Viner (University of Manchester)

Academic engagement – shall we get engaged? Ann Stairmand-Jackson and Graham Gamblin (Birmingham City University)


UKRR – from project to service Andy Appleyard (British Library)

NBK updates Diana Massam, (Jisc)

Breakout – Visualising UKRR for monographs plus padlet summary of inputs Theo Stubbs (Imperial College)

NBK Community Data Groups updates Amy Staniforth (Aberystwyth University) (presented by Jane Daniels)

Metadata Summit: report Jane Daniels (Cardiff Metropolitan University); Suzy Cheeke (University of Bristol)

University of Birmingham’s new library – 3 years on Frances Machell (University of Birmingham)

Integrating collection management Robin Armstrong-Viner (University of Kent)

Retention information & bibliographic metadata: CMCAB consultation

The Jisc Collection management Community Advisory Board is seeking the views of the community about models for incorporating retention information in bibliographic metadata.

A draft working paper was produced by the University of York, initially for internal discussion, which we felt was useful to share more widely. While the paper does not reflect any concrete decisions it raises issues and ideas which are useful. Please read the paper, ‘University of York_ 583_983 Best Practice (002) before completing the survey.

The survey can be found here. It will remain open until close of business on Friday 28th June. 

Following this survey, the CMCAB will produce recommendations and seek to encourage the community to work towards the adoption of common principles and goals in this area.

CMCAB October Meeting

The Jisc Collection Management Community Advisory Board met on 19th October 2018.  With apologies for the delay, a summary of discussions is provided below:

Board membership: Chris Awre from the University of Hull and Hannah Mateer from the University of Edinburgh were welcomed as new members of the Board.

Project and Service Updates: as of 19th October 165 institutions had agreed to participate in the NBK and are at various stages of the data ingest workflow.  Some contributing institutions not previously on Copac have also been uploaded to Copac where this has been deemed useful and straightforward.

There will be a soft launch of NBK services in January/February 2019, with pilot interfaces made available for user feedback, which will then be developed over the next few months. Consultants are working with the NBK team in developing designs as part of the broader Transforming Library Support Services programme.

SUNCAT and Copac will be retired in July 2019 so that users have plenty of time to move over while old and new services run in parallel.  The NBK team are working with SUNCAT staff on joint communications about the retirement of the service and are also developing a communications plan for Copac service retirement.

There is a separate sub project working on deduplication of serials data and SUNCAT functionality will be replicated to enable serials and UKRR workflows to be supported.

E-books: the NBK team are working with OCLC to investigate how their existing arrangements with e-book suppliers might be used to set up a data flow for the NBK.  Next steps will then be to clarify the ‘pain points’ in dealing with e-books (identified in previous Jisc research) and how the NBK can help, while dovetailing with work from other Jisc services such as JUSP and KB+.

For the latest update on the NBK (December 2018) see the NBK blog 

Data Ownership

An overview of the outputs from the consultant Ken Chad’s recently completed investigation into data licensing was provided to the Board.  Ken validated the NBK’s ‘value propositions’, as developed with the NBK team, in a scored matrix based on his discussions with the community.  More details about the recommendations from the report will be made available to the community in early 2019.

Community Data Groups

Reports and recommendations from the Community Data Groups were circulated to the Board.  This resulted in lively discussions about data quality, authority data, the supply of library metadata and data analysis skills for librarians.  Also discussed was the need for continued development of routes for community input and engagement with the NBK, for example through the creation of support mechanisms and user consultation.

An update on outcomes from the CDGs will be posted to this blog in the new year.

National Collection Management Initiatives

Following their collection overlap study, members of the White Rose Consortium (WRC) concluded that there was not enough overlap between their collections to inform decisions about withdrawals.  Following a second review of the data not much has changed in respect of member collections.  The team are looking into widening the group of libraries involved in a collection overlap study, with additional libraries using Greenglass. The hope is that this can then inform decisions about retention commitments.  In order to be confident about such commitments an analysis needs to involve more libraries.  Terms and conditions need to be agreed so that once outside the Greenglass process it is clear what a retention commitment means in practice.

UKRR recently undertook a survey into community interest in development of a UKRR model for monographs.  The Board will continue to follow developments with interest.  The NBK will support initiatives around collaborative collection management, including the use of retention flags and how these can be incorporated into future functionality.

The next CM@ event will be held on the 11/12th June 2019 at Royal Holloway.  David Morgan is leading on plans for the event and he and his colleagues are confident in delivering an exciting two-day event.  It was agreed that further discussion of the event will be postponed until the February meeting, when we will know more about the support David may need from Board members.

Date of next meetings: Thursday 14th February and Wednesday 17th July 2019.

Community Data Groups: survey headlines

The NBK Community Data Groups ran a survey over the summer, as mentioned in their previous blog posts.  All the groups agreed that a better picture of how libraries interact with bibliographic data was needed, in order to provide an understanding of the current library data landscape and to support initiatives moving forward.

The response rate was excellent: thanks to the 99 institutions who completed the survey.  The responses have provided us with a fascinating set of data which has already proved invaluable in informing the work of the NBK team and the CDGs.

A Headline Summary of the results is now available.  Individual CDGs have been analysing subsets of the data and some plan to publish their conclusions and recommendations elsewhere.  Further communications about the outcomes of the survey and the work of the CDGs will be available in the new year.

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

CMCAB June Meeting

The Jisc Collection Management Community Advisory Board met on June 21st 2018.  A summary of discussions is provided below:

Board membership: Dawn Holland from the University of Hull is stepping down from the Board.  Her colleague from Hull, Chris Awre, will be joining the Board at the next meeting.

The University of Sydney have reported on their pilot project using CCM Tools.  Some interesting areas of overlap in East Asian collections was identified but the sample size (1000 records) was relatively small.  The pilot was a useful proof of concept but a larger scale collaboration would be needed to investigate the feasibility of any international service offering. The Board agreed that it was sensible to keep options open and to pursue this further when resources allow.

Service Updates: CCM Tools service enhancements are currently paused as we work towards the launch of NBK services and incorporate requirements into the Jisc TLSS UX development work.  However, the team have been busy with events and will be testing NBK data with the CCM Tools interface in the autumn.  Copac is in a stable state with some new data loads and reloads still taking place.  Activity is merging into NBK workflows as the project progresses so will not be reported on separately at future meetings.

Community Engagement: The team have been busy with a full calendar of CCM and NBK events since the last meeting.  As well as promoting the NBK and collection management services, the events provide valuable insight and feedback from the community.  This has included insights into NBK use cases for post 1992 institutions around acquisitions and managing e-book collections.  There has also been much valuable activity in Wales resulting in discussions with WHELF about supporting some specific metadata projects for the consortium and plans for CCM Tools training.  The CM@Edinburgh event took place on 29th June and was a great success with over 50 delegates attending.

National Bibliographic Knowledgebase:

The Board were shown some prototype data visualisations using elastic search and NBK data.  These show the potential to deliver new functionality and data analysis tools to support data quality and collection management workflows and are an excellent practical demonstration of the services which the NBK could deliver.  It was noted that it would be very useful to show this to the wider community to give insight into the potential for strategic analysis and delivery of new tools.  The Jisc team will be doing so at forthcoming events.

Data loading has slowed recently, often due to local issues getting in the way of progress rather than a lack of awareness or support.  In response to this we are engaging with individual institutions with support from Jisc account managers. While data loading remains a priority we are also putting an emphasis on communicating benefits to institutions, libraries and end users to drive engagement.

Serials data: work is progressing to incorporate expertise from the SUNCAT team into the development of appropriate functionality into NBK services.  This will support serials data workflows, including the UKRR.

Data ownership: a consultancy has been procured to look into the issues of data ownership and re-use which the NBK has highlighted to date.  This will include dialogue with data suppliers, libraries and the NBK team to provide an analysis of the data supply market place and business models, in the hope of finding a way forward to enable sharing of data.  It will conclude by mid-October and will also involve the creation of a small community working group to provide a discussion forum for the duration of the work.

Participant framework: a draft document was circulated detailing all NBK service components potentially on offer and the access points for different categories of participants (such as Jisc members, non-members etc.) for comment.  The Board supported the broad thrust of its principles but suggested some changes to the structure to improve clarity.  These will be incorporated before a public version of the document is released.

Community Data Groups: details of the four groups have been posted to this blog.  The groups developed a survey about bibliographic data in libraries which was open to the community for completion during June.  Analysis of the results is now taking place and the Groups will be meeting again on 26th July to discuss these and decide on recommendations and next steps.

Dates of CMCAB meetings for the 18/19 session will be confirmed as soon as possible.

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 ( 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 –
  • 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