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


CMCAB February Meeting

Please find below a summary of the Jisc Collection Management Community Advisory Board (CMCAB) meeting held on 3rd February 2017.  We have received some positive responses from the community about these updates, but welcome your comments and suggestions for improvements.

The Board welcomed another new member, Dawn Holland from the University of Hull.  The time and enthusiasm members give to the Board is much appreciated.

  1. CCM Tools & Copac Updates

University of Sydney Pilot Project: A project framework document has been developed and access will be provided to members of the team in Sydney very shortly.  They will use the CCM Tools over the next few months and deliver a report at the end of the summer.  This will enable us to investigate the potential for CCM Tools to provide international services in the future.

A number of community events have taken place or are in the pipeline: a valuable and popular way to promote CCM Tools to colleagues. Diana has offered to run local events for any institutions interested in hosting them which has received an excellent response to date.

Service Developments: the new ‘My Library Groups’ feature has been popular but caused some confusion because consolidated records display all holdings, not just those libraries in the group.  The Board agreed that the display should be adjusted to include selected libraries only with the option to display all holdings.  Work on developing new search format filters and search history management is underway.  A storage limit for search histories may need to be introduced to manage storage requirements.  The Board reiterated the requirement to be able to share searches with other members of the same institution but also potentially named collaborators.  The service development survey run over the last few months has confirmed our existing priorities.  Diana will write a separate blog post about this.

Shibboleth Access: this enables any member of an institution to access CCM Tools.  The Board did not consider this a problem as long as this is documented in the Help pages.

An update on new data loads is available on the Copac website.  The team are working with 3 pilot libraries from the M25 consortium to test a streamlined process for adding new data to Copac.  Some concern was expressed about the lack of data updates from some institutions.  The resulting lack of currency can have serious implications for collection management decisions in particular.  This is a perennial problem as the Copac team are dependent on institutions sending their data in a timely fashion.  If the team could directly ‘pull’ data from contributors, this would remove the need for action by institutions.  It is hoped that this sort of development could be part of the enhancements delivered by the National Bibliographic Knowledgebase (NBK).  In addition the NBK will be able to automatically synch data with OCLC’s WorldCat if individual libraries require it.  This will remove the need for two separate data loading workflows for the two services.

  1. Community Engagement

Diana will appeal for practitioners who may be interested in submitting a joint paper to the forthcoming NAG Conference about use of CCM Tools in acquisitions, which is a good fit this year.

Colleagues at Bodleian Libraries are happy to arrange an event touring their book storage facility in Swindon.  It is hoped this will happen towards the end of March.  The Board expressed great interest and appreciation for this.

It has been more difficult to find a suitable date for a larger collection management event along the lines of the previous Bristol and York events.  The Board are keen for this to go ahead, ideally in Scotland, so we will pursue this.

  1. GreenGlass Update

Board members from Sheffield, Leeds and York provided an update on their collection management work with GreenGlass.  The outputs provided need further analysis including an in depth survey of the levels of overlap between different collections.  These were significantly different to expected levels and it is hoped that a deeper examination of the data will shed light on this.

  1. York categorisation project

Ruth Elder provided an update on a recent pilot project at York to categorise a branch library collection of items according to a defined status:  heritage, self-renewing, legacy and finite (the ‘Leeds categorisations’).  Draft criteria were drawn up to allocate categories following extensive discussion, and 34,000 items were tagged.  The aim of the project was to establish a framework and methodology which can be used for future projects.  This was very successful and could potentially be rolled out to the main library at some point in the future.  The Board expressed significant interest in this work and discussed how such additional data might be incorporated into the CCM Tools if it becomes more widespread.

A report providing recommendations around the addition of preservation data to bibliographic metadata was produced by Michael Emly, previously a member of the CCM Board and provides more context for discussion in this area.

  1. National Bibliographic Knowledgebase

Neil reported that the contract between OCLC and Jisc, to develop the National Bibliographic Knowledgebase has been signed after some delays.  It was confirmed that the NBK will be an entirely separate database to WorldCat. Data will only flow to WorldCat according to criteria set by contributing libraries and Jisc have confirmed that there is no perpetual licence to that data.

The first 3 years of the project, costing just over £1 million, will be funded largely by HEFCE capital funding.  The service will be developed in 12 month blocks delivering alpha and beta phases followed by service delivery after year 3.  Years 4, 5 and 6 of the project will be a ‘business as usual’ phase with costs to be confirmed as roles and responsibilities are agreed.

Jisc will retain ownership of the NBK project as a community initiative and will be in control of governance.  The Board expressed support for this approach.  The team at Jisc (including the newly appointed NBK project manager, Bethan Ruddock) will focus on: service direction; project management; community engagement; first level support to community; quality assurance/enhancement (i.e. using Copac expertise in data deduplication and consolidation) plus development of value added services, which could include a cataloguing tool.  OCLC will be more focussed on data loading and operations, developing a strategy for pilot libraries to start loading.

  1. UKRR Update

The latest UKRR consultation forms part of work to establish a new business model which will be required when HEFCE funding ceases at the end of Phase 3.  A working group of practitioners will be looking into models including local checking of holdings via SUNCAT.

The UKRR feasibility study for monographs is underway and the consultants will produce a report around April/May.  They have been careful to liaise with Jisc to avoid covering the same ground as the National Monograph Strategy.

  1. Terms of Reference.

The Board reviews its terms of reference on an annual basis.  Some of the other Jisc governance groups in the area of Library management and data will be joined together to form a new Library Management and Bibliographic Services advisory group.  It was agreed that the work of the CMCAB is still vital in this new context and that the existing terms of reference were still valid.  Jisc are very supportive of the CMCAB and value its input as we move forward.

The next Board meeting will be on 29th June 2017.

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:



Notes from the CMCAB Meeting in November

The Jisc Collection Management Community Advisory Board (CMCAB) met on the 7th November 2016 in Manchester, and welcomed a new member, Mark Hughes, Head of Library Services at Cardiff Metropolitan University.  Details of the other members of the Board are provided in the Board report from July.

A brief summary of the meeting follows:

Updates on activity and key developments from the CCM Tools and Copac teams were provided.

CCM Tools:

  • The team are finalising details of a pilot project with the University of Sydney which will enable our Australian colleagues to use CCM Tools to investigate international collection significance. It will enable Jisc to demonstrate the value of the CCM Tools to international partners and to investigate future access models.  The pilot is likely to begin in early 2017.
  • Community events remain a priority: events in Manchester and SOAS (London) will be run before the end of the year with additional events in the pipeline for 2017.
  • Development work continues on improving functionality.


  • A Copac IdP (Identity Provider) has been set up and is currently undergoing testing. In the first instance this will allow those Copac contributors who are not members of the UK Access Management Federation to access CCM Tools.  This will be rolled out when testing is complete.
  • There have been a number of large updates and reloads of data to process recently. Update statistics are now provided on the Copac homepage.  The Board were interested to note this information and felt some more context would emphasise the volume of work involved.
  • A Copac contributor web site and dashboard have been created with the aim of streamlining workflows for both new and existing contributors. In the first instance these will be trialled as part of a project to load M25 consortium data onto Copac.
  • Some of the libraries in the M25 consortium fall outside the original scope for Copac, where the academic libraries were all members of RLUK. As we move towards the development of the National Bibliographic Knowledgebase, which will have a much broader scope, it was felt this was a good time to start expanding the range of contributors, so a new workflow is being tested with some of the M25 libraries..
  • It was suggested that it would be interesting to find out about the collection management projects undertaken by this broader spectrum of libraries, possibly via a survey or through forthcoming events.

GreenGlass projects

The University of Sheffield and the White Rose Consortium are both working with OCLC Sustainable Collection Services (SCS) using their GreenGlass product for collection analysis.  Board members outlined the data inputs and outputs involved and reported that further analysis of the outputs is underway.  There are many complexities involved in investigating and using the data and SCS have engaged in positive dialogue to investigate some anomalies identified.  The Board concluded that the project outputs were very interesting and would value colleagues reporting back on further analysis as it occurs.

Feasibility study on monographs

It was reported that this recently announced study had been initiated by the National Monograph Steering Group, which consists of representatives from UKRR, RCUK, British Library, SCONUL, RLUK and Jisc and is convened by HEFCE.  An invitation to tender invites bids from consultants to report on extending the UKRR to monographs, covering shared storage, digital surrogates, data, inter-lending, models and appetite for such an approach to monographs amongst the community.  The study has an ambitious timescale for completion by the end of April 2017.  This work is being undertaken in the context of the requirement for the UKRR to become self-funding.

Board membership

Following the appointment of Mark Hughes to the CMCAB it was agreed that Dawn Holland, Collections Manager at the University of Hull would also be invited to join from 2017.  This will improve representation from non-RLUK and SCONUL member libraries.

Community Engagement

It was agreed that making available summaries of CMCAB meetings on the CCM blog was a useful step in developing community engagement, which had been welcomed by colleagues.

It was reported that once the National Bibliographic Knowledgebase procurement was complete communication and engagement with the community will be more forthcoming.  There was some discussion about how to engage the community with wider conversations about NBK developments and other collection management initiatives. A webinar could be a valuable way to share information and to test community reactions to proposals.

It was also agreed that it could be useful to put out a pre-meeting call for input to the lis-collection-mgmt mailing list and to make more use of the list for possible surveys.  In addition information could be shared via SCONUL Focus and the RLUK mailing list.

Collection Management events

There was discussion about timing and content of potential events in 2017 hosted by the University of  Edinburgh and Bodleian Libraries, Oxford (who have offered to host a visit to their off site storage facility). We will liaise with colleagues at these institutions to progress plans and ensure that the momentum created by previous events is maintained.

Progress report: National Bibliographic Knowledgebase procurement

At the time of the meeting the preferred bidder had been selected but the constraints of the procurement process meant that the information could not be released until later in November.  The contract will be signed with the supplier in early December with activity starting in the New Year.  NBK activity will run alongside Copac initially, at least during year 1 of the process.

Jisc’s Bibliographic Data Oversight Group (BIBDOG) will likely be incorporated into a new Library Support Services Advisory Group which will come into being shortly.  A dedicated section of the agenda for this group will be devoted to steering the NBK.  The CMCAB will still be required in order to drive community developments and input to the NBK.  The Board will be reviewing its Terms of Reference at the next meeting so will examine role and purpose moving forward more closely at that time.

Please send us your comments, observations and suggestions either by commenting on this blog post or contacting any member of the CMCAB.

Diana Massam.

Manchester Event Presentations

We held another ‘Introduction to CCM Tools’ event in Manchester on 15th November. Thanks to the Library at the University of Manchester for hosting us.

We were again very fortunate to have some fascinating presentations from colleagues about their use of CCM Tools and the speakers have kindly agreed to make their slides available, or to to write them up as case studies in new year.

Artists Books Benchmarking Using CCM Tools: Jane Daniels, Cardiff Metropolitan University.

CCM Tools at the University of Hull: Dawn Holland will be contributing a case study covering her ‘user story’ in the new year.

Collection development & profiling: Andrew Paton, University of Manchester Library.

Thanks once again to our speakers and our lively participants who contributed to an engaging and enlightening session.

Notes from the CMCAB Meeting in July

As reported in a previous blog post, the CCM Tools Advisory Board broadened its scope and remit following discussions earlier this year and with this came a new name: the Jisc Collection Management Community Advisory Board.

As part of this new remit the Board would like to keep members of the community updated with news of our activity and discussions.  Thus we will be providing a brief blog post summary of our meetings which are usually held 3 times a year.  Following this we are happy to receive comments and suggestions which can be discussed at future meetings.

The first meeting of the new CMCAB took place on 15th July at the Jisc offices in Manchester.  Our new chair, Christine Wise, took the helm.  The other members of the Board are as follows:

Jo Aitkins, University of Leicester; Sandra Bracegirdle, University of Manchester; Shirley Cousins, Jisc; Ruth Elder, University of York; Neil Grindley, Jisc; Stuart Hunt, University of Bristol; Thalia Knight, Royal College of Surgeons of England; Diana Massam, Jisc; Jane Saunders, University of Leeds; Gary Ward, University of Sheffield; Christine Wise, SOAS (Chair).

Highlights of the meeting were as follows:

CCM Tools: The Board were updated on responses to the general user survey about the revised interface launched earlier this year (these were small in number but all complementary) and two successful community events held in June/July.  It was agreed that the team would run a targeted survey in the future with more publicity and would focus on running additional events over the next few months.

Service enhancements: the team collated and prioritised all those suggestions we have received over the last year or so.  For this year we are looking at defining library groups, more search/refine options including looking into format and date; search history management and re-use.

A Copac update was provided: enhancements have been made to the de-duplication processes for pre-1800 items, improving the ability to successfully match records for newly added or updated records on Copac. Direct links to individual records are now available, for example, via a list of ‘Latest Popular Search Terms’ which can be accessed by search engines.  The direct links and search engine visibility enables individual Copac records to appear in web search results: recent usage graphs show how this data exposure has generated substantial traffic to Copac.

The Copac team are working on developing a new administrative interface to help streamline data loading and updates; there are many complexities involved in dealing with data loads, which can cause difficulties and delay to schedules.

Governance: positive feedback was received following Board member Ruth Elder’s announcement of the Board’s new remit and relationship with the BIBDOG group (see May blog post).  The Board agreed to provide details of discussions to the community via this blog which would also be a channel to gather feedback.

It was reported that a new oversight group is under consideration to work with Jisc as it develops a Library Support Services portfolio, called the LSS Advisory Group.  There is an overlap in membership of all three groups and it is important that they work in conjunction with each other but retain specific remits.

Community Events: we have a volunteer to host another CM@ event so will be taking this forward with a sub group.  Likely date may be early 2017.

National Bibliographic Knowledgebase: procurement is under way and the chosen supplier partnering Jisc will be announced by the end of October.  The implementation schedule for the NBK involves data aggregation at scale beginning from November 2016 followed by development of functionality and additional data loading, with the ambitious aim of service roll out by November 2018.

Working with consortia: the potential for CM activity to dovetail with activity taking place in a number of library consortia was flagged up.  Several Board members have links with relevant consortia and will keep the Board in touch with potential projects/links which we can facilitate.

Please send us your comments, observations and suggestions either by commenting on this blog post or contacting any member of the CMCAB.

Diana Massam.

Introductory events held in July

The CCM Tools team recently ran two ‘Introduction to CCM Tools’ events: the first hosted by the University of Nottingham and the second by SOAS, University of London.  Both events were well attended and provided those new to CCM Tools with an overview of different use cases for the Tools with supporting case studies.  This was followed by some user stories from colleagues who spoke about their early experiences using the Tools in their institutions.

Our thanks go to Amy Seal, Sarah Davies, Chloe Barnes and Paul Wearing for speaking at the events: these contributions from practitioners really help to bring the value of the Tools to life for participants. The speakers have kindly agreed to make their slides available below:

Amy Seal, University of Leicester

Paul Wearing, Cardiff Metropolitan University

Chloe Barnes, University of Sussex

Sarah Davies, University of Nottingham

Following the presentations (and tea and biscuits) there was an opportunity for participants to get practical with a hands-on exercise providing an introduction to the Tools.  Unfortunately technical problems at SOAS made this difficult at the second event, but everyone took the exercise away to use back at the office.  It’s also available here for anyone to use.

Another event has been scheduled at the University of Manchester on 15th November. Bookings will be opening on the lis-collection-mgmt email list shortly.

A Community Advisory Board for Collections Management

A recent paper circulated to the email discussion list outlined new developments in the role of the former Copac Collection Management Tools Board.

As announced by Ruth Elder at the CM@ Bristol event in February 2016, the Board considered that as a group with a broader remit it could provide a valuable role to the community: to encompass facilitating the sharing of good practice and development of skills as well as representing the views of the community in the increasingly dynamic and evolving realm of collection management.  To reflect this change the Board has been re-named: Jisc Collection Management Community Advisory Board (CMCAB)

You can read the full paper here: Collection Management Advice and Oversight May 2016, which also describes the provision of strategic oversight to Jisc in the area of Bibliographic Data Services and how this links to the work of the CMCAB.

We welcome feedback and comments from the community, so please add a comment to this post, email with your thoughts or contact Diana Massam, CCM Tools project manager at

The Board will discuss this feedback and also the best mechanisms for gathering broader input into its activities at our next meeting in July 2016.


Opening up CCM Tools

At the recent Collection Management: Share the Experience event held in Bristol, (slides now available via our Community page) we announced that Copac Collection Management Tools are now open for use by any institution with Shibboleth or Open Athens authentication in place.

Previous restrictions on access to RLUK member libraries only, have been removed, and specific usernames and passwords are no longer required.

As part of these developments we have also refreshed the interface as detailed in the previous blog post.

Please give us feedback: future interface developments depend on you!

  • Please complete our survey
  • Contact direct with feedback
  • Volunteer for user testing

We are looking for volunteers to work with us to produce supported case studies, so if you are new to using the Tools, and interested in working with us please contact me.

Or add a short story to our User Stories page on this blog, it’s really easy!


Launched: revised search interface and easier access

While things have been rather quiet on the blog lately, the CCM team have been working hard in the background on two big improvements to CCM Tools.

Following extensive user testing we have refreshed and redesigned the search interface in order to make it more intuitive and to highlight the visualisation options in results. The new interface will still be at the same URL:

Key changes are:

  • Improved and more consistent navigation
  • New results screen layout: highlighting visualisations
  • Clearer batch search workflow
  • New visualisation graphs
  • More help tooltips and revised help pages

We have also revised the content on the website and blog, integrating content and presenting it more clearly (we hope!). Additional support materials will be developed in the future.

In addition to the changes outlined above, we have also set up easier access via Shibboleth authentication (single sign on). This means existing users no longer need their specific CCM usernames and passwords if their institution uses Shibboleth.

There are some aspects of the interface which are still a work in progress. However, we are keen to release it to existing users so that they can use it, test it and hopefully give us feedback before a wider launch to the academic community in the new year.

We are therefore asking all our users to please take a look at the new interface then complete our short survey.  Your feedback is really important to us.

Thanks for your help.