Transforming Library Support services is an on-going programme of work to implement more efficient and effective library services and enabling us to continue to deliver the needs of libraries with existing and new services.

The challenge

In light of the fundamental challenges and opportunities that libraries face, and the transformations that are taking place, we’re looking again at the library support services we provide to make sure these remain valuable for our members.

And as we develop our library support services, we know we can do more to make them easier to use, to ensure they integrate more smoothly with other library systems and to enable users to get the most out of them.


In 2015, to address these issues, we commissioned a review of our library support services, conducted for us by education and digital technology consultancy Sero HE and research consultancy Ithaka S+R. The review included an extensive consultation process agreed with RLUK and SCONUL. It involved a library systems survey attracting 80 institutional responses followed by five themed workshops attended by 100 practitioners from a wide range of academic libraries. The review also explored the competitive landscape in which Jisc’s services were operating.

Based on this wide-ranging research the report found that strategic stakeholders and customers strongly endorse the role of Jisc in supporting the work of university libraries and it went on to make a number of recommendations both for the future development of the services and for ways in which Jisc could add value to the sector more generally. These have been endorsed by RLUK and SCONUL.

Programme of activities

Following the recommendations, we are taking a number of activities forward for immediate action during 2016-17.

  • Developing a National Bibliographic Knowledgebase (NBK)
  • Orchestrating the data used by each of the library support services, standardising data sources between services and eliminating unnecessary duplication of effort
  • Understanding how Jisc’s library support services support librarians’ activities – for example, from acquisition and licensing through to usage gathering and perpetual access. The outcome will be to present Jisc’s services to librarians in a clear and consistent way through improvements to service interfaces
  • Consolidation of maintenance systems/web and more effective use of cloud infrastructure. API development will support and deliver on the data orchestration activity


Throughout this transformation activity, we will be engaging with library professionals to gain their insight and feedback. We will create an advisory board and we’ll be actively seeking ongoing dialogue with individual institutions as well as with RLUK, SCONUL and UKSG.

Further information

You can read a summary of the review report Jisc library support services: enhancing efficiency and effectiveness, which includes a number of appendices and Jisc’s response.

Visit our Project page or for service information see Library Support Services section. Alternately, contact Programme Manager Siobhán Burke.

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