At 10.00 on the morning of Wednesday 31st July 2019, the Library hub discover service will take over from its predecessor Copac and will start providing libraries and their users with the ability to do fast searches using a fresh new interface across the merged catalogues of 110 UK academic and specialist libraries.
But that’s just the start.
We have data from more than 20 additional libraries which we are in the process of loading; and 80 or so other libraries have said they are interested in sending us their data, all of which will be added to the very large aggregation that we refer to as the National Bibliographic Knowledgebase (or ‘NBK’ for short). So during the course of next year, there is a very good prospect that users will – for the first time – be able to get a clear and convenient view across the holdings of the great majority of university libraries in the UK; along with a large number of other significant collections held by national and specialist libraries.
Discover isn’t just a replacement for Copac; we are also retiring the SUNCAT service and integrating serials functionality into the new system. Since 2003, users have had to navigate two different Jisc systems to find full coverage of books and journals but now we have brought the data together and made it searchable in one easy to use service.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues at EDINA for working with us to make this service transition possible; and for their hard work and dedication over the years providing SUNCAT to the library community.
With serials data alongside monographs in the NBK, we are also able to incorporate all of that data into another service launching on July 31st, Library hub compare. This enables users to look across collections and across institutions and explore where there are overlaps and where there are strengths and weaknesses in specific subject areas. It will also provide a scarcity checking function for the UK Research Reserve (UKRR) initiative and has the potential to be the data backbone for national or regional exercises to streamline the holdings of low-use print monographs.
The third service that we are launching is Library hub cataloguing and we are working in partnership with OCLC to deliver that service. Drawing on a very substantial portion of the data held in the NBK, this service allows participating libraries to download MARC records for reuse in their local catalogues. By working carefully with representatives of the commercial library data supply chain we are ensuring that only non-commercially sensitive data is making its way into this dataset. We will continue to have discussions with suppliers to make sure that the library data ecosystem is as efficient and effective as it can be going forwards.
Current users of the RLUK Database should note that this will still be available for a few months as we ensure a smooth transition between the cataloguing services.
We’ve got big and ambitious plans over the next few years for how we can help the UK library community to take advantage of its own data. We will be working with our governance groups, library consortia, strategic partners (e.g. RLUK, SCONUL, the British Library) and representatives from the commercial data supply chain to make sure that we deliver maximum advantage to Jisc members and to other NBK participant libraries. That advantage ultimately translates into better, faster and more effective services and functionality that libraries can deliver to users engaged in teaching, learning and research.
We are very pleased (and a bit relieved to be honest!) that we have managed to get to this point. If you haven’t had a look at the new Library Hub services yet, please start by taking a look at Discover.
See what you can find and let us know what you think.