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.

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.


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.


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.


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:

CCM Tools: moving into service

The CCM Blog has been a little quiet recently but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy!

The CCM team, like all members of Mimas staff here in Manchester, officially became Jisc staff from 1st August 2014. While you may spot Jisc in our new email signatures, we are still working in the same way on our services and projects, with the same colleagues, so it is ‘business as usual’ for our users and collaborators.

We would like to belatedly announce that the CCM Tools project has entered a new phase of activity from September 2014. This will involve us working to develop the Tools, moving from the current pilot project status and ‘beta’ interface to a service ready resource which will become part of the Jisc portfolio of services. Our aim is to be ready to launch as a service in July 2015, with some earlier phased releases to existing users. Key areas of work over the next few months include:

  • Formal user testing of the CCM interface (currently ongoing) undertaken by user experience specialists
  • User interface enhancements reflecting recommendations from user testing work
  • Engaging with potential new user groups to investigate user requirements and use cases
  • Developing additional user support materials based on an analysis of needs
  • Technical development to support user identification and management as we scale up to service
  • Ensuring our activity dovetails with the priorities of the recently published National Monographs Strategy

We will be supported in this work by the existing CCM Board, whose members have kindly agreed to provide oversight and guidance for this phase of work. Board members will ensure we continue to engage with the community and reflect their needs as we move into service.

We are really excited by these developments. Users of the current version of the Tools have provided us with very positive feedback via our survey, at community events and on our user forum about their value in facilitating effective collection management activity.

Jisc has responded to this community support by demonstrating a commitment to the further development of the CCM Tools as a service.

We will be reporting on progress via this blog: so watch this space.

CCM Tools Community Events July 2014

Following on from last summer’s successful CCM Introductory Events, we ran two more community events in Manchester and London this July.  The purpose of the events was to give both new and more experienced CCM users an opportunity to share experience, discuss the broader national context in which the Tools operate and to engage in the ongoing development of the Tools as we move into a new phase of development.

Each event began with a series of case studies from users covering a broad range of experience from getting started to complex ongoing evaluation work.  Each of the presenters has kindly agreed to us making their slides available below:

Helen Faulds, University of St Andrews

Jane Podmore, University of Manchester

Gary Ward, University of Sheffield

Ruth Elder, University of York

Melanie Wood, University of Newcastle

Laura Macpherson, University of Edinburgh

Jennifer Prada, presenting on behalf of David Clover, Senate House Library

Following on from this, Ben Showers from Jisc spoke about the National Monographs Strategy: identifying CCM as a vital piece of the strategic jigsaw in this broader context.  The Strategy looks at developing a national approach to the lifecycle of monographs, and Ben provided an update on the background, methodology, ideas and next steps for this area of work.

A stimulating group discussion followed this, looking at the broader questions identified in Ben’s session, specifically how we can develop a ‘trust infrastructure’ to ensure that institutions can  trust the Tools and each other to work towards enabling robust national agreements and policies for monographs.

After lunch Shirley Cousins, Copac Service Manager gave an update on the new Copac database and how the enhancements will impact on CCM Tools, including a glimpse of the new Copac user interface which was warmly welcomed!

This was followed by a chance for hands-on use of the Tools, either with an CCM-intro-handson-0714 for new users or an opportunity to look into CCM-dedup-hands-on-0714 in more depth.  Delegates also contributed to a focus group, and were asked to contribute their comments, feedback and suggestions on how we can improve the CCM Tools.  We also asked for their ideas for enhanced support features which would help users to get started with using the Tools and continue to support ongoing use to enable them to become embedded in institutional workflows.  The CCM team found the content of these discussions invaluable to inform our future plans.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to and participated in the events, for engaging so positively in all the sessions.  We hope by keeping in touch with each other, delegates will become part of a supportive community of CCM Tools users as they go from strength to strength.


Copac Collection Management User Stories

Following an appeal to registered CCM Tools users at the end of last year, we have had several new short case studies or User Stories posted to our User Forum (From 2016 now available on our User Stories blog pages).  These provide a great snapshot of the kind of activity that people new to the Tools have engaged in since July last year.

What is really interesting about these new posts is that they range from small scale ‘proof of concept’ experiments  to larger projects supporting policy changes or streamlining ‘business as usual’ work flows.  So if you are new to the CCM Tools they are a great place to start to get a taste for the potential benefits they can provide your institution.


A user new to CCM at The University of Manchester undertook a small project checking 3 shelves of books in store, in order to test the potential for identifying possible items to withdraw.  The criteria used were to highlight those items held by 9 or more libraries as possible candidates for disposal.  The experiment indicated a potential for streamlining the decision process.

Another project reported at Manchester was use of the Tools to support a ‘business as usual’ annual weed of open shelves for withdrawal or transfer to store. Previously checks against Copac were made manually so the CCM Tools saved considerable staff time.

At Edinburgh University the Tools were used with reference to the SCURL collaborative retention policy to assess stock currently in an off- site store, for retention or disposal.  By enabling staff to identify unique copies in Scotland, material could be prioritised for possible transfer to the Main Library collection.


Nottingham University reported that the Tools were used to confirm that the library had a significant subject collection developed 20 years ago which had not previously been formally recognised.  Anecdotal evidence from academics about this was confirmed by CCM data.

At St. Andrews University the Tools were used to assess a significant donation to the library, confirming its value. 

The Deputy Collections Manager sums up her conclusions about the value of the Tools for collection analysis:




Warwick University has been working on developing a database of information from a variety of sources to help manage stock.  Data from their reading list system, purchase and publication dates, and usage data, has now been enhanced with information from the CCM Tools identifying the uniqueness of material.



Again at Edinburgh University CCM Tools were used to provide supporting information for a major policy change in the area of Special Collections: namely a change in transfer criteria from a publication date of pre-1850 to pre-1900.



As these short case studies show, the Copac Collection Management Tools can support decision making in a range of areas, and help users to get the data they need quickly and efficiently.  If you have a user story to tell please share it on the Forum: we would be delighted to find out more about what our users are up to.

Interested in finding out more?  Currently access to the CCM Tools and User Forum is limited to project participants and RLUK member libraries. However we are starting to plan for wider access: opening the Tools up to more libraries in the future.  We will post more information about these plans as soon as we can, please watch this space.