Responding to your feedback

It’s that time of year where we ask for feedback from you through the Copac Annual survey. This is your opportunity to tell us about your use of Copac – including what you like and what you don’t like – and how you want the service to develop.

In previous surveys you said:

I’d like more coverage outside HE‘: We add new libraries every year and we are currently focused on specialist collections from libraries outwith the university sector, increasing the visibility of research collections that may be less well known.

Eliminate duplicate entries‘: The number of comments about duplicate records showed this was a significant issue for many people. We have therefore made some major changes to how we handle duplicates and the level of duplication has gone down. In particular we are now deduplicating records for pre-1800 materials; something we didn’t do in the past. Records for these early materials have particular complexities and we know we have more to do here, so this is something we will continue to work on.

Not always clear if journal is electronic or print‘: There was a need for us to indicate the format of a document more clearly. So amongst the interface changes this year we’ve added a ‘flag’ to show the format of each document. This isn’t perfect – as the records aren’t perfect – but it helps clarify the displays; again this is something we will work to refine over time.

Putting in a range of dates gives me too many extraneous records‘: A date range search on Copac is not straightforward as it needs to encompasses many different materials, including periodicals published over a long time period. But our original method of dealing with date ranges wasn’t working for everyone. We have now changed this so the date range search is much more precise.

We have also made a range of less obvious changes to the interface to make it more consistent, easier to use, and work more effectively with mobile devices.

We can’t implement everything you request, there may be technical or practical issues, or simply a difference of option – ‘Include more libraries’ vs ‘don’t add any more collections’. But we try to find a balanced way through such differences and the things we can’t implement now we retain for potential future development.

Volunteering to help us

In the last survey some respondents kindly supplied their contact details, expressing interest in further testing of Copac. We have recently taken some people up on this offer and with their help we are carrying out detailed testing of the Copac interface.

In the 2013 survey there was interest in: ‘a few ‘refine your search’ options (type of resource, creator, date, language, etc.)’. So we have also been asking our volunteers how they feel about the introduction of these types of ‘search facets’ – and which ones they’d find useful. The reaction has been positive, so we’ll be looking at this further next year.

What now?

At the moment we are beginning to work on a hardware move, taking Copac into the cloud onto a new and more flexible platform. This will be a major exercise, but once it is complete we’ll be working again on the Copac interface to see how we can best respond to your development requests, whilst balancing conflicting requirements – including the wishes of those who’s view is emphatic: ‘DON’T CHANGE IT!’

We rely on your feedback to help guide how Copac develops and to inform our funders about your views of the service. So, if you’ve not already done so please fill in our annual survey using the link on the home page – and contribute to shaping Copac in the future.

2 thoughts on “Responding to your feedback

  1. When I completed the survey I should have thought of adding another DO NOT CHANGE IT. So many online facilities are ruined because someone feels it needs changing. If it works…

    • Thanks for this comment – I will note it to add to the survey feedback.
      We’re pleased to know you like the service as it is, that is good news for us. But of course we also get a lot of requests for change from people who do want new facilities etc. So the development of the service is always a balancing act between conflicting requirements. We try to ensure that change doesn’t come at the expense of too much complexity and for significant changes we trial developments with Copac users to make sure we’re going in the right direction. But given the range of people using the service, and their range of interests, we know we’ll always have work to do balancing stability and change.