Copac User Survey 2014

“Invaluable resource.”

Many thanks to all the 1,073 people who completed the Copac user survey in November 2014. Our annual survey helps us to gain an insight into how well the Copac service is supporting your research and other activity, to identify the areas where you feel we could be doing better, as well as to gather your thoughts on new facilities that you would value.

We particularly appreciate that so many survey respondents expressed an interest in being involved in ongoing development activity. Last year some survey respondents subsequently took part in detailed testing of changes to the Copac interface. This is enormously valuable for us as the service develops – we couldn’t do it without you.

The following gives a brief summary of the survey results, with more details available for download.

Copac User survey 2014: summary

Most Copac users are from the UK (79%) and Europe (13%) with the remainder from range of different countries widely spread across the world giving researchers everywhere a picture of the wealth of research materials available in the UK.

The largest group of Copac users are from Further and Higher education (UK 62%), with the remainder coming from a range of organisations in both the public and private sector, as well as independent researchers. Most users are from the Humanities and Social Sciences, but there are users with an interest in subject areas across the board.

Many respondents are regular users of Copac, with some 74% of UK users saying they make use of the service at least once a week. For some people Copac is clearly an important support for their research and other activity. However, it is far from a static user group, with 343 people selecting the ‘first time user’ option which bypasses the survey to let them try using Copac.

The survey results show that time saving is an important feature, with most respondents (UK 92%) agreeing that Copac saves them time. The fact that the interface is seen as easy to use (UK 93%) is also likely to be part of its appeal. And we are pleased to know that that most respondents (UK 98%) would recommend the Copac service to others.

In terms of what respondents most value about Copac, many comments (50%) mentioned the range of contributors covered, along with location information, as being of particular value. This breadth of coverage also permits other activities mentioned, such as rarity checking. Many comments also mentioned the ease of use and range of facilities provided (25% of comments), whilst the data quality, the level of detail, and the reliability of the data were also mentioned as important (20% of comments).

In looking at what respondents said they would most like to change it has to be remembered the largest single group is those who have made no comment or in some cases actively prefer no change (50% of survey respondents). Where change was requested, 14% of comments mentioned specific changes or additions to the available facilities, with a further 10% of comments including requests for changes to the interface. Some 8% of comments were concerned with increasing the database coverage. Record quality and completeness was mentioned in some 5% of comments, whilst a similar 6% of comments requested improvements to record deduplication. These are areas that overlap to some degree, as the ability to deduplicate records within Copac is influenced by the quality and completeness of the data.

Next steps

In 2015 we will be moving Copac onto a new cloud platform. This will support the growth of the service as we continue to add new catalogues, something seen as important by many survey respondents.

Once the cloud move is complete we will be returning to the survey feedback to look at where we can best direct our development effort. We also plan to continue our work looking at the underlying data in terms of enhancing the record deduplication and data quality.

The full survey results can be downloaded: Copac Annual User Survey 2014 [pdf]

Feedback

We welcome feedback at any time, as well as suggestions for new catalogues to include on Copac that would be of value to the research community. You can contact us via the helpdesk at: copac@mimas.ac.uk

St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, Chapter Library

Dr Clare Rider, Archivist and Chapter Librarian, writes about the collections at the Chapter Library, St George’s Chapel.

The College of St George, comprising St George’s Chapel and surrounding buildings, occupies the lower ward of Windsor Castle.  Founded in 1348 by King Edward III as a collegiate religious institution, its purpose was to act as the spiritual counterpart of the Order of the Garter, the oldest and most prestigious order of chivalry in Britain. The library has been an integral part of the life of the College from its foundation, serving the Dean and Canons who make up the Windsor Chapter.

Grail roof boss, St George's Chapel Library

Roof boss in medieval library room

An introduction to the medieval library and a survey of the documentary sources for its study are the subject of a new St George’s Chapel monograph by Dr James Willoughby, published at the end of 2014.   Dr Willoughby describes how the first books were kept chained to desks in the Chapel. On the orders of Edward IV, who donated a number of books to the College, a separate library was built in the 1480s above the Dean’s Cloister to house the growing number of volumes. Despite the loss of seventy of its manuscript books in 1612, donated to Sir Thomas Bodley for his new library in Oxford where they continue to reside, the library’s holdings continued to expand.

Vicars’ Hall in use as Chapter Library

Vicars’ Hall in use as Chapter Library

In 1692 the books were removed to the Vicars’ Hall, where they remained for three centuries as a working library, augmented by later acquisitions until, in 1947, the newly formed Library Committee decided to convert the Chapter Library into a ‘museum–library’,  arranging for the sale of its post-1692 publications. A few eighteenth and nineteenth century volumes escaped the cull and a small number of additions have been made to the rare-book collection since then.  However, the vast majority of the library’s collection of approximately 6,000 rare-books, dates from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, forming a splendid sequence from the main English and

Illustration of a scholar at a lectern from Wynkyn de Worde’s The crafte to lyve well and to dye well (1505)

Illustration of a scholar at a lectern from Wynkyn de Worde’s The crafte to lyve well and to dye well (1505)

and European printing presses of the time. The volumes cover a wide range of subjects:  theology, ecclesiastical and political history, classics, geography, topography, navigation, bibliography, mathematics and medicine. The nine incunables in the collection include a fine edition of Caxton’s The mirrour of the world (1481), and a beautifully illustrated copy of The crafte to lyve well and to dye well printed by Wynkyn de Worde (1505).

Image of Typus Cosmographicus Universali

Typus Cosmographicus Universali by Sebastian Munster (left-side)

Amongst the most interesting of the non-theological holdings is the rich collection of sixteenth and seventeenth century topographical and navigational works and atlases including all four parts of Sir Robert Dudley’s Dell’arcano del mare (1606), a fine edition of John Speed’s The theatre of the empire of Great-Britain (1676), Mercator’s Atlas siue Cosmographicae (1606), Jan Blaeu’s Atlas maior (1662) and Moses Pitt’s The English atlas (1680-1683).  One of the earliest published world maps, Typus Cosmographicus Universali by Sebastian Munster (1488-1552), is included (in two parts) in the 1555 edition of Simon Grynaeus’ Nouus orbis regionum which also forms part of this collection. With its lively depictions of cannibals, winged serpents, elephants, and monsters, and its curious topographical interpretation of North America (labelled as the land of Cuba), it makes a fascinating study.

Image of page from volume of Papal scrutiny papers, 1676

Page from volume of Papal scrutiny papers, 1676

An intriguing eighteenth century addition to the Chapter Library was the donation by Canon Walter Harte of a bound volume entitled ‘The Scrutiny at the Conclave held at Rome in the year 1676, when Cardinal Odescalchi was chosen Pope (Innocent XI)’. The volume, which Canon Harte purchased in Italy, contains daily scrutiny papers (printed lists of cardinals with manuscript annotations recording number of votes for each on a daily basis) from the Papal Conclave held in the Vatican from 4 September to 21 September 1676, ending with an engraving of Odescalchi in his new role as Pope. The Apostolic Constitution governing papal elections requires all notes as well as ballot papers to be burnt in order to maintain secrecy. These papers, presumably smuggled out of the Vatican for the antiquarian market in Rome, offer a unique insight into an important moment in the Roman Catholic Church.

Photo of Vicars’ Hall with entrance to Undercroft

Vicars’ Hall with entrance to Undercroft

In 1999, the rare-books moved down into the Vicars’ Hall Undercroft, which had been converted into an archives and library repository with the assistance of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. The library collections are open to the public for research without charge (by prior appointment) and the Archives and Chapter Library welcomes group visits, donations from which contribute to the library conservation fund. The introduction of a successful Adopt-a-Book scheme in 1998, together with charitable grants and donations, has enabled the professional restoration of over six hundred rare-books since 1998.  We are delighted that the library’s catalogue is now included in Copac which has assisted in opening up the collection to a wider audience.

You can see the full St George’s Chapel collection here on Copac. Search within the collection to view details of individual items.

For more information about the Archives and Chapter Library, please visit our website: http://www.stgeorges-windsor.org/archives.html

Published catalogues and guides to the Chapter Library

J. Callard, A Catalogue of Printed Books (Pre-1751) in the Library of St George’s Chapel Windsor Castle Historical Monographs relating to St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle no.15 (Windsor, 1976)

J. Willoughby, The Medieval Library of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle: Documentary Sources, Historical Monographs relating to St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle no.19 (Windsor, 2014)

All images copyrigr.ht St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright holder.