SUNCAT

Serials Holdings Comparison Service

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Introduction

The Serials Holdings Comparison service enables libraries to compare serials holdings across over 100 UK libraries. The service is freely available to all UK libraries.

  • A library can use the service to discover information at a national level, e.g.
    • Serials which are quite rare or unique, i.e. have very limited UK holdings.
    • Serials which are held by a large number of libraries.
    • Serials which are marked for UKRR retention.
  • A library can also choose to compare holdings at a more local level, by limiting their comparison to a particular geographic region or a particular list of libraries.
  • A library can choose to compare holdings with particular institutions, e.g. those with similar subject strengths or that are comparable in some other way.

Graph View shows the number of holding libraries for each ISSN differentiated by format
Graph View shows the number of holding libraries for each ISSN differentiated by format

Benefits

This information can help libraries make decisions about whether to:

  • Keep older print serials or move them into secure storage, e.g. if quite rare.
  • Deselection of lower use print serials if commonly held.
  • Work in collaboration with other libraries to ensure serials accessible for all their users in at least one library.
  • Cancel or renew current subscriptions depending on whether users will have alternative access locally or via ILL.

How it Works

Any UK library can submit a file of ISSNs and receive information about the level of holdings of the equivalent serial titles across the UK. The service works by using an automatic script to conduct a search on SUNCAT on each ISSN in the file. Results show the number of holding libraries for each ISSN, plus the holdings for each library differentiated by whether they reflect print holdings or electronic access. The detailed holdings statements are also displayed for each library.

A number of different outputs are available, from a graphical overview of the number of holding libraries for each ISSN submitted, to a more detailed list view and a CSV file which enables more in depth comparison and analysis by ISSN.

List View displays the number of holdings per library differentiated by format plus detailed holdings information
List View displays the number of holdings per library differentiated by format plus detailed holdings information

The service is freely available to all UK libraries – just login via My SUNCAT. A getting started guide is available and help can be found at the footer of all the pages.

Background

The service is based on one which SUNCAT provides to the UK Research Reserve (UKRR) to assist with the automatic scarcity checking of titles submitted by their members. In order to open up the benefits of being able to compare serials holdings to the wider library community the UK Serials Holdings Comparison service has been created.

Notes about Using the Service

When using this service it is important to be aware that the results are reliant on the data provided by the libraries to SUNCAT. The data on SUNCAT is only as accurate as the data provided by each library and while every effort is made to keep the information on SUNCAT as current as possible some libraries will not have provided update information as recently as others. Please see our updates page for our Contributing Libraries update frequency and the date of their last update.

Please also be aware that the comparison will only return records which are returned with an ISSN search on SUNCAT. There may be records and therefore holdings for a serial which are not included in the results, e.g. if the record for a serial did not contain an ISSN it might not be included. Also, occasionally an ISSN search will return records and therefore holdings for an incorrect title. We include the list of titles associated with each ISSN on SUNCAT so that any anomalies can be easily identified.

It is advisable that you verify any information from SUNCAT before relying on it. EDINA accepts no responsibility for the consequences of error or for any loss or damage suffered by users of any of the information and material contained in SUNCAT or any site you may access through the service.

If you are aware of any errors within SUNCAT, please contact the SUNCAT team at suncat@ed.ac.uk.