Copac user survey: January 2012
ththWe carried out the Copac Annual User Survey between 9 Jan-6 Feb 2012. Anyone
going to the Copac Home page was prompted with the option to fill in the survey, with cookies being used to prevent people repeatedly being presented with the survey. We received 1603 responses.
Overview of results
“It is invaluable. to find out full details of books. to find out where they are
held. to know if a book is rare. to know if a book exists at all. I could not
manage without it now“ UK HE Information professional
Who uses Copac?
The Copac service is focussed on supporting the UK academic community and from the survey results we can see 76% of respondents are UK based or affiliated with a UK institution, whilst 65% of users are based within the Higher Education sector, with much smaller numbers of users from other groups such as Further Education, as well retired but still research active academics.
Copac is widely used across the academic spectrum, with 52% of UK respondents being part of the academic community. Our other main group of users is Information professionals (31%), as well as being popular amongst booksellers (5%). In terms of subject background, it is perhaps unsurprising that many UK users are within the Humanities (37%) and Social Sciences (18%). However a wide spread of subjects represented, for example 8% of UK use comes from within the Biological & Medical Sciences. Many respondents selected more than one subject area. How often is it used?
Given the nature of the survey snapshot it would be expected that regular users might be more likely to see and respond to the survey, however, it is still interesting to see just how frequent that usage is, with 68% of UK respondents using Copac at least weekly. Another 21% of UK respondents use Copac at least once a month. By contrast 5% of UK respondents were first time users, indicating that the service is still attracting a new audience.
Is it valued?
Copac users are extremely positive about the service overall, with 97% of UK respondents saying they would recommend Copac to others. Of UK respondents 91% agreed that using Copac saved them time and it was seen as easy to use by 90% of UK respondents. In the ongoing work to develop a new version of the Copac interface we are trying to ensure we build on this surface simplicity, whilst updating the appearance and facilities.
Copac User survey. Jan 2012 1
Feedback: what you like
Many respondents mentioned more than one issue so the numbers represent comments rather than users.
Overall the most valued feature of Copac (mentioned in 53% of comments), was a combination of the data coverage and the associated information about the location of materials and their availability. The interface was mentioned in 24% of comments, in particular ease of use, but also the facilities. And the quality, reliability, and completeness of the data, was mentioned in 16% of comments.
The support we provide for small organisations in contributing their catalogue is helping to broaden the range of materials and locations available and this is clearly appreciated “[…] I am indebted to Copac for helping me locate some rare materials in quite unexpected locations.” UK FE Postgraduate student.
Feedback: what you want to change
Many respondents mentioned more than one issue so the numbers generally represent comments rather than users.
Over a quarter of users (27%) were happy with current service and had no suggestions for change. Some people were concerned about this “[…] Don't change
for change's sake! […]“ (UK Professional society); whilst others had no particular requirements but acknowledged that some past changes had been valuable “[…] the
addition of cover images was very helpful” (UK FE).
We need to ensure that as the service develops we find a balance that allows Copac to continue to evolve. We need to continue to provide the best possible service to our long-standing users who value stability, as well as those who have changing expectations of both presentation and facilities.
The largest category of change requests related to diverse wishes for enhancements or additions to the interface facilities (mentioned in 32% of comments). These are very helpful in the current activity of developing a new Copac interface; some of the requests will be supported when the new interface is released, whilst others will feed into longer-term developments.
Next was a desire for improved deduplication (mentioned in 18% of comments). We‟re all too aware of the limitations of the deduplication on the current database and as we continue to develop a new Copac database we are ensuring that record duplication will drop significantly. However cataloguing variations mean it will never be perfect and we do need to ensure that we minimise incorrect deduplication, conscious of the requirements of those users who appear to be unhappy that we deduplicate at all.
Other areas of interest include increased library coverage (7%), interface enhancements (6%), and a desire for improvements to record quality and content (6%), but with an awareness that this might not be easy to achieve “Subject headings
for all items - but I do realize this depends on the individual libraries!” (UK HE)
In the short term, we will review all the feedback and use this to support the development work currently underway, as well as helping us prioritise the next steps in the development of Copac. We very much appreciate the interest expressed by Copac User survey. Jan 2012 2
those who supplied contact details and we will be getting in touch with some users in the future, to comment on various aspects of the ongoing development work. Over the longer term the survey is a valuable snapshot of user views and changing requirements. It gives us a sense of who is using Copac, so we understand where they are coming from in terms of their use of the service, as well an indication of what our users think of the service – giving us something to live up to. It also supplies
valuable information about changing expectations and requirements to support the ongoing evolution of the Copac service.
Copac is clearly valued by its users. We are continuing to work to ensure that we maintain the high opinion our users express and will be following up the feedback to ensure we continue to grow and change in ways that support the research community.
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Survey Result Summary
There were a total of 1603 usable surveys completed. Percentages are rounded to nearest whole no.
Q1. Where do you study/work?
“It is a comprehensive database, ideally tailored for the academic
researcher/teacher; and the user interface is superb.” [North America HE
Most Copac users are from the UK, with 76% of respondents being either UK based or affiliated with a UK institution. However Copac offers a service appreciated by users across the world, so there is also considerable use from within Europe, comprising 13% of users. The largest group within the „Other location‟ category‟ was Australia at 2% of total users.
User location Number (No.) Percentage (%)
UK 76% 1216
Europe 210 13%
North America 62 4%
Other 115 7%
Total 1603 100%
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Q2. In which sector do you work?
“Two large parts of my work are delivering inter-library loans and
bibliographic work. Copac makes light work of this with so many collections in
one place. The search function is quick and easy to use and I often recommend
it to library users doing their own research.” [UK Government Information
Copac has a diverse user group but the focus is on the academic community with the majority of our users (65%) based within the Higher Education sector, with much smaller numbers of users from other groups such as Further Education. The second biggest category of users is the catchall „Other‟ (28%), which includes people from a
wide range of backgrounds. The largest group are independent researchers including retired academics who are still research active, as well as freelance workers and the general public. After this come booksellers and other libraries such as public libraries and museum libraries.
Sector UK users UK users All users: All users:
only: No. only: % No. %
Higher Education 771 63% 1024 64%
Further Education 27 2% 39 2%
Other Education 13 1% 24 1%
Government 49 4% 69 4%
Health 20 2% 25 2%
Other 336 28% 422 26%
Total 1216 100% 1603 99%
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Q3. In which role are you using Copac?
“The ability to get complete bibliographical information when editing volumes
of collected essays and contributors have not complied with the formatting
specified is crucial. For my own research, the ability to find out which libraries
have a book or journal I need so I can either go there to access the material or
order it through interlibrary loan.” UK HE Lecturer
Copac is widely used across the academic spectrum, with 52% of UK respondents being involved in academic work as students, researchers or lecturing staff. Our other main group of users is Information professionals (31%). Copac is also popular with booksellers (5%), often antiquarian booksellers.
Role UK users UK users All users: All users:
only No. only % No. %
Undergraduate student 35 3% 58 4
Postgraduate student 249 20% 287 18
Lecturer 111 9% 141 9
Academic researcher 245 20% 355 22
Information professional 375 31% 498 31
Bookseller 65 5% 80 5
Other 136 11% 184 11
Total 1216 99% 1603 100
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Q4. Please indicate your subject area: (select all that apply)
“I use it for my research on the history of German as an academic subject in
the 19th cent. Copac has been the single most valuable source for my
bibliographic work. It allows me to find rare textbooks and assess their
popularity and distribution in UK libraries. It is a superb tool and easier to use
and more reliable than comparable search engines in Germany or the US. I
very much hope that the service continues, it is outstanding on an
international level.” [UK HE Lecturer]
Many respondents selected more than one subject, including „other‟, so the
percentages represent the percentage of subjects selected rather than the percentage of users.
The largest number of UK use is within the Humanities (37%) and Social Sciences (18%). However there is a wide spread of subjects with users from all fields, eg. 8% of UK use came from within the Biological & Medical Sciences.
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Academic subject summary
Subject UK users UK users All users: All users:
only: No. only: % No. % Biological sciences; Medicine
including dentistry; Nursing, midwifery 265 8% 328 7% and allied health; Veterinary medicine
Physical sciences; Mathematics and 213 6% 282 6% computer science; Engineering
Law; Business and management
studies; Communication and media 356 11% 470 11% studies; Political studies
Social sciences; Psychology;
Education and research methods; 609 18% 848 19% Library & Archive studies; Architecture
Humanities: Modern languages and
area studies; English literature; 1247 37% 1606 36% Philosophy and Theology; History;
145 4% 185 4% Creative and performing arts;
Geography and environment; 164 5% 213 5% Agriculture, food, and forestry
227 7% 289 7% Predominantly interdisciplinary
155 5% 189 4% Other
3381 101% 4410 99% Total
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Q5. On average, how often do you use Copac?
“The ease of being able to find information. I am using this as a cataloguing
tool, without it my work would be impossible!” [UK Non-HE library
Many people are very frequent users, with 68% of UK respondents using Copac at least weekly. Another 21% of respondents use Copac at least once a month. By contrast some 5% of respondents were first time users, indicating that the service is still attracting a new audience. Currently discourage responses from first time users as we are aware that much of the questionnaire is not really relevant to this group; for next year we‟re looking at a better way of recording their presence without making them go through the whole questionnaire.
Frequency of use UK users UK users All results: All results:
only: No. only: % No. %
Several times a week 611 50% 770 48%
Once a week 221 18% 289 18%
Once or twice a month 257 21% 340 21%
Less often 72 6% 107 7%
This is my first use of Copac 55 5% 97 6%
Total 1216 100% 1603 100%
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6. How do you find using Copac?
“very user-friendly, reliable, and efficient. great resource. i couldn't do my
research without it.” [UK HE Academic researcher]
In general Copac is seen as very user friendly, with 90% of UK respondents finding
Copac easy to use. „Ease of use‟ was also mentioned frequently in feedback
received for Q9 regarding what people most liked about the service.
Easy to use UK only: UK only: All results: All
No. % No. results: %
Strongly agree 595 49% 766 48%
Agree 500 41% 660 41%
Neither agree or disagree 111 9% 162 10%
Disagree 8 1% 12 1%
Strongly disagree 2 0% 3 0%
Total 1216 100% 1603 100
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