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]


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:

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