R & D project

Transforming our library support services

Developing a more effective, efficient and cohesive set of library services.


This project was archived on

This work has seen the development of licence subscriptions manager and our library hub services (discover, compare and cataloguing), which offer significantly-expanded scope and coverage in a more streamlined and efficient bibliographic database.

4 years and 5 months


Expected outcome:

Service development

Through consultation with Research Libraries UK (RLUK), the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) and libraries, we will enhance and integrate existing services such as the Journal Usage Statistics Portal (JUSP) and Knowledge Base+.

What we are doing

A review of our library support services was undertaken by Sero HE and Ithaka S+R in 2015. As part of this process we consulted with individual academic libraries along with both RLUK and SCONUL. The review outlined a number of recommendations which you can read in a summary: Jisc library support services: enhancing efficiency and effectiveness (pdf), including a number of appendices and Jisc’s response.

These recommendations form the basis of a programme of work, of which the main activities are:

  • Developing a a national bibliographic knowledgebase (NBK)
  • Orchestrating the data used by each of the library support services, standardising data sources between services and eliminating unnecessary duplication of effort
  • Working on a more detailed understanding of how our library support services support librarians’ activities - for example, from acquisition and licensing through to usage gathering and perpetual access. This will enable us to present Jisc services to librarians in a clear, consistent way through improvements to service interfaces
  • Consolidating maintenance systems/web and making more effective use of cloud infrastructure. API development will support and deliver on the data orchestration activity

We will take an iterative approach to developments, both enhancing and integrating existing services and taking the initiative with new opportunities and challenges for the library sector.

Progress so far

As of 31 July 2019, we now offer three new library hub services - discover, compare and cataloguing, which are built on the NBK project work and are underpinned by its database.

Our new library hub services are accessible to even more Jisc members and specialist libraries, offering significantly expanded scope and coverage in a more streamlined and efficient single bibliographic database.

On 30 September 2019 we launched our licence subscriptions manager service. Using this service, you can search, subscribe and manage all your subscriptions to Jisc-negotiated digital content and other selected Jisc services.

Why this matters

Our core library support services (eg JUSP) are long-established and widely used. They were conceived and designed to support particular library needs and as a result they are fragmented, generally operate independently and duplicate effort. Also our services are not presented coherently to libraries making it difficult for them to optimise usage.

We’re working on new services where the benefits will extend beyond the walls and systems of libraries into associated areas such as research data management and administration. Introducing more efficient services will allow us to enhance existing services as well as continue to develop new services as part of a clearer, more holistic library offer.

How this will help you

By making our services easier to use and ensuring they integrate more smoothly with other library systems, we will enable users to get the most out of them.

By consolidating our library offer, it will be clear how our services can support the work of librarians and enable us to be more responsive and support our members in a UK context.

Who we are working with

We will work with both RLUK and SCONUL, as well as individual libraries.

Our project partners

  • Research Libraries UK logo.
  • SCONUL logo.