Library Hub FAQ

Library Hub Discover FAQ

What is Library Hub Discover?

Library Hub Discover enables you to search the merged catalogues of UK national, university and specialist libraries; it is is an expansion and development of the previous Copac and SUNCAT services. Whilst aimed at the UK academic and research community, and information professionals, Library Hub Discover welcomes use from anyone who may find it of value. Library Hub Discover provides a more complete view of the UK distributed academic and research library collection than has previously been available. You can use Library Hub Discover as a resource discovery tool to help you find rare and unique research material, to verify bibliographic information and to compare library collections.

How does the Library Hub Discover service relate to the Jisc National Bibiliographic Knowledgebase (NBK) project?

The National Bibliographic Knowledgebase (NBK) is the name for the aggregation of data being used to provide the Library Hub Discover, Compare, and Cataloguing services. This large data pool allows us to manage the flow of different subsets of data into each service and will support new service development in future.

What has happened to Copac and SUNCAT?

The Copac and SUNCAT services have been superseded by the Library Hub Discover service. The new service offers access to a wider range of library catalogues, with more being added on a regular basis, whilst the flexible search interface will continue to be developed with input from those using the service, to ensure it supports diverse requirements. We are aiming to include all Copac and SUNCAT contributors in the new Library Hub Discover service, but that depends on the interest and agreement of the library.

Can my library become a contributor to the Library Hub Discover service?

We are hoping that all UK University Libraries will wish to be involved in the Discover service, as well as the related Compare, and Cataloguing services that have been developed out of the Jisc NBK project. You will find information about the NBK and Library Hub development on the Library Hub blog. We will also be continuing to add new specialist research library catalogues of value to the UK academic research community.

If your library is not already contributing to the NBK database and you want more information about what is involved, please contact us at

Will materials appear in search engine results?

Yes. Data supplied for inclusion in Library Hub Discover will be visible for harvesting by search engines and we will be looking at ways of enhancing this process in future.

Will there be more search and result management options?

Yes. The Discover interface forms the foundation and we will be building on this to add new facilities, including options to filter search results. The interface feedback that we get will help with ongoing development of the interface.

How many libraries will be contributing to the Discover service?

The aim is to include all UK University libraries that would like to participate, as well as increasing the number of specialist research libraries included. So the Discover service will offer a more complete view of the UK distributed academic and research library collection than was the case in either of the preceding services, Copac and SUNCAT.

Can I use a mobile device to access the Discover service?

The Discover service will work with mobile devices, but we are aware that the experience needs improvement and we will be working on this in the next stage of interface development.

How do I access materials found on Library Hub Discover?

Library Hub Discover does not hold any of the material listed in the database. All records come from the catalogues of the contributing libraries themselves. To access materials, you may be able to visit the holding library, talk to them about providing you with a copy, or organise an inter-library loan through your local library. You should contact either the holding library or your local library to find out about these options.

How do I find out where materials are held?

In the search results screen you will see a list of holding libraries next to each item, each holding library will have one or more copies of the item in physical or electronic form. Holdings libraries are also listed in the full record display.

If you select the name of a holding library you will see the Holdings display for that library, which shows all the available location information and any library specific notes about the document. For many university libraries we can display live circulation data, so you can see whether a document is on loan. If we're not able to do this there will be a note in the display to say live circulation data is not available, in which case we display the holdings data the library has sent us with their record for that document.

Can I access full text materials through Library Hub Discover?

Library Hub Discover doesn’t provide a full text service. If a library has included a link to a full-text document this will be shown in the record display. Some links will be to freely available materials but others will be for subscription-only resources. If you’re prompted for subscription details after trying to link to a document online, check with your own library to see if you can get access.

Can I download records from Library Hub Discover?

Yes, there are a range of download formats, including those for use in reference management software. Records cannot be downloaded from Discover in MARC format because of licensing conditions associated with many records. Libraries wishing to download MARC records should use the Cataloguing service.

Library Hub Cataloguing FAQ

Who can access the Library Hub Cataloguing service?

The Library Hub Cataloguing service is available to current Library Hub contributors and Jisc members.

What cataloguing interfaces are available?

The Library Hub Cataloguing service is available through a web interface and Z39.50 connection, both of which require authentication.

The web interface can be accessed here:

Access details for the Z39.50 interface are:
Port: 210
Target name: NBKPSI

What access control mechanism is being used?

Access is by username and password, available to current Library Hub contributors and Jisc members. To request access, please contact us at

What data is available in the Cataloguing service?

A full list of all institutions whose data is included in the service may be found on the advanced search page, in the ‘institution’ drop-down. More libraries will be regularly added to the service.

Please note that due to licensing and other data reuse restrictions, an institution’s whole catalogue may not be represented on the Cataloguing service. Full catalogues can be found, in non-MARC format, on the Library Hub Discover service.

What Z39.50 search attributes can be used?

Supported Bib-1 Use Attribute values:

  • 4 Title keyword)
  • 6 Uniform title keyword
  • 7 ISBN
  • 8 ISSN
  • 12 Local number (ppn)
  • 21 Subject heading
  • 31 Date of publication*
  • 54 Language
  • 56 Library code eg. oxf; eg. UkOxU
  • 59 Place of publication
  • 1003 Name
  • 1004 Personal name
  • 1007 ISBN/ISSN
  • 1009 Subject - Personal name
  • 1016 Keyword
  • 1018 Publisher
  • 2519 Corporate/Conference
  • 5101 Corporate/conference - Subject
  • 6145 ISSN-L

* Note: the Date Use attribute 31 (year) can only be used in conjunction with another index. The use attribute must be added to an index search with the Boolean AND in order to receive search results.

Supported Bib-1 Relation Attribute values: 3 Equal (default);
in the case of Use attribute 1=31, additionally supports: 1 Less than, 2 Less than or equal, 4 greater than or equal, 5 greater than
Supported Bib-1 Position Attribute values: 3 Any position in field
Supported Bib-1 Structure Attribute values: 1 Phrase, 2 Word;
in the case of Use attribute 1=31, additionally supports: 4 Year
Supported Bib-1 Truncation Attribute values: 1 Right Truncation, 100 Do not truncate (default)
Supported Bib-1 Completeness Attribute values: 1 Incomplete subfield


If an unsupported attribute of any kind is included the query is rejected.

If the Relation, Position, Structure, Truncation, or Completeness attribute are omitted a default will be applied.

If an inappropriate combination of attributes are included the query is rejected.

See the Library of Congress web site for full details of the Bib-1 attribute set

What deduplication and best record selection processes are used?

The data processing procedures will be documented on the Contributor web site in future. And we will be consulting on all aspects of the record deduplication and creation process so the cataloguing service can be developed to support community requirements.