Free database comparison tool aims to make it easier for university librarians to make informed decisions when subscribing to online resources

JISC Collections in partnership with DataSalon Ltd have launched a free online database comparison tool today, which aims to help libraries make informed decisions about future subscriptions to online resources – the Academic Database Assessment Tool.

With so many products offering a huge diversity and wealth of information, it can be difficult for librarians to know what resources they should be investing in. The Academic Database Assessment Tool provides access to detailed information and title lists for major bibliographic and full text databases. It also delivers key service information for database and eBook content platforms. This enables librarians to quickly compare and contrast key items to assist in the purchase decision process. These include: a list of titles included in each database; search features available; linking methods e.g. full text linking; metadata standards and methods of access provided to these resources e.g. IP access, Athens or Shibboleth.

Prompted by the strong support from university librarians in the UK, a prototype version of this tool was launched at the end of 2006. Sponsorship from IBSS, Thomson Scientific, Elsevier, ProQuest means that this tool has been further developed from the beta stage of its development and continues to remain freely available.

As the information for this tool has been provided directly by the relevant content suppliers and publishers, librarians will have the opportunity to access the latest information on the resources they already subscribe to. Librarians can subscribe to the email altering service notifying them when suppliers update their listings.

Liam Earney, Collections Team Manager at JISC Collections, welcomed the launch of the Academic Database Assessment Tool: “This is a highly impressive tool which is part of our ongoing commitment to providing librarians with the right information to enable them to make informed decisions. JISC Collections is delighted to have worked closely with DataSalon Ltd and the librarians who kindly assisted in the beta testing of the Academic Database Assessment Tool, to produce such a fascinating resource. The next stage is to get more databases and platforms involved.”

Nick Andrews, Managing Director of DataSalon Ltd said: "We are extremely pleased to have developed the Academic Database Assessment Tool on behalf of JISC Collections. Using our core data integration and reporting platform, we have been able to provide a flexible, easy to use system which we hope will be of great help to libraries and other users."

Adrian Smith, Faculty Team Librarian at Leeds University Library and member of the JIBS User Group Committe commenting on the launch of this tool said: "The Academic Database Assessment Tool will be an extremely useful tool, which should be a great aid to the library community. The system allows us to compare databases - identifying titles and areas of overlap and unique content. Downloadable (to Excel) title lists with print ISSNs are also a valuable feature of the database comparison tool."

The Academic Database Assessment Tool can be found at

For more information please contact:

Notes for Editors:
1. JISC Collections was established as a mutual trading company by the UK further and higher education funding councils in 2006 to negotiate with publishers of online information and other owners of digital content. The range of resources licensed for use by such agreements constitutes a large national collection of online resources for education and research. JISC Collections is funded by JISC. For further information, please go to
2. DataSalon Ltd, who developed the Academic Database Assessment Tool on behalf of JISC Collections, is based in Oxford, UK and specialises in the fields of data integration, data analysis and online content. The company was founded in order to provide practical and innovative data solutions which are significantly faster, cheaper, and more flexible than those traditionally in use. DataSalon has major clients in the publishing, charity and academic sectors. For more information see DataSalon's logo may be provided on request.

Published on: 12:00AM on 21st November 2007