What is Copac?

Copac supports researchers and information professionals by enabling them to search the catalogues of c.90 libraries at once, including the UK national libraries, University libraries, and specialist libraries. A well regarded and trusted resource, Copac saves researchers time and avoids duplication of effort. Researchers and librarians use Copac as a resource discovery tool to help them find rare and unique research material and to verify bibliographic information. Copac only contains information from the library catalogues of our contributing institutions – we don’t hold any books or materials ourselves, or have access to more information about books, authors or publishers.

How do I access materials found on Copac? Or can you send me a book or journal article?

Copac is a resource discovery tool which you can use to search over 90 library catalogues at once. We don’t hold any materials ourselves. To get hold of a copy of something you wish to borrow, you can organise an inter-library loan through your local library. There may be a charge for this service but library staff should be able to advise you of these. You might also be able to arrange to visit the library to access the material, especially if it is old, rare, or fragile. Contact the holding library to enquire about access.

Can I order an interlibrary loan through Copac?

No, Copac has no materials itself and you would have to go to your local library to organise an inter-library loan. There may be a charge for this service but library staff should be able to advise you of these. It’s not currently possible to arrange inter-library loans directly through Copac.

Can you provide me with an international inter-library loan?

No, Copac has no materials itself and most international inter-library loans are organised through the British Library Document Supply Service. If the item isn’t part of the British Library Document Supply Service then you can contact the library directly to ask if it’s possible to arrange an inter-library loan. See our libraries pages for contact details.

How do I find out where books and journals etc. are held?

When you do a search on Copac, you will see a list of ‘Brief Results’. You will see the library, or list of libraries where the item is held on the right hand side of each ‘brief result’. (This information is also found in the full record).

Can I access full text materials through Copac?

Copac doesn’t provide a full text service to its users. If records have been catalogued including links to free online documents then these links will still be included.  Some institutions may have included links to susbscription-only resources. If you’re prompted for subscription details, check with your library to see if you can get access.

If you belong to a further or higher education institution (which has an OpenURL router  which is registered with EDINA) you can select the ‘Get a copy via your library’ link and if your institution’s library has paid for full text you will have access to the document.

How do I sign in to Copac and what should I use?

If you are a member of a UK further education or higher education, you can use your institutional username and password to sign in to Copac. (e.g. the login you use to access any IT services or electronic resources.)  Please contact your library if you have any problems with your institutional login.

What extra features do I get when I login?

All of your searches will be saved and time stamped in Search History. This means you can edit and re-run them. You can create online bibliographies in My References and you may have the option to search your own university catalogue alongside Copac.

Do you buy books or journals?

No, Copac has no materials itself so does not purchase any materials. We also do not advise libraries on what to purchase.

Can you provide me with a valuation of a old book?

No, as we don't hold any items ourselves, we are unable to offer advice on valuations. You could talk to your local antiquarian or second-hand bookseller or auction house for a valuation of this item.

How do I report an error on Copac?

Please contact the Copac Helpdesk, help.copac@jisc.ac.uk, and let us know. (At the moment the 'Does this record have errors?' button is not included in the Copac records, though we do plan to re-introduce the feature as soon as we are able.) Any changes to records will need to be made by the library which has contributed the record; an updated version will appear on Copac once the library has submitted the update to us.

Can I download MARC records?

Copac records do not actually contain MARC records. Copac data is actually in MODS - Metadata Object Description Schema standard. This is because our contributors have often paid for their cataloguing records and their licence agreement then does not permit then to give this MARC data away. So that Copac can still have their data it is converted to MODS before being added to our database.

If you would like the MARC data then you can access this by registering with RLUK - Research Libraries UK, which has established a Union Catalogue database, and offers a record retrieval service for bibliographic records. http://www.rluk.ac.uk/database. There is a charge for this service. We do provide z39.50 access for use with Bibliographic software. http://copac.jisc.ac.uk/developers/z39.50/

How do I import Copac records in reference management software? (e.g. Endnote/Zotero)

You can export Copac records and then import them into reference management software. At the bottom of each record you have the option to ‘Export as’ and a drop down menu to choose from. You will see that Endnote, Zotero is the default option.

Depending on your software you can also save Copac records directly into the software from your web browser, or search Copac and download records from within your reference management software.


If you use EndNote you can download the Copac Connection File for Windows. This allows you to search Copac using EndNote and import Copac records.

A problem we've come across before is that someone downloads the connection file but it ends up in the wrong directory and EndNote can't find it. Make sure the connection file is saved into the EndNote 'Connections' directory. Endnote provide detailed instructions for installing new connection files.

The Connection file also acts as a Filter file. If you search Copac using Endnote then the connection file automatically imports the records for you. However, if you search Copac using our Web interface and download records, you can also use the connection file to import these into EndNote. Choose the EndNote File menu, then the Import option. At the end of the list of import options you should see 'Use Connection File'. Choosing this gives you the normal list of connection files to choose from. You can select the Copac connection file and EndNote will use this as a filter to import your downloaded records.

If you use EndNote web, you can search Copac directly: go to 'collect', then 'online search' and choose 'Copac' from the list of sources.

You can also import records that you've downloaded from Copac.  In Copac, mark your desired records, and choose 'export records as: Endnote, Zotero'. This will download a file in .RIS format.  Within Endnote Web, choose 'collect' and 'import references', and 'Reference Manager RIS' for your import option.

If you have problems with this, contact the Copac Helpdesk (help.copac@jisc.ac.uk) and let us know.


Copac is compatible with the Zotero citation management software. Zotero is a free Firefox extension and standalone app that allows you to capture references directly from your Web browser, as well as manage and cite your research sources.

Reference Manager:

If you use Reference Manager you can use the RIS filter to import Copac records.

How many records are there on Copac, and in how many different languages?

There are over 40 million records in 452 languages from Aleut to Macedonian and Zulu.

Can I search Copac in Cyrillic or other different scripts (alphabets)?

Yes you can search Copac in Arabic, Cyrillic, Japanese or any non-roman script.