SCIS Asks 2013: The future of vocabularies

Education Services Australia manages multiple vocabularies including SCIS Subject Headings List and ScOT. At the SCIS consultation SCIS Asks, Ben Chadwick, ESA Metadata analyst outlined how vocabularies assist search.

     Australian Education Vocabularies >      Schools Online Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT)


Australian Education Vocabularies >
Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT)

  • Search expansion and faceting
  • Navigation and browsing
  • Collections Redirects (“See”)
  • Related topics (“See also”)
  • Mapping between repositories

ScOT as Linked Open Data

Ben outlined how ScOT  is published as open linked data and can be linked to other unique identifiers, inside and outside the vocabulary. It is available for consumption on the open web and is expressed in a standard, machine-readable format (RDF).

ScOT linking curriculum to resources

To date ScOT has been used to tag  20,000 resources  in Scootle  and 350,000 resources  in SCIS MARC records.  The Softlink survey 2013 showed that schools want curriculum alignment.  Aligning existing resources to the Australian Curriculum is one of three top priorities of school library staff. Future decisions  for SCIS around curriculum alignment  include

  • dealing with pre-2006 records without ScOT terms,
  • non-subject vocabularies,
  • increased records for digital resources,
  • retrospective updates of schools’ SCIS records
  • viability of Linked Open Data authorities as a new model for authority files.

Discussion points

Many have indicated that they would love to be able to search by curriculum in order to find related resources and that this would be a huge time saver. Suggestions included looking at the 658 MARC field to introduce a curriculum element.

It was noted that there was demand for automated  updating of bibliographic records. This would require a new process to ensure that library management systems can handle requests.   It was agreed that the ability to refresh bibliographic and authority records is an important one and further discussion is needed about whether models of linked data could address this problem.

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