Strategic review of SCIS

In June 2010 we invited SCIS subscribers to respond to a user survey, as part of a strategic review of SCIS. This review is being undertaken by library consulting company Libraries Alive! The review is to develop strategies to ensure that SCIS continues to meet the needs of its users into the future.

Strategic planning helps future direction
Strategic planning helps future direction

We were delighted to receive more than 1300 responses, which is a high response rate for a survey. Thank you to all the schools who took time to provide us with their views. Your comments clearly show that time savings are fundamental to the appeal of SCIS.

The consultants have delivered a draft report which notes the many benefits our customers experience using SCISWeb. These include school-ready subject headings, consistent quality records, effective support and use of the database to identify materials for purchase or classroom use. More information about the outcomes of the review will be provided here in our blog when the final report is available.

Connections 74 hits the streets and online!

Courtesy of  flickrCC:

The current issue of Connections has a bumper crop of original articles! 

If you want to share information of relevance and importance to school libraries, please contact the Connections Editor.

Image courtesy of flickrCC.


See and See Also what we have!

Visual representation of references
Visual representation of references

SCIS Authority Files (SCIS AF) have been updated with Edition 2 2010.

Once logged into SCISWeb at the Authority Files tab is available to open the SCIS AF page, if you have a current subscription. Several Education Departments (NSW, WA and SA) support their schools with access to SCIS AF.

SCIS AF are separate index files of authorised names and subjects used as access points in SCIS catalogue records, and are released twice a year as downloadable files ready for implementation in your library management system.

All SCIS catalogue records downloaded from SCISWeb contain authorised SCIS Subject Headings but no cross-references to other related terms to support user searching in the local OPAC. See and See also references between related terms are important for assisting the user to find resources on similar subjects.

Book Week 2010

What is the longest running children’s festival in Australia?

Who is the national patron of the Children’s Book Council of Australia?

What is the theme of this year’s Book Week?

Where can you find the Short List and Notables List for the categories for Children’s Book of the Year?

Questions that any library would be happy to answer! Find the answers to these questions and more information from CBCA’s Book Week. The pages contain great ideas for celebrating Book Week in school libraries. There are also links to other sites which have created resources for promoting Book Week, which is celebrated from 21 to 27 August 2010.

Book Week helps encourage Australian book creation. Our children should have access to Australian literature as part of their reading development. Who do you think will win in the five categories? This year’s Children’s Book of the Year is announced on Friday 20 August 2010. We will have to wait for the big announcements which are usually reported in the major newspapers the next day.

School library inquiry

On 12 July 2010 Education Services Australia (ESA) was represented at the Adelaide hearing of the Parliamentary Inquiry into school libraries and teacher librarians in Australian schools. Also appearing were representatives of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), the School Library Association of South Australia (SLASA), the Joint Use Libraries Association of Australia, the Children’s Book Council of Australia, Public Libraries South Australia, Friends of Libraries Australia and the University of South Australia (UniSA).

Thanks to the Parliament of Australia’s live broadcasting program we were able to listen to the hearing from Melbourne, posting some of the significant issues from the hearing to twitter! ESA’s position is that national collaborative services such as SCIS and edna provide essential tools for teacher librarians in delivering services to their users. Our key recommendation is for an adequate distribution of funding for the ongoing development of school library staff in both specific library-related professional development and as a key element of whole school development.

ALIA and UniSA both argued for a need to expand tertiary education options for teacher librarians and to educate teachers in information literacy skills. The Friends of Libraries Australia emphasised that the relationship and connection between school and public libraries needs to occur more systematically and can’t work without teacher librarians.

An article in AdelaideNow highlights the popularity of libraries in South Australia and briefly reports on the concerns about teacher librarian shortages and funding which were raised at the hearing.

Top 100 Australian books

As a result of the Educational Lending Right (ELR) 2009-10 School Library Survey, a list has been compiled of the top 100 Australian books.

Again Mem Fox tops the list with Possum magic, as she has every year we have published the top 100 list. Mem has a total of 7 titles in the list. The author with the most titles is Emily Rodda with 20 titles, followed by Paul Jennings with 14 titles. Morris Gleitzman comes in third with 9 titles in the list.

The top 100 Australian books list could be useful for promoting Australian books and reading. It is available on the SCIS ELR web page as a word document so you can adapt it for your use.

SCISWeb enhancements

We are delighted to let you know about some recent enhancements to SCISWeb.

  1. Book cover images are now supplied by a daily online process rather than in monthly batches. This enhancement makes it more likely that you will get matching cover images for recently catalogued items when an order is first placed.
  2. Some SCIS subscribers like to print out the results of their orders and we had requests for the print format to be improved from Internet Explorer. An enhancement has been made so the print output is now in a clear readable font.
  3. Another change is to the link colours. These are now consistent with link colours on the SCIS public web pages. This enhancement will be particularly useful in keeping track of activity on the create orders page, as links that you have followed will be a different colour and the fonts are easier to read.

Many enhancements have been made as a result of our subscribers suggestions. Using Contact SCIS  from any SCIS web page provides an opportunity for you to let us know if there is a change you would like to see, or you can add your comments to this blog.

SCIS Information Services Standards Committee (ISSC)

Ever wondered how changes to the SCIS Standards for Cataloguing and Data Entry or SCIS Subject Headings are decided on? Both are the responsibility of the SCIS Information Services Standards Committee (ISSC), which is comprised of representatives from Education Services Australia, members of our agencies in the education departments of Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales, and representatives from the National Library of New Zealand. Members of the ISSC also contribute to the Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT) discussion group.

The ISSC continually revises the SCIS Standards for Cataloguing and Data Entry and SCIS Subject Headings in order to ensure that they remain in keeping with international standards, whilst also ensuring that schools’ specialised needs are taken into account. Members of the ISSC draw on their experience in providing cataloguing and support services to school libraries and their links to curriculum experts within their organisations in order to provide informed discussion on the adoption of  new or modified headings, alterations to the cataloguing standards and other enhancements to the SCIS service.

The ISSC group conducts regular meetings throughout the year via teleconference, as well as utilising an edna group page which acts as an online forum for the exchange of discussion papers, regular updates and news.

If you have any questions about how SCIS Standards for Cataloguing and Data Entry are implemented in SCIS bibliographic records, or wish to suggest a change to the SCIS Subject Headings we would love to hear from you.  Drop us a line at – we’re here to help!

Libraries Alive! and the SCIS survey


What our users think about our service is always important to us, but now more than ever we need your feedback! Library consulting company Libraries Alive! has recently been hired by Education Services Australia to conduct a review of SCIS to help us to identify the best ways we can continue to support school libraries with cataloguing services in the future.

As part of the review we are conducting a survey of our customers to find out what the people who matter most think about us. So, if you are a customer of SCIS, and have not already received our email notification, please find the time to complete our short online survey.

The survey is completely anonymous and shouldn’t take any longer than 5 mins to complete. We know how busy you are and how many demands there are on your time, but we hope to get as many responses as possible by 18 June 2010.

Inquiry into school libraries and teacher librarians in Australian schools

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Training’s Inquiry into school libraries and teacher librarians in Australian schools is well underway, with 371 submissions and 2 supplementary submissions received by the committee and a series of public hearings taking place around the country starting in April.

Education Services Australia, as SCIS’s parent body, has put forward a submission to the inquiry arguing for an adequate distribution of funding for the ongoing development of school library staff in both specific library-related professional development and as part of generic whole school development, and further discusses how major policies and investments such as the Australian Curriculum and the Digital Education Revolution impact strongly on the use of resources that support teaching and learning in schools and argues that the work of teacher librarians has become even more important as a result.  Representatives of Education Services Australia have been invited to attend the hearing in Adelaide on July 12.

All submissions, including that submitted by Education Services Australia (No.119), are available in PDF format (excepting those designated Parliamentary-in-Confidence) from the inquiry’s submissions page. An extraordinarily diverse array of individuals and groups have submitted responses to the inquiry – and it must be said it is heartening to see organisations not directly related to libraries such as the Queensland Teachers’ Union (No. 240), and the Copyright Agency (No.289) putting submissions forward which strongly defend the importance of the role played by libraries and teacher librarians in schools, alongside library organisations such as ALIA (No.332) and ASLA (No.327).

This inquiry has the potential to strongly affect all school libraries and librarians, so do take the time to review some of the submissions and to follow the outcomes of the hearings – and get in contact with your library associations to put your 2 cents in too!