SCIS Data case study: Chris Archbold, Riccarton Primary School, NZ

‘SCIS makes a consistent catalogue. If all the primary schools around New Zealand are using SCIS, they are all getting the same information. This means that students can move from school to school and know that they are still going to get good, consistent search results.’

School: Riccarton Primary School
Type: Government school for years 1–8
Enrolment: 284
Cataloguing subscription: SCIS Data
Library management system: MUSAC
Size of collection: 4,200

Chris Archbold opens her library each morning at 8.30 am to an enthusiastic crowd of library-goers, and she relishes in the buzz created by students. Chris is the library manager at Riccarton Primary School in Christchurch, in New Zealand’s South Island.

This buzz is the telltale sign of a school community enthusiastic about their library. ‘We are buzzing here in the morning and again at lunch times,’ Chris says. ‘Some kids are having chat sessions, some kids are borrowing books, and some kids are reading books. To be able to sit at the OPAC and find what they are looking for is really important, so to have the best possible search options is fantastic.’

Chris has been using SCIS for her library cataloguing for more than 10 years, which helps her save time and make library resources discoverable to Riccarton Primary School’s enthusiastic staff and students. Students are able to access the catalogue containing more than 4,000 titles from the library and all classrooms within the school. With the help of SCIS Data, students can easily search for relevant titles before locating them in the library.

Enhancing resource discoverability

As the library manager, Chris’s role is vast and varied. ‘I am in charge of keeping the library in order, purchasing new books, repairing old books, and circulating and displaying books — you name it, I do it!’ Chris sees the library as a place to ‘encourage reading and to be available for students who want to read. Having a librarian means that they can have that support’.

Chris is passionate about the role of high quality, consistent catalogue records in allowing students to find what they are looking for. ‘It’s absolutely essential for students to be able to find and locate any of the resources that they need, whether it be websites or books,’ Chris explains.

Chris understands that SCIS’s high quality records are crucial for the discoverability of her library resources. ‘It makes a consistent catalogue,’ she says. ‘If all the primary schools around New Zealand are using SCIS, they are all getting the same information. This means that students can move from school to school and know that they are still going to get good, consistent search results.’

Chris uses z-cataloguing, which means that she can search and download SCIS records without leaving her library management system, MUSAC. ‘I can’t imagine using any program other than SCIS. I know that the national library offers a free service, but I find SCIS covers more of what I need, so I’ve stuck with it,’ Chris says. ‘It’s great. It’s been the best thing.’

Catalogue records suited to schools

Prior to using SCIS, Chris used Numerical and Alphabetical Subject Headings for Primary Schools. She then briefly moved to Te Patakataka. ‘From there, I went on to SCIS. I have to say, SCIS was like a dream come true. It is just so fast!’ she exclaims.

‘SCIS is relevant to our school community, which is very multicultural. Most of our students can access information they are searching for because of the wide coverage of subject headings that are used,’ Chris continues. SCIS has subject headings suitable for use by students, making it a user-friendly option that matches terminology used in schools.

In addition to managing the Riccarton Primary School library, Chris also teaches students with special needs. As the library manager, Chris is perfectly suited to helping young students become confident readers. Chris particularly enjoys sharing books from the Rainbow Reading program with students who struggle to read. Rainbow Reading is an audio-facilitated reading program that supplies books with activity sheets and interactive pens. When pressed to dots on the page, the pens read sentences aloud so that students can follow along.

Chris is clearly committed to ensuring the students at Riccarton Primary School have access to books that support student learning and enhances their literacy skills. SCIS Data means that those resources are quickly catalogued and made available to students looking for the next title to delight, inspire, or inform them.

Chris’s verdict

For schools not yet using SCIS, Chris recommends to ‘use it, try it, and see what you think!’ Her enthusiasm for SCIS is evident as she continues: ‘I just love the whole program, and particularly love the fact that it’s got so many subject headings. It is fantastic.’

For a free trial of SCIS, please complete our trial registration form. Experience SCIS Data for yourself, commitment-free.

These interview extracts have been lightly edited and reordered where necessary to improve readability and clarity.

SCIS Data case study: Caroline Roche, Eltham College, UK


‘Yesterday, a student asked for a book on Emmanuel Macron. It will be delivered today, and I will be able to catalogue it within five minutes because SCIS is quick. I’ll have it in her hands this afternoon.’

School: Eltham College
Type: Independent school for boys (aged 7–18) and girls (aged 16–18)
Enrolment: 850
Cataloguing subscription: SCIS Data + Authority Files
Library management system: Accessit
Size of collection: 11,780 in junior library; 22,665 in senior library

Eltham College, a high-performing independent school in South East London, focuses on the core business of school libraries: providing access. Librarian Caroline Roche works in the senior school library, supported by a library assistant and a school community enthusiastic about the library’s role. Spread over three floors, Eltham College’s senior library provides space for students to study, read and gather during break times. In a library that prides itself on immediate access, SCIS Data contributes to their fast-turnaround workflow.

Continue reading SCIS Data case study: Caroline Roche, Eltham College, UK

Enhance your library collection with digital content

Most subscribers use SCIS Data to download records for books and other physical items that they would like to make available in their library catalogue.

But, with over 100,000 records available for websites, apps, ebooks, audiobooks, and digital videos, it is also the perfect tool to help build your digital collection.

This blog post looks at the benefits of including digital content in your library catalogue, and how SCIS supports this.

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Is there life beyond MARC?

SCIS forges into a new frontier

The Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS) is working with several major school library management system vendors in Australia and New Zealand to revolutionise how library catalogue records are distributed to schools.

Continue reading Is there life beyond MARC?

Professional learning webinars: Term 1, 2018

In 2017, we launched SCIS Data — a modern, intuitive and user-friendly platform that makes resource management in schools even simpler. To help ease your way into the new website, we have recorded a series of instructional videos, available to view on our Vimeo page. You can also visit our comprehensive help centre, packed with help articles based on your FAQs.

We will also be hosting a series of webinars in January and February to help you make the most of SCIS Data. Webinars are open to all school library staff and are a great way to discover how SCIS can support your library’s cataloguing and collection management, with the opportunity to chat with fellow library staff. Sessions are approximately 45–60 minutes, and we are happy to answer questions throughout.

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SCIS system launch

The SCIS team is pleased to announce the launch of the new SCIS system, found at www.scisdata.com.

For a quick overview, you can watch our short video.

Key features include:

  • richer search capabilities
  • new vocabularies to enrich discovery
  • online cataloguing requests
  • ease of download for print and digital content
  • online invoicing and payments.

Continue reading SCIS system launch

The dreaded case of duplicate ISBNs

Doreen Sullivan
SCIS Cataloguing team leader

Have you ever had this experience? You search for or download the record for an ISBN and a completely different title is returned. Huh? How could SCIS have gotten it so wrong?

In most cases, this is not a mistake. The fact is, sometimes publishers print the same ISBN on more than one of their publications. Although ISBNs are meant to be unique to each title edition, it is surprisingly common for publishers to give the same ISBN to different books.

These are known as ‘duplicate ISBNs’ or ‘ISBN duplicates’, and they are frustrating for all concerned. It means that the same ISBN could show in two or more SCIS records.

Continue reading The dreaded case of duplicate ISBNs