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.

Why catalogue digital content?

A cost-effective way to enhance collections
For schools with a limited budget, including digital resources in your library catalogue through SCIS adds value to your collection without the price tag, as many are free of charge. Downloading these records and resources from SCIS also ensures that you are cataloguing credible and educational resources to build the foundations for digital literacy in your school.

Incorporating digital content in your library catalogue makes a richer search experience for your library users. The SCIS catalogue points to a variety of learning experiences — many of them interactive. In addition, searches won’t be limited to items made available by commercial publishers. For example, the SBS resource ‘My Grandmother’s Lingo’ (SCIS no. 1784795), which may not have been accessible in a more traditional catalogue provides a truly unique experience for students.

Consolidate your search in one system
The inclusion of digital content in your library catalogue ensures that it is a ‘one-stop shop’ for your staff and students. Say you have a subscription to a platform like Wheelers ePlatform One. Rather than asking your students to access different platforms based on their information needs, you can include catalogue records for Wheelers content within your own library catalogue.

How can I use SCIS as a selection tool for digital content?

Three methods for downloading digital content from SCIS are outlined below.

Download bulk records of newly catalogued resources
The Digital content page in SCIS provides access to batches of recently catalogued records. For most effective use, we recommend adding this step into your cataloguing workflow to find new, educational content for your catalogue — whether it’s once a month, once a term, or once a semester. For instructions on using this feature, please see Downloading records of digital resources.

Download records from a particular collection
Our Collections page (previously known as Special Order Files) is a valuable way to download bulk records from particular education content platforms and providers.

SCIS works with content providers such as ClickView to catalogue titles, meaning that schools subscribed to these platforms can download and import bulk records directly into their catalogue. The Collections page also features resources curated by the National Library of New Zealand.

Simply select the collection you wish to browse, choose the most relevant file, and click ‘Download’. More information on how to use this feature is available at the SCIS help centre.

Browse the SCIS catalogue for a wide range of digital content resources

Another method for downloading records for digital content is by browsing the SCIS catalogue. As it gives a broad view of what’s available, this method will give you the most control in terms of curating your own content. On our Search page, you will find four categories: websites, apps, ebooks and digital videos. If you’d like help downloading records from the SCIS catalogue, please see this help article.

Quick tip
Project Gutenberg is a website that publishes free ebooks that are no longer in copyright.

For those interested in including Project Gutenberg in their library catalogue, click on the ‘Ebook’ section of the Search page and enter the search term, ‘Project Gutenberg’ (including the quotation marks).

You will find over 380 ebook records that you can then choose from and download.

Once you import these records into your LMS, your students will be able to search and access them — this is perfect for schools whose budgets may not support subscriptions to paid ebook platforms.

Requesting cataloguing for records not in SCIS

If you would like any particular item catalogued that isn’t already in SCIS, please submit an online cataloguing request. Of course, to ensure we are only cataloguing high-quality, educational resources, any such content must meet our selection criteria.

Need more help?

If you have any questions about cataloguing digital content, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact our customer service team at help@scisdata.com.

To find out more about the inclusion of digital content in your library catalogue, please register for our webinar Digital content in the 21st century library catalogue. The webinar will be co-hosted by teacher librarian Cathy Costello, who will discuss how digital content can be shared and promoted in school libraries.

A Preference For Genre

Traditionally, library fiction collections have been organised by author surnames, though many libraries are now ‘genrefying’ their collections, following a model reminiscent of bookstores. This may be through genre stickers on book spines, the physical arrangement of the collection, or both, and means that students are able to browse within their preferred genres.

We are pleased to announce that SCISWeb profile settings have been updated to include genre preferences, which will determine the placement of the genre headings in MARC records downloaded from the SCIS orders page.

Genre headings have historically been included in the ‘Topical Term’ field (MARC 650), grouped with other SCISSHL and ScOT terms. The new update provides the option to have genre headings classified separately, in the ‘Genre/Form’ field (MARC 655). This means your library management system will register these as specific genres, and will enable your catalogue users to search and browse via these headings.

Continue reading A Preference For Genre

SCIS Catalogue features

Have you checked out the new SCIS Catalogue launched last week?
As well as a fresh look, there are a number of features that will be appreciated by SCIS users.

Search filters

The search limits available in previous versions of SCIS OPAC are still available (year, place, type, format and language), but search limits have been supplemented in this version of the Catalogue by the ability to filter the results following your initial search. These filters are found in the right hand column of the search results page.

SCIS Catalogue filter options
Search filters

Log in to the SCIS Catalogue and try the filters on a search for World Cup.

If you have requests for other filters you would like to see included as default, please let us know.

Timeout warning

A new timeout countdown feature alerts you if your search session has been idle for some time and is about to be reset.
Extension to the timeout period is also being trialled following a server upgrade.


The Voyager 7.0 WebVoyáge user interface was developed to comply with international industry accessibility standards.

Mobile devices

The new SCIS Catalogue is designed to display well and resize for use on various mobile devices.

Technical infrastructure

The SCIS Catalogue is now on a separate server at address: http://opac.scis.curriculum.edu.au which means it can function independently in the event of downtime on other SCIS services such as SCISWeb. If your network settings or firewall need to be changed as a result, please contact SCIS for the IP address of this server.

New SCIS Catalogue

From 3 October 2011 the SCIS catalogue will undergo a major upgrade.

This involves implementation of

Design concept for SCIS catalogue
  1. a new version of the Voyager library system which underpins the SCIS service
  2. a new, more intuitive interface design for the SCIS Catalogue
  3. a new server platform.

We will endeavour to keep disruptions to a minimum during this time.

You will be able to follow the progress of the upgrade via:

  • news postings on the SCIS website
  • the SCIS twitter account and
  • email messages to subscribers.
    Please ensure you have a valid email address registered with SCIS so that we can keep you informed. Simply log in to SCISWeb,  and go to My Profile to add or update your email address.

OPAC enhanced

From July 2011 SCIS is pleased to announce the addition of enhanced content services to SCIS OPAC from Syndetic Solutions and LibraryThing for Libraries via a new subscription with Thorpe-Bowker.

ThorpeBowker logoWhat is enhanced content?
The bibliographic records in SCIS OPAC are enhanced to display additional detail about resources; information such as plot summaries, author notes, awards and reviews.

This content is sourced from third party services and delivered to SCIS by linked data based on ISBN.
Scroll down the page to view the external enhanced content fields which often appear slightly after the rest of the SCIS bibliographic record page loads.

Why add enhanced content?
SCIS OPAC is a valuable starting point for school staff looking to identify books, digital resources and websites to support the curriculum.
While providing catalogue records is core business, SCIS recognises the value of enhancing the catalogue record where possible with any information that may help school staff discover and review resources of interest.

What type of enhanced content is available?

Can enhanced content be added to our school library system?
Enhanced content in SCIS OPAC is a display feature only and reviews, tags and other enhanced content will not be downloaded with SCIS records. Some library system vendors have negotiated agreements to provide enhanced content in the local school library system for an extra charge. Consult your vendor if you are interested in enhanced content services for your local system.

How can I provide feedback or ask questions?
We hope you find the additional content valuable for resource selection and that it enhances your discovery of learning resources and fiction in SCIS OPAC. SCIS welcomes feedback and questions about SCIS OPAC enhanced content, either as a comment on this blog, or via email scisinfo@esa.edu.au.

Syndetic Solutions

Through the subscription service Syndetics, SCIS offers additional descriptive and evaluative information for its catalogue records where available. Syndetic logo
Features include:

  • author notes
  • awards
  • books in a series
  • fiction and biography profiles
  • summaries and annotations.

Syndetics reviews

Syndetics delivers edited reviews from authoritative reviewing sources including:

Awards for Harry Potter and the deathly hallows by J.K. Rowling
Awards for Harry Potter and the deathly hallows by J.K. Rowling

Continue reading Syndetic Solutions

LibraryThing for Libraries

SCIS is now a member of LibraryThing for Libraries, an enhancement service that delivers information created and shared by members of the LibraryThing social networking service into library catalogues.

LTFL logoCommunity generated content from LibraryThing for Libraries includes a range of features that provide additional descriptive information about resources in the SCIS catalogue.

Recommendations point to other ‘similar’ titles available within the catalogue.

Similar books to Queen of sorcery / David Eddings
Similar books to Queen of sorcery by David Eddings All rights in images of books or other publications are reserved by the original copyright owners

Links to other editions and translations are provided where applicable.

Tag-based discovery provides tag clouds for resources and tag-based search, drawn from the 75 million tags added to resources by LibraryThing members.

LibraryThing reviews are sourced from the LibraryThing customer base around the world – a diverse community of readers, taggers and reviewers.

Individuals or libraries registered with LibraryThing will be able to add their own reviews through the SCIS OPAC interface and share these for the benefit of all SCIS and LibraryThing users.

A short introduction to LibraryThing provides useful information to individuals interested in joining the LibraryThing community.

Please note: LibraryThing’s terms of use exclude children under 13 from joining. Children over 13 years of age require parent/guardian permission.

Enhanced catalogue content trial

SCIS is trialling additional enhanced content in its online catalogue, including summaries, reviews and other content from Syndetics and LibraryThing for Libraries.

Step through our guided feedback surveyTrial Feedback
We are very interested in your feedback to help us decide on the most appropriate new content to display in SCIS OPAC.

You are welcome to explore the trial database

The trial catalogue contains a small subset of records from the SCIS database so you will not find a wide range of titles.
Enhanced content in SCIS OPAC is a display feature only and will not be downloaded with SCIS records.

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.

Website ordering tool in SCIS

SCISWeb has a new feature!

For quite some time SCIS has made a list of all websites added to SCIS each month available in Special Order Files for all SCISWeb subscribers. Websites added to SCIS are evaluated for their educational content, and with the new SCIS websites  tool they can be much more easily previewed and ordered as either a monthly download file, or by selecting a date range of your choice.

Check out our demo below to see how easy it is to download SCIS Website records with the new websites ordering tool.

SCIS Website Special Orders from scis on Vimeo.