In the subject access session of the SCIS consultation on 4 December 2012, Les Kneebone Project Manager of the Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT) presented an exciting overview of recent developments in the ScOT thesaurus. Key features that position ScOT for the future include:
- its ongoing development with input from cataloguers, curriculum developers, subject matter experts and users
- its use to describe the machine-readable Australian Curriculum
- its linked data API facilitating automatic semantic relationships
- its translation into languages including Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese and Māori
- its use to describe a wide range of resources through the National Digital Learning Resource Network and SCIS
Discussion followed as to future directions for SCIS in the area of subject access.
Les Kneebone presents an overview of ScOT
The ScOT in SCIS project commenced in 2006 when the thinking was that keyword searching would become the pre-eminent means of resource retrieval. Since then SCIS has offered schools the option of downloading both SCIS Subject Headings and ScOT terms in their catalogue records. The challenge is how to manage and display both SCIS subject headings and ScOT terms in a meaningful way for users in order to exploit the inferred links between resources tagged with ScOT terms that match a curriculum tagged with ScOT terms.
Also discussed was an alternative scenario of transition from use of SCIS Subject Headings to ScOT terms and how schools would manage this process.
On Tuesday 4 December 2012 SCIS conducted a consultation workshop with SCIS partners discussing future priorities in our support for school libraries.
Judy O’Connell, Course Director (Teacher Librarianship) at Charles Sturt University started the day with a set of challenges that covered collections, search, cataloguing, curriculum, interoperability and access. Her presentation Strategic directions for school libraries reinforced the context within which education libraries need to work. These included curriculum, the cloud and game-based learning in a library environment which is both physical and virtual.
The challenge to participants was to rethink library catalogues, which should no longer be seen as simply tools for locating records. Interrogation of data from different data pools requires new thinking and a new user focus. We need to change our technology interface to provide a natural, predictive and responsive search capacity. Web 3.0 challenges us to make library search into a discovery interface.
“How does search impact the way students think, and the way we organise information access?”
Judy pointed out that the search experience influences how students see information structure. Students conceptualise information and the search environment differently, and the way they search should influence the way that we organise information. The learning technologies environment has changed since library management systems were first designed, and we must not lose sight of what is happening in other areas of information retrieval. The importance of metadata developments, including Resource Description and Access (RDA), mean we cannot take old thinking into new information environments.
Check out Judy’s presentation, and then contribute to the ongoing discussion about how SCIS and library system providers can best serve school libraries in 2015 and beyond?
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
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.
More than 1300 SCIS subscribers responded to our recent SCIS user survey, which was conducted as part of the strategic review of SCIS being carried out by library consulting company Libraries Alive.
The review will help us make decisions about the future direction of SCIS, but it’s also about evaluating how well we are meeting your needs now, so it was wonderful to get so many amazingly positive responses from our users about our services.
The review should be completed by the end of this month, and we will be reporting in detail on the outcomes in the term 4 issue of Connections; in the meantime a summary of the responses to the survey is available here.
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.