The 21st century library

In the 21st century school libraries need to consider their spaces, the role of the teacher librarian, and the move to digital content and access in the age of BYOD (Bring your own device). In Australian schools, demonstration of the value of the school library to principals and school councils is essential as they look at resourcing the Australian Curriculum.

‘What do teacher librarians teach’ by Joyce Valenza and Gwyneth Jones  is an excellent infographic to highlight the  multifaceted role of teacher librarians. Evaluating resources is an important focus for teacher librarians, as is digital citizenship, and educating students about  plagiarism.  Increasingly, teacher librarians are working with classroom teachers to develop their students’ capacity to identify and ask good questions, and to improve study and research skills.

Modern school library design may look more to the contemporary approach of buildings such as Trinity Grammar’s Tudor Centre, which brings together library, curriculum, and technology staff.

In the age of BYOD students are not necessarily accessing the same information at the same time. For students and staff 24/7 access to resources is important, as is providing resources in a variety of formats: print, e-book, DVD, audiobook and digital video library. Identification of suitable apps for teacher resources and for use by students is  featuring increasingly.  While we may be seeing a drop in the use of our non-fiction print collections this may not be a matter of student preference.  Content and relevancy are important regardless of format.

In most schools the school library catalogue is the only place where users can search for school-owned/licensed resources all in one place. School library catalogues provide access to learning resources for the school community.  While students and teachers can use a search engine to find millions of online resources, this search will return everything online EXCEPT the very resources that the school or system has actually selected and paid for.

The student or staff member seeking books, information, and learning resources expects to do one search and for that search to return all the relevant material available to them, regardless of its format or its location.  Single point of search assumes an integrated set of search results, which requires integrated metadata.

21st century, next generation library systems will need to include digital rights management, a seamless secure single sign-on, and federated searching across a variety of resources, databases and collections.  Next generation systems will need the ability to connect with  a variety of devices and, increasingly, to provide a personalised service similar to the Amazon or Google experience.

This is why making digital content discoverable through school library catalogues is essential.
For a long time a priority for library staff has been to organise the physical library space in ways that are attractive and encourage users to visit and explore, as well as making it easy for them to find what they need, and assist browsing for inspiration. We work to make location and lending of resources as seamless and self-servicing as possible. We now have additional responsibilities. As well as serving our users who are visitors, browsers and borrowers of physical items in a physical library space, we now need to serve our library users accessing and downloading resources in virtual spaces.

Bus wrapped with SAP Big Data by IntelFreePress http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en
Bus wrapped with SAP Big Data by IntelFreePress http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en

Enhanced content in SCIS catalogue

The SCIS Catalogue is a valuable starting point for school staff looking to identify books, digital resources and websites to support the curriculum, and subscribers are encouraged to use it as a selection aid for locating resources that are required for a particular purpose in a school. 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.

In July 2011 SCIS added enhanced content services from Syndetics Solutions and LibraryThing for Libraries to the SCIS Catalogue, via a subscription with Thorpe-Bowker. The bibliographic records in SCIS OPAC are enhanced to display additional detail about resources, including plot summaries, author notes, awards and reviews. This content is delivered to SCIS by linked data based on ISBN.

Consider the subject headings and notes if using SCIS Catalogue as a selection tool
Figure 1: If using SCIS Catalogue as a selection tool, consider using the Subject Headings and notes

The SCIS Catalogue bibliographic record display provides a link to Google Books. The Google books link/s (if any) will appear at the bottom of the display.
There are three possible links:

  • Entire book is viewable
  • A portion of the book is viewable
  • “About This Book” information is available.

These links will enrich search results with lists of relevant books, journal articles, web page citations and links to related works and full text when available.

Google Books link in SCIS Catalogue record
Figure 2: Google Books link in SCIS Catalogue record

 

Social bookmarks links in SCIS Catalogue
Individual records from SCIS Catalogue can be saved directly to selected social media services as bookmarks. The persistent website address (URL) for these records will be in the format http://opac.scis.curriculum.edu.au/vwebv/holdingsInfo?bibId=1411770 where the bibID is the SCIS number for that record.
Note that you will need a subscription to the social bookmarking service you wish to use, and anyone accessing these SCIS records from your bookmarking service will need to be a SCIS subscriber.
The social bookmarking services currently supported include delicious.com, diigo.com, facebook.com, google.com and StumbleUpon.com.

Social bookmarks links in SCIS Catalogue full record screen
Figure 3. Social bookmarks links in SCIS Catalogue full record screen

 

Images linked to Google Books are not available for download from SCIS. The book cover image from Thorpe Bowker located within the catalogue data (if available) can be downloaded into your library management system from our orders page or via your system’s z39.50 connection. Subscriber schools may also display the images on the school website including blogs, wikis, online newsletters and the school intranet.

Syndetics content in SCIS Catalogue
Through the subscription service Syndetics, SCIS offers additional descriptive and evaluative information where available including:

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

Syndetics reviews
Syndetics delivers edited reviews from authoritative reviewing sources including:

  • Bookseller & Publisher reviews
  • New York Times reviews
  • School Library Journal reviews
  • Publishers Weekly reviews
  • The Horn Book reviews
  • Kirkus reviews

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.

SCIS Asks 2013: The view from the school library

Di Ruffles from Melbourne Grammar School was invited to set the scene for the SCIS Asks 2013 consultation forum and provide her wishlist for school library services.

Di Ruffles
Di Ruffles, Melbourne Grammar

Di stated her top five issues in school libraries as:

  1. Staffing
    Demonstration of the value of the school library to principals and school councils is essential
  2. Budgets
    Plateauing of budget figures is a trend being noticed across many schools
  3. Resourcing the Australian Curriculum
    Phase 1 learning areas (English, Maths, History and Science) is a priority. Then resourcing of new learning areas.
  4. Australian Curriculum General Capabilities
    Development of programs and resources to support these and,
  5. Australian Curriculum Cross curriculum priority areas

At her school Di noted, iPads are being used through the school with Year 12 providing their own choice of device. Students are not necessarily accessing the same information at the same time. E-Books are causing issues importing into the various devices in a  BYOT school environment.

Identification of suitable apps for teacher resources and for use by students is  featuring increasingly. Particularly useful apps include  an app for the library catalogue as well as the EasyBib app  which means students can scan  a book’s ISBN for a  citation.

For students and staff 24/7 access to resources is important, as is providing resources in a variety of formats: print, e-book, DVD, audiobooks and digital video library (eg. Clickview).   Journals and databases of e-journals are used extensively. Di is seeing less use of the print non–fiction collection. Non-fiction eBooks are used but not necessarily a preferred option for all students. Students are not so fussed with format but the item must be relevant.

Di looked at the changing role of the teacher librarian and used ‘What do teacher librarians teach’ by Joyce Valenza and Gwyneth Jones  to highlight the  multifaceted role of teacher librarians. Evaluating resources is an important focus for teacher librarians, as is digital citizenship and educating students about  plagiarism. The library’s website includes research guides (which suggests catalogue subject headings) and  a Harvard style referencing tool.

Di highlighted how teacher librarians at her school are working with classroom teachers, for example in a new subject for 2014, Extended Investigation (inspired by International Baccalaureate) which aims to develop student’s capacity to identify and ask good questions, research an area of interest in depth and prepare for university level study.

SCIS and Campfire Film

The Campfire Film Foundation provides schools access to short films which promote understanding and discussion about meaningful issues including many curriculum areas.  SCIS provides bibliographic records for these films in the database.  Here is a quick guide to accessing a full list of Campfire Films on the SCIS catalogue.

Logo
Campfire Film Foundation

1. Subscribers wishing to bring up a full list of Campfire Films should use ‘Campfire Film Foundation’ as a search term

Use ‘Campfire Film Foundation’ as a search term
Use ‘Campfire Film Foundation’ as a search term

 

 

 

 

 

2. The search will bring up all the titles distributed through Campfire Film Foundation.

Titles distributed through Campfire Film Foundation
Titles distributed through Campfire Film Foundation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Click on the title that you are interested in and the full bib record looks like this including summary.  Subscribers can use the SCIS number to order bib records using the SCISWeb Orders screen or Z39.50.

The full SCIS record
The full SCIS record

 

 

 

 

SCIS Asks 2013: The future of discovery systems

This SCIS Asks 2013 presentation by Alan Manifold, Digital and Library Applications Manager at the State Library of Victoria sets the future of library discovery architecture in the context of the evolution of library systems and search. Alan outlined the purpose of metadata as being to:

Alan Manifold and Ben Chadwick
Ben Chadwick and Alan Manifold
SCIS, CC-by-nc
  • Authorize
  • Limit
  • Evaluate
  • Categorize
  • Link

He postulated that the format of the item no longer matters, it is about providing connections between resource and curriculum and resources inside and outside the library.  The catalogue which was once designed for inventory control has morphed into a search engine.

Alan posed questions about the evolution in libraries and catalogues in the age of electronic resources, searchable full text and mega-aggregate sites.  He touched upon discovery products such as EBSCO, WorldCat Local and the State Library of Victoria’s Primo Central. A useful observation was that while school students need authoritative information as soon as possible, they tend not to require a specific title or edition of a work.

His advice was that SCIS needs to provide connections between resources and curriculum and external indexes and search platforms.  He recommends SCIS

  • continue to provide quality metadata
  • increase the connecting of resources with curriculum
  • work on linking controlled vocabularies
  • highlight diversity of resources and formats and
  • explore ways to rate materials

Education Services records its thanks to Alan for his clear thinking and recommendations.

 

 

Apps

What is an app?  App is an abbreviation for application software. Oxford Dictionary defines an app as “a self-contained program or piece of software designed to fulfill a particular purpose; an application, especially as downloaded by a user to a mobile device. The term app came into prominence with the introduction of the mobile devices and smartphones. Generally an app performs one dedicated task, or presents a discrete amount of format.

It has been suggested that Apps may be a new way to surf the net. Libraries are turning to apps to enable smartphone users to easily access their services.

With the ubiquity of tablets, smartphones and ‘phablets’ and the move towards ‘bring your own device’ in schools, apps are increasingly becoming resources used by students and teachers. GarageBand, Know your skin, iMovie are good examples of apps being used in Education.

Garage Band
Garage Band is an app being used in Schools

Schools are also using dedicated sets of tablets with story making, art creation programs and apps which cover many more curriculum areas.  There are periodic table and anatomy apps, language and math apps and many more. To find out more about educational apps Scoop.it! is a good source of information. Android Apps in Education and Apps for learning are two sites to explore.

More and more schools are buying apps and libraries are looking to catalogue these resources so that students and staff need to search in only one place to find school resources.

Apps is a new subject heading introduced to SCIS this term.

SCIS Subject Heading screenshot
Apps as a SCIS Subject Heading

 

SCIS asks: ScOT and subject access

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
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.

SCIS asks: Strategic directions for school libraries

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.Bulb image from presentation

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?

Which subject search?

The new SCIS Catalogue provides a number of ways to search by subject. To choose the most useful subject search option for your purpose, first consider whether you are looking for:

  1. a SCIS Subject Heading or ScOT term to apply to a catalogue record, or
  2. resources on a particular subject.

1. TO FIND A SUBJECT HEADING

Subject tab returns term anywhere in subject

Subject tab search

Selecting the subject tab before entering a search term provides the most comprehensive option for a subject heading search, looking for the subject term anywhere in subject, and returning any matching SCIS Subject Headings and ScOT terms in an alphabetical list.

The number of related titles, and details of any broader and narrower terms are provided below the subject heading.
While the default display is set to a list of 20 subject terms per page, this number can be changed to 10, 25 or 50 records per page prior to searching.

Subject browse returns term at the start of a subject

Basic search: Subject browse

The Subject browse drop down option within Basic search returns an alphabetical list of SCIS Subject Headings and ScOT terms that start with this term and also provides a count of titles and details of references.

This is helpful for finding the most appropriate subdivision of a SCIS Subject Heading.

2. TO FIND RESOURCES ON A SUBJECT
Note: these search options will provide a list of records, not a list of subject headings.

Basic search: Subject returns records with the term anywhere in subject

Basic search: Subject

Subject search within basic search looks for the search term anywhere in any subject heading and returns the records that meet that criteria.

Results are sorted alphabetically by title, but can be changed to a sort by publication date or author using the drop down options at the top right of the search results.

To find the subject heading used for a particular title, click on the title to display the full record and view the subjects. Click through from the full record to investigate that subject heading further.

Advanced search

Advanced search is accessed from the top right hand banner menu of the SCIS Catalogue, and provides the option to combine a subject search with other search parameters. Advanced search will return a list of records, sorted alphabetically by title.

Advanced search by subject and GMD







Screenshots of SCIS Catalogue courtesy of Ex Libris Voyager system