Why authority files?

What are authority files?

Authority files list the Preferred Term for each concept in a Controlled Vocabulary.  In practice, they also may contain variant terms.
A Variant Term may be a synonym, an abbreviation, an acronym, a misspelled version of the Preferred Term, or any other term that a researcher or Search Engine might like to use to find the concept.

‘Authority file’ n.d., Taxonomy Glossary, Taxotips

What benefit are SCIS authority files?

In the case of SCIS authority files, the cross-references that establish relationships between subject terms provide additional functionality to catalogue searching. It would be an extremely time consuming process to enter references manually into your library catalogue each time you use a new subject heading, whereas SCIS authority files do this work automatically to:

  • enhance subject searching by students and staff
  • improve retrieval rates of the most appropriate resources
  • increase usage of resources
  • provide a cost-effective library solution

How do authority files enhance resource discovery?

Authority FilesAs a controlled vocabulary specifically for print and digital educational resources, SCIS Authority Files provide enhanced subject retrieval for school catalogues.
For example, a student searches for ‘dieting’ in your library system. Without SCIS Authority Files the student will not locate all the resources. With SCIS Authority Files the student will locate more relevant resources because SCIS maps their subject searches to related subjects.

Susan Marshall from Chilton Saint James School says

What I like most about SCIS Authority Files is that even if our users enter a non-preferred search term they will be taken to the available resources for the preferred term.“See also” references are also provided to suggest alternative subjects to search.

What does it cost?

Government schools in ACT, NSW, SA and WA are provided with SCIS Authority Files by their school system.
For other Australian schools the 2011 cost is AU$85.00 and for international subscribers AU$77.00.

Complete the SCIS authority file order form

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