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.

Pre-web technologies are widespread in the global library industry, including the 50-year-old Machine Readable Cataloguing (MARC) for encoding data, and the 40-year-old z39.50 protocol for transferring it. These standards are reliable, widespread and consistent. However, these standards also mean it can be difficult for library systems to interact with other systems, and that library catalogue data can be limited in what information it can convey, and how it can be represented to end users.

With its new RESTful APIs, SCIS is breaking ground by enabling school libraries to move to a modern web-based standard to upload its catalogue data.

The SCIS RESTful APIs will result in improved research and information literacy opportunities for students. They will provide library management systems – and their users – the option to move away from the MARC standard, making it possible to provide schools with new data elements from SCIS education vocabularies. These data elements will include information about education use and purpose of resources – elements which are of real practical use to students and educators in their research for learning and literacy.

From its instigation in 1984, SCIS has provided school libraries with the unique benefits of being a one-stop shop for quality library catalogue data with specific relevance to educational settings.

SCIS is a business unit of Education Services Australia, a not-for-profit government-owned developer of educational technology solutions. For further information, please visit www.scisdata.com.

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SCIS (Schools Catalogue Information Service) was created with the aim of providing schools with access to a database of consistent catalogue records created according to agreed national standards, in order to reduce the cost and duplication of effort of cataloguing resources in schools. Since its inception, SCIS has been responsible for improving the quality and consistency of cataloguing materials for schools.

4 thoughts on “Is there life beyond MARC?”

  1. Sounds interesting. Could you please recommend a basic introduction to RESTful APis and how they are used in the bibliographic environment?
    Are there any SCIS papers on the topic that you would be prepared to share?
    Thanks, Renate.

  2. Sounds brilliant. Perfect for inquiry learning.
    “These data elements will include information about education use and purpose of resources – elements which are of real practical use to students and educators in their research for learning and literacy.” giving us the ability to have data elements for curriculum connection for teachers. They are so much more likely to search for that ‘number’ given that option.
    Can’t wait to here more!
    Cheers!
    Jennie

  3. Exactly Jennie. That’s the idea. From SCIS’s point of view metadata is only as useful as what it enables end-users to do, and school libraries should be enabled to help teachers connect high quality resources to curriculum. Thanks for your comment! Ben

  4. Thanks for your comment Renate. We don’t have any white papers per se on this topic, but that’s a great idea. There are so many changes going on in the world of library metadata, and SCIS is wanting to walk the best line between tradition and cutting-edge (bearing in mind that the global community is still in the process of finding consensus on what that cutting-edge looks like). Let me get back to you 🙂 Ben

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