Diacritics in SCIS records

2019 is the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages. It is therefore timely that SCIS records can now include diacritics, ensuring that resources in indigenous languages such as the Māori language (te reo Māori) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ languages are recorded accurately in SCIS Data.

What are diacritics?

Diacritics are marks above or below, or sometimes through, a letter. While diacritics are rarely used in English, many other languages use these marks to indicate how a letter, or word, should be pronounced.

Written te reo Māori uses the macron (a straight bar above a letter) with vowels.

SCIS no. 1885777
SCIS no 1861864

There are many Aboriginal languages and varied spelling systems to record them, using Latin script and, occasionally, diacritics. For example, the written Pitjantjatjara dialect includes these underlined consonants, l, n, r and t, indicating how they to be pronounced.

SCIS no 1904867

Most languages of Europe, other than English, make use of diacritics such as:

  • é –acute accent
  • è – grave accent
  • ô – circumflex accent
  • ä – umlaut
  • ũ – tilde
  • ç – cedilla.
SCIS no 1904200

Diacritics in a catalogue

Diacritics entered into a SCIS catalogue record are displayed in the SCIS Data search results screen. Some library management systems may not recognise these unusual characters. Therefore, when you are importing SCIS records with diacritics, it is important to check that they are displaying correctly in the public catalogue.

Renate Beilharz
Cataloguing team leader, SCIS

Renate has worked for SCIS since 2018. A qualified teacher librarian, she worked in secondary school libraries for 20 years before teaching library and information services at Box Hill TAFE. She is passionate about ensuring that schools receive the quality data needed to empower information discovery for students.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Diacritics in SCIS records”

  1. it’s a great idea to include diacritics in SCIS records.
    my first languages are Serbo-Croatian and Hungarian. they both have different diacritics, such as the ones above consonants: c, z, so this will mean that authors and their book characters can be cataloged under their proper full names.

  2. Hi Tamara, Thanks for your feedback! We’re thrilled that the inclusion of diacritics in SCIS records means information can be recorded accurately for various languages. 🙂 – Nicole

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