Challenged resources are those that may be considered controversial or offensive to members of the school community. It is important that schools have guidelines and procedures in place to deal with any challenges that may arise.
Guidelines and procedures regarding challenged resources should be developed within the school community. The Policy Statement – School Library Bill of Rights from the Australian School Library Association (ASLA) website is a useful starting point, as well as the school’s own Collection Development Guidelines.
Dealing with challenges
Dealing with challenges should be a systematic process involving:
referring the challenger to the school’s Collection Development Guidelines
completion of a Request for Consideration of School Resources by the challenger
a decision on whether to remove the item from the shelf immediately or after it has been reviewed
a review of the challenged resource by a committee comprising the principal, resource teacher, a P&C representative and the person making the challenge
the principal being responsible for the final decision to remove or retain the challenged item.
Resources donated to the school library should be added to the collection only if they:
are compatible with the Collection Development Guidelines
adhere to the selection criteria
fulfill a need or enhance the collection.
Donors should be informed that their donation undergoes the same selection process as any other resource under consideration for inclusion into the collection.
RDA: Resource Description and Access is the cataloguing standard that replaced the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules in 2013. SCIS has been working on a staged implementation of RDA to manage the impact on school library systems and their users. When SCIS started using the transitional standards on 1 July 2013 the intention was to move completely to RDA on 1 July 2014. This timeline is not going to be possible.
SCIS has delayed the full implementation of RDA for a further 12 months.
Bible and Qur’an headings in SCIS
Descriptions of resources created according to RDA instructions are easier for users to understand. Many of the obscure abbreviations previously used by cataloguers have been abandoned in favour of familiar language. This brings us to access points (both preferred titles and subject headings) for the Bible.
Bible headings were previously constructed in this pattern:
RDA has made two major changes. The abbreviations ‘N.T.’ and ‘O.T.’ are spelled out as ‘New Testament’ and ‘Old Testament’. Individual books of the Bible are entered directly under the heading ‘Bible’. The same list of headings now looks like this:
Bible. New Testament
Bible. Old Testament
Bible stories – Exodus
Bible stories – Gospels
Bible stories – New Testament
Bible stories – Old Testament
The conversion to RDA also provided the opportunity to use the more commonly transliterated form ‘Qur’an’ rather than ‘Koran’ for headings relating to this sacred text. This change does not apply to the transcription of titles or contents which may contain the word ‘Koran’. For example:
Text of the Qur’an
Preferred title: Qur’an
Title statement: The Koran / translated with notes by N.J. Dawood
Work about the Qur’an
Title statement: The Koran : a very short introduction
Subject heading Qur’an – Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Changes in the SCIS database
More than 650 authority records for the Bible and Qur’an, representing headings in over 5,000 bibliographic records were changed in SCIS in January 2014. This was accomplished using the global headings change facility in Voyager, the library management system used by SCIS. The first edition of SCIS authority files in 2014 contains these changed authority records.
‘Use for’ references have been provided for every individual book of the Bible, for example:
UF Bible. New Testament. Luke
Luke (Book of the New Testament)
These references allow users who include ‘New Testament’ or ‘Old Testament’ in their headings search, or search directly for the name of the book to be directed to the preferred heading.
Changes in SCIS subject headings
There were relatively few changes required for SCIS Subject Headings, which contain only selected examples and pointers as to how to construct subject headings for parts of the Bible and stories based on Biblical events. The opportunity was taken to include some extra instructions to assist cataloguers in devising Bible headings, for example:
Bible stories – New Testament
For retold or adapted stories from individual books of the New Testament, see headings such as Bible stories – Luke.
Changes in your library system
Individual library systems vary in their capacity to manage global changes. Depending on the nature of your collection and your library system, these changes may or may not represent a challenge. If you use SCIS authority files and your system is set up to automatically match headings in your database when you import the new authority file, the changes may be quite straightforward. In other cases you may need to ask your library system vendor or your user group for advice on how to manage the impact of these changes.
Heading into holidays? Now you have some time, catch up on some professional reading. In case you missed it – the term 1 issue of Connections is published online at the SCIS website and features the following articles of interest to school library staff.
Dr. Pam Macintyre looks at the role of oral language in the development of successful literacy and suggests how schools can foster this in programmes such as In Other Words at Dinjerra Primary School, Melbourne. Pam is a lecturer in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. She is editor of the quarterly review Journal Viewpoint: on books for young adults and sits on the 100 Story Building board of directors.
Education Services Australia has partnered with Australian teachers’ associations to develop practical, classroom-related digital resources that are aligned to the Australian Curriculum. In this article Gabrielle England provides an overview of free online resources available for Phase 1 Learning Areas.
SCIS conducted its annual consultation workshop in Melbourne on Thursday 14 November 2013 from 9.30-3.30pm. The consultation engaged SCIS and its partners in discussion about future priorities in our support of school libraries.
Stacey encouraged teacher librarians to download the apps for Scootle [Android and iPad] and Scootle community [Android, iPad and iPhone].
Want to participate in creating a national collection?
Stacey also asked for voluntary reviewers with a good understanding of the Australian Curriculum, and a keen interest in digital and online learning. If you are interested in reviewing online resources and providing advice, or if you find something great that you think fits the Scootle criteria, get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCIS Manager, Pru Mitchell facilitated a workshop on the future of library collections, asking:
Is a collection of resources fundamental to the school library’s role?
What priority should be given to balanced, professionally selected and managed collections in emerging learning environments?
The workshop considered the assumptions behind these questions, reviewed the changes taking place in school library collections, and discussed associated resource and information management challenges.
What issues are schools facing in resourcing the curriculum?
During 2013 SCIS has been conducting informal surveying of school library staff who attend workshops, asking them the free text question: What are your current collection issues?
This survey closed at the end of Term 3 with a total of 85 respondents. The results were then coded, revealing what the researcher saw as 16 distinct issues.
While the frequency of each category being mentioned in a response is shown in the table below, the goal of the pre-survey was to collect a range of responses from which to prepare a more in-depth survey. The fact that respondents were attending a cataloguing professional learning activity at the time of completing this survey question, may well explain the high occurrence of ‘cataloguing’ as an issue.
catalogue records for resources are unavailable or unsatisfactory
e-resources are not available, or not managed or used appropriately
time to manage resources is limited and/or wasted
library system 7%
system does not meet school’s needs
resources are not promoted to staff and students
budget for resources is inadequate
staff responsible for managing resources are not doing this effectively or do not exist
technology required to use curriculum resources is not available and/or inadequate
finding what resources the school has, and where they are located, is difficult
weeding of resources does not occur regularly
access to resources is inadequate
age of collection 4%
outdated resources are retained
balance between print and digital resources is lacking
collection use 4%
staff and students do not use school resources
OPAC use 3%
staff and students do not use OPAC to find resources
professional learning 3%
professional learning in resourcing the curriculum required
On 16 September 2013, Education Services Australia received advice from the Director-General of the Western Australian Department of Education that the Department will be closing the in-house cataloguing service as of 27 September 2013.
The cataloguing service has for many years catalogued resources sent in by Western Australian schools, as well as providing support and training in the use of SCIS.
Access to SCIS for WA government schools
The Department WILL continue to provide ongoing support for Western Australian government schools to access SCISWeb and retrieve catalogue records via a bulk service subscription to SCIS for all Western Australian government schools.
Cataloguing of Western Australian school resources
Education Services Australia will provide a replacement cataloguing service for Western Australian schools and is currently investigating options for schools who wish to send resources. It is a priority to ensure Western Australian resources continue to be added to the SCIS database in a timely manner. Schools will be advised of the process via email, this blog and on the SCIS website Cataloguing Services page.
If you have further questions about SCIS cataloguing services, please email the SCIS cataloguers at email@example.com.
For any SCIS login problems, training or general requests, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1800 337 405.
Farewell and thanks to the WA SCIS cataloguing agency
We would like to acknowledge the outstanding service that the Western Australian Department’s e-schooling staff have provided to SCIS and to Australian schools. According to statistics available since 1996 a total of 240,000 learning resources have been catalogued by the WA agency.
Particular thanks to the most recent team members Bev Blackwell, Barbara Carle, Sabina Cull, Tina Hoyland, Charlene Plunkett and Suan Kui Yoong, plus previous members Leonie Samuelsson and Barbara Shardlow, and all those who have supported this team over many years.
Feel free to record your experiences of the team and its service in the comments area or send us an email.
Recent SCIS workshops and presentations have focused on the challenges facing school libraries in their management of digital content. As a key service provider and partner with Australian and New Zealand school libraries SCIS is committed to helping schools deal with collection management issues, and provides catalogue records for e-books, websites, apps, audio books, learning objects and digital video.