The Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS) acknowledges the Eastern Kulin Nation, Traditional Custodians of the land on which our head office stands and pay our respects to Elders past and present. We recognise the Traditional Owners of Country across Australia, and their continuing connection and contribution to lands, waters, communities, and learning.
The theme for National Reconciliation Week 2022 is Be brave. Make change. SCIS recognises our responsibility to work for national progress in reconciliation and we are committed to continuing to make changes in our data for the benefit of all.
SCIS cataloguing standards recognise the rich and special nature of Indigenous communities in society. As an Australian and New Zealand focused database, we have some unique cataloguing standards in our database that recognise the Māori and Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
Dewey Decimal Classification and book numbers
To give emphasis and a shorter number to religion, spirituality and creation stories of the Australian Aboriginal people, the permanently unassigned Dewey number 298 is used.
For works where the book number would, if built according to SCIS Standards, be ABO and covers topics on Australian Aboriginal peoples, substitute the letters ABL.
SCIS Subject Headings List (SCISSHL)
Resources on specific indigenous peoples are entered under their collective name, for example, Māori, Torres Strait Islanders, Aboriginal peoples.
Alternative terms for Aboriginal peoples, including First Nations (Australia), First peoples (Australia), Indigenous Australians have been added to the SCISSHL reference structure. This enables retrieval of resources using the variety of terms in current usage.
SCISSHL has provision to create names of specific groups of Iwi (Māori peoples) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Names of most major Māori tribes and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are already embedded into the SCIS subject authority file.
Māori terms where applicable are authorised, for example, Waka, Wharenui, Te Reo Māori.
Reconciliation of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australia is an allowed heading, along with Stolen generations.
SCIS Standards are always changing and adapting to meet our school library communities’ expectations. We welcome feedback; the SCIS Standards Committee is happy to receive and review suggestions from our school library community. Suggestions and comments can be sent to email@example.com.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that using time efficiently and having well-organised resources underpin a school librarian’s ability to support their community.
Resourcing can present a particular challenge to primary school librarians when managing their libraries. Robyn Byrne from Traralgon Primary School (Stockdale Road) explains how SCIS helps her overcome these challenges.
‘Unfortunately, many primary school libraries are now managed by a sole education support staff member, with no formal training and in a part-time capacity. My school is no exception, so I have benefited greatly from having a SCIS subscription.’
With standing orders, books received through a rewards program and purchases from local stores and booksellers, the school acquires a substantial number of new books.
‘Cataloguing of the books – with the limited hours the library is staffed and with my hit and miss knowledge of cataloguing – is only possible due to SCIS. It works with our library system, and I would say 99.5% of my requests are matched, ensuring those books are out on the shelves in a timely manner and catalogued in a consistent way,’ says Byrne.
Collection development and professional learning
Joumana Soufan from Lalor North Primary School moved to a position in her school library last year and recently started to explore SCIS. She’s found it helpful for cataloguing but has also enjoyed the collection development tools that SCIS provides.
‘I have been enjoying looking for new apps that maybe useful to use for the library. I recently discovered that the Canva app is free to all school staff, which is a big bonus! I have been busy creating posters and resources for upcoming events. I have also just become aware that there are heaps of free e-books, so I’ll be busy downloading some as soon as I get time.’
‘I recently attended the workshop on making the most of SCIS,’ she says. ‘It was a very informative and really enjoyed it.’
SCIS provides school librarians with community through the Connections school library journal and its social media pages. Robyn Byrne has found this particularly beneficial.
‘I work alone in the school library so look forward to Connections, the SCIS publication, to keep me up-to-date with what is happening in other school libraries, get inspiration and information. Connections, the recent SCIS workshop I attended, and my local SLAV branch meetings are a great support network for me.’
Now serving school libraries across Australia and internationally for almost 40 years, SCIS is working hard to continue supporting librarians in a changing world, through quality cataloguing and cultivating a community of practice that helps librarians bring more to their schools. If you wish to know more about how SCIS can help your school library, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Embracing technology as an educational tool and improving digital literacy is becoming more important for education professionals and students everywhere. With the increasing integration of digital learning in the classroom, Story Box Library helps educators and librarians engage students to connect with storytelling and digital literacy in exciting and innovative ways. As students discover stories in a safe, online space, their reading and literacy skills improve, along with their understanding of how stories connect us to the rest of the world. With time-saving resources and a diverse collection of stories, Story Box Library is helping teachers and teacher librarians use technology with ease and confidence.
Quick and easy access to diverse stories
Story Box Library has more than 400 stories in its digital collection, read by some of Australia’s most dynamic storytellers. Stories are searchable by theme, making it easy for teachers to find engaging resources to tap into a student’s particular interest, such as STEM or the environment. Playlists can also be curated for classroom quiet story time or for setting suitable homework tasks. The digital platform’s diverse and accessible collection supports students’ language learning and social development, helping to achieve critical curriculum outcomes as well as connecting to real-life experiences. Students can explore stories from the Auslan series, bedtime stories, and the thoughtfully curated Indigenous Story Time series, created and read by First Nations storytellers, and many more.
Professional development and training online events and webinars
Since 2020, Story Box Library has been hosting online events and webinars on various topics for educators, librarians and parents. These events are designed to help audiences gain confidence in the digital basics, better facilitate student engagement in innovative and creative ways, understand more about the importance of diversity in children’s literature, and the importance of digital literacy in a child’s development and learning.
Engaging students with classroom resources
To support subscribing educators and teachers, the Story Box Library platform features updated educational resources, available to download for digital or printed use. After watching story reads, students can use Reflect and Respond student sheets for deep thinking and reflection via discussion questions, while Story Response Templates allow students to think creatively and make personal connections to the literature. Story Box Library has recently released a new section titled Units of Work, which includes engaging hands-on lesson ideas and comprehensive thematic units of work linked to the Australian Curriculum. Designed by Story Box Library’s Education Resource Development team, Units of Work focuses on a range of learning areas from Foundation to Year 6 students, such as STEM, Mental Health and Wellbeing.
‘These units allow teachers to pick up and deliver a unit that has been planned to be engaging, [and] activate creative thinking and collaboration,’ Education Resource Developer Amelia Otto says. ‘They don’t need to create worksheets, look for curriculum links, think about success criteria – it’s all been done for them. As a teacher librarian I loved being able to help teachers connect wonderful picture books to classroom learning.’
Putting Story Box Library at your fingertips
An extension of the existing digital platform, the brand-new StoryBox app will be available for Apple and Android devices, and is designed to help more educators, librarians, families and children access a world of stories. It’s due for release in all app stores in February 2022.
About Story Box Library
Story Box Library is a creative, educational and fun platform developed for educators and families, playing a key role in improving literacy and language skills in children. The subscription-based service works to engage and excite the next generation about reading and storytelling, and features a growing digital library of favourite kids books read aloud by diverse storytellers, plus curriculum-based ideas and tools for educators. Visit the website to explore a world of stories.
The 14th of February is Library Lovers’ Day, which is always a wonderful day of celebration in the annual calendar. This year, however, we think it’s of special significance. It’s been two long years of loving our libraries from afar much more than we’ve been able to love them up close and personal. That’s why this Library Lovers’ Day we thought we’d write a valentine to our school libraries, reflecting on the things we’ve missed about visiting them over these past two years of COVID life (sigh).
1. The promise
Whenever you walk into a school library you walk into a visible, palpable realm of future possibilities. Every book on the shelf is an adventure waiting to come alive in your hands, every hand-curated display is a chance to delve deeper into a genre or subject you love. There’s such a visceral, spiritual feeling of possibility when you walk through library doors, that’s unique to such a place of variety, depth, knowledge and wonder. This year we’ll aspire to savour it each time we walk into a library.
2. The innovation
A school library is – and always has been – a wonderful place to promote lateral thinking. Librarians are always thinking ‘outside of the box’ and running carefully considered events and activities covering the smallest, most ‘niche’ subjects you could imagine, as well as the biggest, boldest, world-changing ideas of today and the future.
3. Support for teachers
We’ve always felt that school libraries provide an essential support for classroom teachers at the coalface. Whether it’s providing and curating resources, helping them set up and understand new technology or simply helping rush through some last-minute photocopying, libraries are always there in times of teacher need.
4. A safe space for students
Growing up is fraught with challenges and the school environment can be difficult for students to navigate at times, for a host of reasons. The school library has always been a place where students can feel safe and supported. Whether it be by the warm and welcoming staff, by getting lost in a good book, or simply by having a quiet, serene place to go, the library is always there, giving us connection, culture, stories and sanctuary.
5. Librarians and students: a dynamite combo
The thing we’ve missed most of all about being in school libraries is the wonderful symbiosis between students and librarians. The nurturing, one-on-one support that students receive from librarians and the nourishing joy librarians feel as they see a student thrive and grow through a collection they’ve so carefully curated for such a purpose is truly magical.
Wherever you are in the world, take a moment today to reflect on what a library means to you. We hope you remember the special personal, significance that libraries have to you today. We also hope that as the world opens up again, we can all visit a library, carrying with us an invigorated respect and appreciation for the important role they play in our lives.
Though SCIS is not a Library Management System (LMS), we spend most of our days curating and creating the data that is held in them. Thus, we have plenty of advice to offer on how to manage your data when moving it from an old LMS to a new one. Written by SCIS Sytems Coordinator Adam Styles, this article serves as a helpful guide on how to approach moving your data when migrating to a new LMS.
What is an LMS data migration?
A library management system (LMS) data migration is essentially the process of transferring your current core LMS information into a new LMS. This focuses on safely moving your bibliographic records, borrower records, statistical records and other relevant collection data into another platform.
It is important that core information is transferred to a new LMS in an ordered, methodical way to mitigate the chance of data loss.
What data is available to migrate? What should I migrate?
Any current library system will offer both standard and non-standard information that you can export, clean (quality control) and import into your new system. ‘Standard’ in this case implies industry standard data in all library systems, and ‘non-standard’ implies custom information in some but not all library systems.
Data that should be migrated to your new LMS includes:
Bibliographic records (standard):
This is your collection information in MARC21 (machine readable cataloguing) or another relevant library standard format or other relevant library formats, such as your collection items and associated subject headings.
Borrower records (standard):
This is your borrower information including borrower history, personal details and related.
Statistical records (standard):
These are the usage statistics of your bibliographic items. They allow reports to be run on most borrowed and least popular items, trending titles, and more.
System policies, rules, profiles and metadata (standard):
Lending rules and restrictions for borrower profiles.
Current bibliographic collections or current staff access profiles (access and restrictions)
Custom metadata not covered above but deemed valuable to keep (non-standard):
Current reading lists that have been generated by library staff, teaching staff or students
Collection tags that are used in user search tools to help discover collections
User collection reviews such as book reviews or comments.
What formats will the data be migrated in? How do I export in these formats?
Bibliographic records formats will be available to migrate in:
MARC21: A standard, machine readable format for bibliographic records in the library industry. This format allows you to transfer current library system bibliographic files into your new library system in a trusted format.
Extensible Markup Language (XML): A human-readable and machine-readable file format (.xml).
Borrower records formats include:
XML: See above description.
Java Script Object Notation (JSON): This is commonly used for transmitting data in web applications and it is a very open universal compatible format.
Comma Separated Values (CSV): A file format that separates information using commas. This is a very open universal compatible format.
If you have any non-standard data (as defined above) to migrate, this can be done using JSON or CSV.
What are the tasks to perform data migration?
Your library team will be responsible for completing the following tasks as part of the data migration.
Export the required data from your current LMS
Clean and quality control the exported data
Import cleaned, quality-controlled data into new system
Evaluate imported data in the new system while you still have access to your previous system
Store backup versions of both the original exported data and the cleaned, quality-controlled in an offline environment
Once all processes are in place, establish a time and date to stop using the old system and start using the new system.
What could my school be responsible for and what part might my new library vendor do for me?
Changing library systems may seem like a complex move, but your library system vendor may be available to give you support as you move to the new system. Your vendor will usually be able to:
Provide support during the export from the existing system and help import data in to the new system.
Provide support in the setup of system policies, rules and profiles.
Your school or team
This will vary greatly depending on the size of your school and your library team. Generally, your school library team will be responsible for:
Identifying data to export from current system
Planning and implementing the data export from your current system in the required formats (this may be your system support officer or IT department)
Cleaning and quality control of exported data offline, ready to hand onto vendor for new system import formats (this maybe a system support officer or local IT department, if your school has these positions on staff)
Backing up the original and cleaned exported data for long-term storage
Reviewing and evaluating the current system data imported into new system, to ensure the information is correct and presented as expected.
Make sure you migrate your SCIS records, don’t re-download them!
A key thing to note is that you shouldn’t re-download SCIS records from our website into your new system. This is because you will have added data to the SCIS records on your old library management system during its lifetime, such as local spine labels (custom call numbers) and a variety of other small but meaningful changes. This data would not be present in freshly downloaded records from our website.
We recommend you export all bibliographic records and subject headings from your current library system and import them into your new library system to help avoid potential data loss.
Can data loss occur during migration?
Data loss is the unintended loss of information from a system or data set. Data loss can occur for many reasons, but is often caused by one of three key factors:
Dirty data: Information that contains incorrect, invalid or duplicated items. For example, bibliographic records that contain error prone fields that might cause an error in a new system.
Forgotten data: In some cases, you might fail to identify a set of information in your current system that you need in your new system. So, it is data you forgot to export from your old system which may no longer be available.
Data format: The format that the data is imported or exported in, which might not carry in to the new system due to compatibility issues of the way the information is fed to the system. This can be trying to import a word doc of data where word docs will not carry in to a system.
How do I mitigate the chances of data loss during migration?
Losing data is a risk during a migration. If data is lost then a new library system may not work as you expect it to.
You can take the following steps to reduce the chances of data loss:
Thoroughly review your existing system to ensure you have captured all of the data you need to carry into your new system. Check with your existing vendor to ensure you’re exporting all the required data.Export data in industry standard formats (vendor may recommend formats otherwise – see above).
Quality control data that will be imported into your new system, by working with your vendor to check which formats are available or required.
Evaluate imported data in your new system while the old system is still available.
Ensure you create offline, long-term back-ups of both your original non-quality-controlled export from old system and the cleaned version of exported data.
How to get help from your library community?
Your library vendor is the best place to seek answers during your migration, as they will be familiar with the specific requirements for important choices such as data format and data quality control.
Further to this, LMS data migrations have been around since the very first library system was invented. There are many articles online that offer tutorials, tips and guides for many different library systems.
Lastly, remember that the SCIS customer service and technical team are here to help. We will do our best to work with you and any new vendor to get your SCIS records into their new home.
You can do it! Be bold, be courageous, ask questions and enjoy a well-deserved tea break every now and then.
The importance of subject headings in a library catalogue can often go unnoticed. Consistent subject headings comprising what are known as ‘controlled vocabularies’ can be the difference between finding the resources you’re looking for quickly or wasting time attempting multiple searches that yield frustratingly few useful results.
Many people do not know, and would not suspect, the intricate way that subjects must be linked through their synonyms and related concepts to allow users to effectively explore a catalogue, linking terms and concepts with each other, such as ‘dogs’ and ‘animals’.
This article delves into the evergreen world of SCIS subject headings; a unique and comprehensive index of relevant subject headings that work silently in the background to help create a quality search experience in schools.
What is a Subject Heading
Every record in SCIS Data contains subject headings that indicate the topical content of the resource. SCIS makes use of two different controlled vocabularies:
Subject headings in a bibliographic record have three key purposes:
To assist end-users to find the resources required to meet an information need;
To enable end-users to assess whether a resource contains the information required to meet an information need; and
To facilitate exploration of the database, locating similar resources.
Library catalogue advanced search interfaces rely on controlled vocabularies (explained below) to be effective. A search within the subject field uses controlled vocabularies; faceted searches (sometimes called search limiters) use controlled vocabularies
Controlled vocabularies are “established list of preferred terms from which a cataloger or indexer must select when assigning subject headings or descriptors in a bibliographic record, to indicate the content of the work in a library catalog, index, or bibliographic database”.
Controlled vocabularies are an essential tool cataloguers use to ensure consistency of terminology. These lists ensure that an entity in a bibliographic database, whether it be a concept, object, person, place or event, is represented by a consistently used term or phrase.
For example, the concept ‘Disasters’ has synonyms ‘Calamities’ and ‘Catastrophes’. A controlled vocabulary will identify which term is the ‘authorised’ one, the one that will be used to identify resources about this concept. End-users using the terms ‘Calamities’ and ‘Catastrophes’ are referred to resources with the controlled term ‘’. This is important for an end-user because it means that a search for ‘calamities’ or ‘catastrophes’ will refer to the concept ‘disasters’ in order that both searches will not miss potentially relevant resources.
On the other end of the vocabularies scale are uncontrolled vocabularies, sometimes called folksonomies. These are lists of terms or words or phrases selected randomly, with no set list to choose from. Tag or hashtag lists, such as those used in social media sites such as Instagram, are folksonomies; they are not controlled. The terms are random and unrestricted, resulting in duplication, misspelling and incongruity. Some terms in a folksonomy may have no meaning to anyone, other than the creator of the tag. Uncontrolled vocabularies means that the user needs to guess what tags or headings have been allocated to a resource to find it.
Controlled vocabularies ensure consistency. End-users of databases with controlled vocabularies can be confident of locating all resources on a particular topic, especially because controlled vocabularies use cross- references.
References ‘refer’ end-users from unused terms to used headings, and between related used headings.
A search for ‘Natural disasters’ in SCIS Data will refer users to the used heading ‘Disasters’.
A search for Disasters can refer end-users to narrower headings such as ‘Avalanches’ and ‘Earthquakes’, or related terms such as ‘Accidents’ or ‘Disaster relief’.
SCIS Subject Headings List – a controlled vocabulary
SCIS Subject Headings List is the controlled vocabulary created to support the SCIS bibliographic database. It was first published in 1985, titled ASCIS Subject Headings, as a print volume. The fifth, and final print edition, was published in 2002. SCISSHL is now available as an online resource on the SCIS Data website https://my.scisdata.com/standards.
SCIS Subject Headings List is the ‘source of truth’ or ‘core’ used by SCIS cataloguers when selecting or devising appropriate subject headings for educational and curriculum resources catalogued into the SCIS Data. The list can be used by schools that subscribe to SCIS to assist their library staff in conforming to SCIS standards when adding subject headings to local resources.
an alphabetical listing of used and unused headings, with scope notes (definitions) if required);
cross-references from unused to used headings and between allowed headings; and
a set of prescriptive guidelines for the construction of other headings not in the list.
SCISSHL is the tool that cataloguers use to add subject headings to a resource record. It provides instructions on devising further headings, as it would be impossible to make a list of all headings, including proper and common nouns headings that are needed for a general catalogue, for example the name of every order, class or species of animal.
SCISSHL does not point end-users to actual resources. It is the core list of headings, also called the ‘standard’, that is used by cataloguers.When an end-user uses a subject advanced search, or a subject browse search in a public catalogue, the search funcaiotnliaty, uses what is known as the subject authority list to retrieve resources.
The SCIS subject authority list includes the ‘core’ SCISSHL headings as well as all the devised, or created headings, used in the SCISData database catalogue. The subject authority list in a schools’ library management system includes all the subject headings allocated to resources in the school library. Ideally it also contains all the references (Used for, Broader, Narrower and Related terms), to allow the end user to navigate from one heading to other related headings, enhancing the effectiveness of a catalogue search.
The browse subject heading option in SCIS Data search searches all headings used in the SCIS Data subject authority list, the core headings from SCISSHL as well as devised headings.
A search for ‘Ice age’ in SCISSHL will only retrieve the core heading, as it is only searching the core headings
A search for ‘Ice age’ in Browse headings will retrieve the allowed devised headings as well, making it effective for the end-users, not just cataloguers.
SCIS Authority Files
Maintaining accurate authority lists and references is time consuming as it includes devising new headings and adding cross-references between new headings and existing headings. To help with this, SCIS provides the option to subscribe to the SCIS authority files, which lists all core and devised headings used in the SCIS Data.
Reference only files. Only includes headings which have references (Used for, Broader, Narrower and Related terms).
Full files. Includes all headings in SCIS data authority files, whether they have references or not.
How the headings and references are displayed to end-users depends on the library management system. In most cases only the heading and related references used in a school library database will be displayed for end-users. Cataloguing staff would see all the headings imported from SCIS Data. It is strongly suggested that library system vendors be consulted before importing the full authority files.
Updating and revising SCIS Subject Headings
SCISSHL is continually updated and revised. New headings are added, references structures reviewed, heading using out-dated terminology are updated. These are presented in the term 1 issues of Connections.
The SCIS Standards Committee is responsible for maintenance of the SCIS Standards for Cataloguing and Data Entry and for SCIS Subject Headings List. The Committee meets four times a year, considering working papers for new and revised headings after undertaking a thorough consultation process.
SCIS subscribers can recommend additions and changes to SCISSHL by emailing email@example.com. Reasoning for the suggestion should be added. These suggestions will be reviewed by the SCIS Standards Committee.
By Belinda Doyle, Teacher Librarian at Northmead CAPA High School, NSW
About Belinda’s School
Northmead Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) High School focuses on and has a proven record of success not only in the creative and performing arts but also in academic, vocational and sporting endeavours. Our school students are drawn from both our local community and the wider community. Many of our students come from non-English speaking background and some are refugees. The school prides itself as a place where all students are welcomed, where strengths are recognised and nurtured and where differences are celebrated.
The school has a committed, dynamic teaching, administrative and executive staff with a range of experiences. The school has developed its Principles of Effective Teaching, which underpins all teaching practices. Teachers are passionate about their work and embody the school’s values. Our teachers strive to improve both their professional knowledge and their practice through their personal attributes, skills, and knowledge, to advance a sense of community and tolerance in all members of the school community to achieve excellence in learning.
The needs of our learners are met through a broad academic curriculum, strong vocational programs, and high-quality creative and performing arts programs in Visual Arts, Dance, Drama and Music School programs are complemented by a wide range of extra-curricular programs. There is a strong focus on collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and innovation, both in teaching and learning. Leadership is actively developed for the students, teaching staff and the community through targeted training and professional learning and specific pathways. Student leadership is developed in sport, creative and performing arts, multiculturalism, school service and the community.
Support for the school is strong in the local community. Many students undertake authentic learning in the community through vocational and education programs (VET) or through access to specific careers education opportunities.” Our school population consists of 1094 students and a staff of 139 teachers.
How Belinda Uses SCIS
As the Teacher Librarian in this vibrant setting which consists of a diverse school community, I focus on supporting many subjects across a range of classes which includes extension classes, GAT classes, mixed ability classes, and learning and support classes. I aim to resource a differentiated curriculum, and this is where SCIS continues to play a role that offers peer -reviewed resources and resources that are suitable to support the NSW education curriculum. Due to our unusual circumstances relating to COVID-19 lockdowns, there has been the need to rely more on online resources to provide for our online school population.
In the past, I have relied on professional databases and professional library journals to search and review suitable websites for our school library. I have moved toward increased online professional development to further support online resources for a diverse curriculum. It is in this context that SCIS is proving to be invaluable in providing online resources which embrace ebooks and websites to support subjects that may need more resources.
As part of this process, I refer to the NESA syllabus subject documents to locate search terms or topics where there need to be more resources to be added to our collection. It is useful to have previewed and purchased an online recording from SCIS about how to enhance our collection. This recording has provided me with a broadened capability to search for resources not only in the “basic” search function but also in the “Advanced” search function. Another feature of SCIS is that it allows our online collection to be dynamic and it catalogues resources that align with syllabus changes and the diverse community of users in a comprehensive high school setting.
Have you ever thought “where can I find a resource for teaching?”, then started from scratch, reinvented the wheel and later found something on the internet that would have been perfect? Sometimes there are some great things out there that we’ve forgotten about or that have just gotten lost in the noise.
We’ve put together a small list of things that might be helpful – and we’d love you to continue the discussion in the comments with resources and pages you’ve found useful yourself in your library and internet
The Little Bookroom is a children’s bookshop in Melbourne and they’ve created a thriving and dynamic reading community, offering resources, events and advice for children, families and libraries to identify and choose books suited to their needs. Their website is a great resource because it has book lists and articles which give information and recommendations about topics that sometimes can be difficult to identify appropriate resources for, like:
Books for reluctant readers
Books with neurodiverse characters
Books for advanced younger readers
Books about consent, boundaries and respectful relationships
Books about families and rainbow families
Books about First Nations and People of Colour
…among many others. The Little Bookroom also has a newsletter for teachers and librarians. You can subscribe to hear about current events and contemporary topics in children’s literature.
This one is so useful in a library administrative sense, if you want to know more about how other libraries are classifying books (checking on a dewey number etc) or if you’re searching for a resource and you want to know which libraries have it. Then, of course, it has digitised newspapers, archived websites and some maps and images can be viewed online. It’s literally a treasure trove of information!
Is this one even hidden? But it’s sometimes forgotten, so we’ve included it here. You’ll never have to make a library orientation scavenger hunt checklist, set up a makerspace or make a poster about how to care for library books from scratch ever again if you use Pinterest for ideas! Just go to Pinterest and search something like “resources for school libraries” or you can be more specific if you want book lists, printables, lesson plans or games. There are so many free resources out there, it’s outrageous!
This one has lots of interactions and interviews with YA authors, and is a great way to stay up to date with news, events and trends in Australian Young Adult literature – a great resource both for teaching and for collection development.
The State Libraries
So. Many. Resources.
Sure, Trove is the National Library of Australia, but the State Libraries and the National Library of New Zealand have so much specifically for families, students and teachers…
Highlights: https://natlib.govt.nz/schools which contains lots of resources for schools and students, including epic readers and topic explorers, professional development and a blog with current news and insights.
The website for ACMI has heaps of free learning resources and lessons for teachers and students on their “Schools and Teachers” page, and they’re here to support you not only through onsite incursions but virtually as well – take a look, especially if you’re interested in gamification in the classroom, as there’s a fantastic Game Lessons library that’s just been launched. Amazing!
My own kids prefer to get their reading recommendations from #booktok than from me – check it out to see what teens are reading and recommending, and what they’re talking about. If you want to focus on inclusivity and diversity in your library acquisitions, this is a great place to start. See the article from SCIS Connections Magazine issue 115, “Tiktok and Libraries: a powerful connection” for more information about Librarians on Tiktok.
The #Bookstagram hashtag will show you similar content, but on Instagram. Highlights include the accounts @booksfordiversity and @helpingkidsrise for diverse and uplifting content and @laneysbookcorner and @brookes.bookstagram for great Australian content.
These librarians and readers will inspire you and your students, presenting information about what librarians do and can do, as well as book recommendations, and generally promoting books, libraries and reading in a relatable way. They may also inspire you to start your own Tiktok – and there are plenty of “how-to” guides for this on the internet, including one by Kelsey Bogan herself.
The SCIS database is well known for its high-quality catalogue records. We sometimes receive queries from SCIS subscribers about inconsistencies in our records. However, these are often the result of standards changes that have occurred over SCIS’s lifetime. This article highlights some changes that have affected SCIS records, and other factors that may contribute to inconsistency in some records.
Cataloguing rules for resource description have changed
The earliest SCIS records were created in the 1980s, when we used AACR2 (Anglo-American cataloguing rules) to create our records. Over the years, AACR2 changed and we amended our processes with it. In 2013, SCIS implemented international standard, RDA (Resource Description and Access), which created many new changes in records. These include the following:
There is no longer a rule of three. If there are more than three authors, the first named person is given main entry. In AACR2, this would have been title main entry. SCIS applies the RDA option to name only the first person,
or corporate body in the statement of responsibility if there are more than three, and to spell out the number of the others; for example, ‘Susan Jones [and four others]’.
There are no more abbreviations, unless they appear on the work itself. For example, the edition statement will vary according to how it appears on the item, such as ‘Second edition’ or ‘2nd edition’.
GMD (General Material Designation) is no longer in use. This has been replaced by three new RDA MARC fields — 336, 337 and 338 — for information on content, media and carrier. Using these three RDA fields, SCIS has developed a ‘Resource type’ vocabulary to help our subscribers easily identify the resource type for each record.
The 260 MARC field is no longer used for publication data. It has been replaced by MARC field 264, which makes a distinction between the functions of publication, distribution, manufacture, and copyright. Most SCIS records record publication details; for example, Sydney, NSW: HarperCollins Publishers, 2013.
Square brackets are only used in RDA when information is not found on the item in hand. For example, The Girl and the Ghost, published by the author Ebony McKenna has no place of publication to be found on the resource itself. The place of publication is recorded as [Melbourne, Victoria], as information taken from Amazon shows that the author lives in Melbourne.
The implementation of diacritics
From January 2018, SCIS has applied diacritical marks in subject, name and series authorities. Diacritics have not been applied for SCIS records in the past, for example for Māori terms, as some library software could not display them. However, this is no longer an issue for vendors.
Changes in SCIS standards
SCIS standards are continuously reviewed and updated in order to meet customer demands as well as internal cataloguing needs. Where possible, we do run processes to apply these revisions to older catalogue records. However, we are not always in a position to make amendments to works that were catalogued before the standards were revised. Some examples follow.
Fictional works in rhyme, such as those by Dr Seuss, are no longer classified as poetry and their subject headings are no longer given Poetry subdivisions. They are now classified as F for Fiction, with the Fiction subdivision being used, and the additional genre heading ‘Stories in rhyme’.
Series sequential numbering terms such as Bk., Book, No., Number, Pt., Part, Vol., Volume and Issue are no longer included in the series heading, MARC field 830. RDA requires us to copy information from the book in hand exactly, although this can lead to inconsistencies in series filing. For example, what might be Bk. 1 in one country becomes Vol. 1 in another. In order to remove these inconsistencies, SCIS revised its cataloguing standards in May 2018 to simply record the series number and not record the designation (book, volume, etc.). An exception to this policy is to use the term ‘episode’ with numbering of television series.
SCIS adheres to RDA, which states that cataloguers need to record data from the resource, as it appears. This can lead, in some cases, to inconsistencies due to the way information is recorded on each particular item. For example, differing terms are used among publishers for the place of publication, for example NSW, N.S.W. or New South Wales. Because the RDA instruction is to record data from the resource itself, as it appears, publisher names and places of publication cannot be standardised.
Another common issue is the use of duplicate ISBNs. Sometimes publishers will give the same ISBNs to multiple titles they have published. RDA requires us to record this information as is.
Items in a series present special problems to cataloguers, often because of decisions made by publishers. Some examples follow.
Changes in the series title when published in another country: For example, the series ‘The Saga of Darren Shan’, first published in the UK, is known in the US as ‘Cirque du Freak’.
Classification: In general, all books in a series should have the same type of classification — either fiction or non-fiction. However, the content of the item is the most important part of determining the classification so there have been rare occasions when this has not happened (for example, a series on countries having a mixture of history and geography numbers). These records with inconsistent classifications are being amended as we become aware of them.
Subject heading inconsistencies in fiction series: Although most fiction series have the same characters and common themes, the content of the item will determine the subject headings. For example, the series Pippa’s Island has additional subject headings, as well as the same headings such as ‘Islands–Fiction’ and ‘School stories’. The second book, Cub Reporters, has the headings ‘Reporters and reporting–Fiction’, ‘Journalists’ and ‘School publications’, whereas Book 4, Camp Castaway, has the headings ‘Outdoor education’ and ‘School campsites’.
Differing sequences for subseries, especially in reading sets; for example, a variety of sequences for levels, colours, and numbering: These differing sequences make it difficult for users searching series titles. Again, since RDA requires us to transcribe the item as is, we must copy the information as the publisher presents it in the series statement, MARC field 490.
Where possible, we are standardising the series headings, MARC field 830, for users’ benefit. In 2018 SCIS introduced series authority files to address these publisher inconsistencies in series titles. We are undertaking retrospective authorising to series headings allocated in the past 10 years.
Changes to subject headings
To meet users’ needs, SCIS cataloguers are constantly revising subject headings and establishing new ones for terms in common usage; for example, ‘Cyberbullying’, and new curriculum terms such as ‘STEM education’. However, early works on these topics may not have the most specific subject headings because they had not been established at the time.
It sometimes appears that resources with similar content have different, or inconsistent, DDC numbers. However, there are reasons for this:
Classification varies according to the content of the item: For example, general works on the incidence of COVID-19 (614.592414) and medical works on COVID-19 (616.2414), have different content so will have different Dewey numbers.
There are also differences in classification due to updates of DDC: For example, in DDC edition 22, graphic arts were classed in 760 (Printmaking and prints), but are now, in DDC edition 23, classed in 740 (Graphic arts and decorative arts).
Differences occur due to cataloguer interpretation: For example, a book about trees and flowers could be classed under Trees, 582.16 — or Flowers, 582.13 — depending on how much of the content is, in the cataloguer’s opinion, about trees or flowers.
Prepublication and catalogue request items
With an increasing amount of SCIS records being produced from information sourced from online cataloguing requests and publishers’ websites, there may be differences between the information given in the SCIS record and that found in the actual resource. Cataloguers create the best possible record based on the data presented to them. This is why we prefer to catalogue from the item in hand and, where this is not possible, request scanned images of the publisher information pages, title page, etc. If that information is not given, we must wait until we receive the item at one of our offices to update the record and confirm that everything is correct.
We run regular quality assurance tests to help us identify and correct any inconsistencies in records. To help us maintain the high quality of our records, we would appreciate it if you would let us know any errors or inconsistencies that fall outside the areas mentioned above. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finding the best learning resources for your school is a task that requires a complex range of skills and connections with various and specific stakeholders. Teacher librarians have these skills and work hard to pair the right learning materials for their teachers and students.
The Educational Publishing Awards of Australia can be a great way to connect with the latest trends and innovative offerings from Australian publishers, who collectively produce roughly 2000 new titles per year. The Awards, known as the EPAAs (said Eeepars), are built on the principles of education research and innovation, and showcase the titles launched to the education market in the previous year.
An important aspect of the EPAAs, which relies on the participation of teacher librarians, is the Publisher of the Year survey. The survey collects valuable information about publishers’ product quality, field services, company services, marketing and innovation. Data is analysed and the publisher voted as “the best” is celebrated at the Awards ceremony. This information is used to improve the industry for the benefit of teachers and students.
One teacher librarian who has followed the EPAAs for a long time and completes the survey each year is Tasmanian based, Dr Jillian Abell. Dr Abell says she uses the Awards as a way to get a good overview of current new resources.
“The EPAAs are invaluable to teachers in their selection and evaluation of recommended resources,” Abell says. “In addition, as a teacher librarian, I followed the Awards to learn more about reputable trends in educational publishing for each of the disciplines/key learning areas and age-appropriate learning materials. I would purchase as many as I could, and certainly disseminate the information to staff. For example, it is always a trusted way to get an overview of new resourcing, such as peer-reviewed materials to support First Nations.”
Understanding what a teacher librarian does is helpful for Australian publishers. Dr Abell explains, “Teacher librarians develop extensive cross-curriculum knowledge and expertise for the skilful selection and evaluation of resources to be purchased across all educational levels and areas of learning support. They are experienced with identifying reputable and new works of interest through authors’ reviews, editors’ notes and Australian publishers’ blurbs. They understand the market trends, publication costs and quality of the digital or multi-modal resources. They can predict how a resource might be used by teachers and students and the wider school community.”
On the relationships between educators and publishers: “The collaboration and valued connections are well-developed over time through publishers’ generosity in showcasing and invitations to educators to be part of an awards process. After all, this process is an important part of teachers and teacher librarians meeting many of their Australian professional teaching standards (AITSL) and engaging with each other to select and use appropriate resources and participate in professional learning networks,” Dr Abell says.
2020 was certainly a disruptive year for the education sector, but while educational publishers responded to the pandemic by opening up access to resources to transition learning online, new resources were also finalised and made available.
The Educational Publisher Awards of Australia 2021 will showcase these resources from 2020.
The EPAA event will be held on 9 September 2021.
The Publisher of the Year survey, where book prizes are on offer, will open in late May.
Dr Jillian Abell AALIA, FACE, FACEL is President, Network of Educational Associations of Tasmania (NEAT); Director, Australian Professional Teaching Association (APTA); Chair, Tasmania Branch of the Australian College of Educators (ACE).