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.
For anyone who may follow us on social media, or has chatted to the team recently, you may be aware that SCIS keeps talking about our ‘big infrastructure upgrade’. This is the result of three years of quantitative and qualitative market research – thank you once again to everyone who has provided feedback along the way.
So here’s a little more detail about what a SCIS infrastructure upgrade means, and why we’re so excited.
Since early 2014, SCIS has been working through its RDA implementation plan. For those who are not familiar with RDA, it stands for Resource Description and Access, the cataloguing standard introduced to replace Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AARC2).
SCIS is very pleased to announce the next major step in that plan. From April 2017, SCIS will cease use of the GMD (General Material Designation), a set of deprecated terms used to describe the ‘Type’ of resource.
SCIS will now use the RDA cataloguing standard of ‘Content, media and carrier type’ to describe the resource. This comes after consultation with, and preparation by, the library management systems who distribute SCIS metadata. While use of RDA for type was adopted as a SCIS cataloguing standard in 2013, GMD was maintained in order to support older systems, a move which is no longer necessary.
There has been some discussion at SCIS about how schools treat picture books that rhyme. It has been SCIS practice to classify stories in rhyme picture books as poetry, with each book allocated a Dewey Decimal number. However, feedback in workshops and surveys indicate that this did not reflect the preferred classification in schools.
The Information Services Standards Committee (ISSC) meets regularly to discuss and make revisions to the SCIS Standards for Cataloguing and Data Entry, and this issue was recently discussed during a teleconference with the committee. The decision was made on behalf of the ISSC to classify stories in rhyme picture books as fiction, intending to make browsing easier for students and staff in schools. This will also save you the time spent changing the classifications manually.
We want to make sure our catalogue records continue to meet the needs of our subscribers. Can you spare ten minutes to complete this survey so we can understand how resources are being managed in school libraries?
All survey respondents will go in the draw to win a $250 book card.
It is SCIS policy to assign genre headings to works of fiction, including fictional films, television programs, etc. In some cases more than one genre heading may be assigned, as well as subject headings from a theme. Obviously not all SCIS records will contain a genre heading.
To see which records in your library contain any of the above headings, you can do a subject search within your library system. Similarly, if you want to see which records on the SCIS database have been given genre headings, you can login to SCIS OPAC:
In the ‘Search’ box type in the genre heading, for example ‘school stories.’
Select ‘as a phrase’ from the drop down menu.
Select ‘subject’ from the second drop down menu.
Once you retrieve your results, you can then select ‘Publication (most recent first)’ from the ‘Sort by’ drop down menu.
Taking the guesswork out of genre by Brendan Eichholzer, from the latest issue of Connections, explores the issues of shelving by genre. He argues that ‘Knowing where each book lives is a key component of the job description.’
If you are thinking of genre-fying the library there are some excellent posts from colleagues outlining the processes they have gone through – here are two of them:
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.
This SCIS Asks 2013 presentation by Alan Manifold, Digital and Library Applications Manager at the State Library of Victoria sets the future of library discovery architecture in the context of the evolution of library systems and search. Alan outlined the purpose of metadata as being to:
He postulated that the format of the item no longer matters, it is about providing connections between resource and curriculum and resources inside and outside the library. The catalogue which was once designed for inventory control has morphed into a search engine.
Alan posed questions about the evolution in libraries and catalogues in the age of electronic resources, searchable full text and mega-aggregate sites. He touched upon discovery products such as EBSCO,WorldCat Local and the State Library of Victoria’s Primo Central. A useful observation was that while school students need authoritative information as soon as possible, they tend not to require a specific title or edition of a work.
His advice was that SCIS needs to provide connections between resources and curriculum and external indexes and search platforms. He recommends SCIS
continue to provide quality metadata
increase the connecting of resources with curriculum
work on linking controlled vocabularies
highlight diversity of resources and formats and
explore ways to rate materials
Education Services records its thanks to Alan for his clear thinking and recommendations.
RDA will be a new standard for resource description and access, designed for the digital world.
Built on foundations established by the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR), RDA will provide a comprehensive set of guidelines and instructions on resource description and access covering all types of content and media.
RDA will enable users of library catalogues and other systems of information organization to find, identify, select, and obtain resources appropriate to their information needs.
During the period of RDA development, the library and cataloguing world updated some key cataloguing principles and developed some conceptual models for resource discovery. RDA is built on these new conceptual models.
If we remember that the highest principle of the International Cataloguing Principles is the ‘convenience of the user’ RDA has aligned with the ICP principles: find, identify, select, obtain. Through RDA we can practise what we preach and work to improve search results and the way these results are displayed. RDA is very much about the user and functionality; focused on users – not items.
The RDA cataloguing standard is designed precisely for an online environment. RDA’s element set has been clearly defined, and incorporated into the Open Metadata Registry, which is a set of RDF-based controlled vocabularies, and a fundamental piece of technical infrastructure for the Semantic Web.
Renate’s overview led into a presentation by SCIS Cataloguing Team Leader, Pam Kadow, outlining proposed changes to the SCIS Standards for Cataloguing and Data Entry for alignment with RDA commencing the second quarter of 2013.
Below is an important message about a change to the SCIS Cataloguing Standards which was sent to school library management system vendors on 31 March 2011.
The MARC 440 field (Series statement/Added entry – Title) was made obsolete in the international standard in 2008.
In 2009 SCIS announced its intention to stop using 440 and use both the 490 and 830 tags as prescribed in the standard. Tag 490 is part of the description of the resource, and contains the series statement as it appears on the item; tag 830 is the series access point or added entry. In some cases the data in the two fields may be identical. SCIS does not use fields 800, 810 and 811 as it prefers to provide series access by title rather than name/title.
For new records, SCIS is now using 490 and 830 as required. Records created prior to the changeover retain the series added entry in the 440 field. Your local system should provide for searching and displaying both 440 and 830 as series titles. Both 490 and 830 are repeatable, ie there may be more than one 490 or 830 in a single record.
You can find some examples of 490 and 830 fields in the updated MARC coding section of the SCIS standards.
Library system vendors have indicated that they either already support this standard, or are planning to implement it and that school libraries should experience minimal change as a result of this update. Please contact your support person if you have further questions about how this works in your system.
A more in-depth article on the series cataloguing standards change will be available in Connections Issue 77 arriving in schools in Term 2 2011.