SCIS is more

By Ben Chadwick

Updates and news from the School Catalogue Information Service (SCIS).

Change is the only constant. In last issue’s ‘SCIS is more’, I mentioned some of the features in the new SCIS website due for release in late 2017. We’ve made a lot of progress and every day is exciting as we see it come together.

The SCIS preferences settings you are used to will see some changes in the new website. We will no longer offer the option to retain genre headings in the MARC 650 Topical Subject Headings field. Genres are genres, and we believe it is wrong to treat them as topics. After all, Harry Potter books are not about school stories, they are school stories. SCIS recently completed a large project to retrospectively move all of our genre headings into the dedicated MARC 655 field, and our new system will support full search, faceting, and display by genre.

We will no longer offer the ‘SCIS’ record format, but offer library industry standard formats including MARC-21, MARC-XML, and MODS-XML. In addition, we will only be offering our Authority Files in the industry standard MARC-21 format and dropping the ‘ASCII’ format. We have been in discussion with library system partners to ensure they are ready to support these changes.

A few other features on the new site will include:

  • a simple, streamlined login environment
  • capacity to build your own collections in the SCIS database (imagine ‘wishlist’ or ‘websites for the geography department’)
  • easily curated and downloadable records for recent digital content (apps, websites, digital video)
  • easy download of records from a database search
  • a search for DVDs directly from the record-ordering page (instead of going to the catalogue separately)
  • faster search and improved search options, including faceting by fiction and non-fiction, genre, and key learning areas
  • a user-friendly system for requesting cataloguing, sending items to your nearest SCIS cataloguer, and tracking their progress.

In preparation for this system, and after consultation with our library system partners, we have made some significant changes in our data and standards. For starters, our RDA implementation has taken its next step with the adoption of the MARC 264 production/publication details field, and the cessation of the GMD in the MARC 245 field.

We have also taken large steps to improve discoverability in two areas very important to young readers: genres and series. Our big genre heading clean-up project will enable systems to display and provide search on these headings. Also, after listening to significant feedback about the difficulties of searching on and displaying series titles, we have commenced cataloguing series authorities. This is a significant step that SCIS is taking within the broader international libraries community because we believe it will provide schools with valuable consistency in the naming and coverage of series across titles, despite the vagaries of the information publishers provide. Thanks for your feedback — it made this happen.

The simplified invoicing process in the new system means that invoices this year will be sent via email rather than post. Please make sure your email address is up to date in your SCIS profile. We will provide full training on the new site as we get closer to release.

We’ll also be attending ASLA and SLANZA this year to talk in more detail about some of the features. We hope to see you there.

Ben Chadwick

Ben Chadwick

Manager, SCIS

Education Services Australia