SCIS is more

By Caroline Ramsden

News and updates from the Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS)

2019 is racing along — welcome to Issue 111 of Connections!

SCIS Data as a selection tool

Many of you are now using either Z39.50 or the SCIS API to import records from SCIS Data into your library management systems. This seamless and efficient workflow has many benefits for users.

SCIS also provides an OPAC search via the web, and we have added some additional services to the SCIS Data site that make it a useful tool to aid in sourcing and selecting resources for your library.

Featured categories

The Featured categories on the SCIS Data search page provide a quick and easy way to source resources and records for websites, apps, e-books and digital videos. Click the category you want to search to see a list of records for that type of resource. From there, you can filter your search by date, learning area, subject, genre, audience, and country of publication to find the resources to match your needs.

Additional metadata

SCIS Data includes information about learning areas, which can be used to refine searches or to find similar resources. This is an additional feature to enhance searching on SCIS Data, and is not part of the record that you download. Additional data can also be used to filter searches by material type.

Enriched content

SCIS Data includes additional information via our subscription to Syndetics. Where the information is available, the record consists of summaries and annotations, author notes, authoritative reviews, and series information. Through our subscription to LibraryThing for Libraries, we can also provide community-generated content including recommendations, tags, and links to other editions and similar items. This additional information can be used to help with searching and selection of records, but is not included in the downloaded record.


In 2018, SCIS released its API, providing an alternative to Z39.50 for searching and downloading records from SCIS. Many library system vendors are now using this to integrate with SCIS. The SCIS API provides several advantages over Z39.50, including:

  • alternative download formats
  • implementation of customer preferences — the SCIS website allows you to select your preference for abridged or full Dewey numbers, and whether you want ScOT curriculum-based headings included. These preferences are recognised when records are downloaded via the API, but are not part of the Z39.50 protocol
  • conversion between 10- and 13-digit ISBNs.

You can read more about the SCIS API in a recent blog post by Rachel Elliott.

Conferences and professional learning

Look out for us at upcoming conferences in Term 4. SCIS will be at ALIA’s National Library and Information Technicians’ Symposium in Melbourne on 13–15 November, and at the SLAV November Conference on 29 November.

Keep an eye on our Professional learning page for details of upcoming webinars, where you can register online. Registered participants will be sent a link to view the recording online, so if you cannot attend at the scheduled time, you can still access the webinar.

Caroline Ramsden

Caroline Ramsden

SCIS Manager

Education Services Australia