SCIS is more

By Caroline Hartley

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

Welcome to the Term 2, 2021 issue of Connections.

Thank you to everyone who responded to our SCIS User Survey. We appreciate you taking the time to share your ideas on a range of topics that can help us provide better service to the school library community.

When reviewing the most searched for Help articles about SCIS, many people are interested in what SCIS is and what we provide to our subscribers.

SCIS cataloguers use the cataloguing system to create bibliographic data for resources used in schools. The ‘bib’ data is created in a machine-readable format called MARC-21 and according to the international Resource Description and Analysis (RDA) guidelines and the SCIS Standards for Cataloguing and Data Entry (SSCDE), which is governed by the Information Services Standards Committee (ISSC).

Schools subscribe to SCIS to provide library data to their students that is consistent and of the highest quality. To meet these expectations, SCIS cataloguers create original data by (where possible) physical inspection of the items they are cataloguing. We know that our subscribers expect data that best meets students’ learning needs by optimising their search and discovery results in their library management system. To achieve this, the SCIS team creates data including Dewey Decimal classifications and ‘authorised access points’. Access points are formally devised headings with a reference structure, including the names of people and corporations, series titles, genres, and topics. A reference structure includes pointing related headings to each other (e.g. ‘Science Fiction’ is related to ‘Dystopian Fiction’; ‘Greyhounds’ are a narrower example of ‘dogs’) or it may involve clarifying ambiguity due to synonyms for like-concepts (e.g. ‘wildfires’ are considered the same as ‘bushfires’). This reference data is stored in the SCIS Name Authorities, Subject Authorities, and Series Authorities.

We also add headings from the Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT) to each record. ScOT is a collection of curriculum-related topics owned and managed by Education Services Australia and used to tag and describe the Australian Curriculum itself. ScOT headings provide a direct link between records and Australian Curriculum content descriptions. ScOT is licensed for educational non-commercial use.

The entire SCIS database can be searched from, and some subscribers like to do this to help them select new resources to purchase for their library or help them meet curriculum needs.

Thank you again for your feedback on using SCIS. We invite you to connect with us via our social media channels. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and contact us via [email protected].

Caroline Hartley

Caroline Hartley

SCIS Manager

Education Services Australia