SCIS is more

By Ben Chadwick

Dr Ben Chadwick reflects on 30 years of Connections

This issue celebrates thirty years of Connections magazine. Can you believe it? Thirty years ago SCIS decided it needed a way to keep readers abreast of changing school library technologies and informed about developments in SCIS’s products and services.

The first issue dealt with dial-up, CD-ROMs, and microfiche. I have been fortunate enough to be involved in work over the past few years to digitise all issues of Connections, so you can have a look at Issue 1 for yourself. The inaugural editor was Dianne Lewis, and SCIS Manager at the time was Lance Deveson. One of my favourite Connections articles is a retrospective Lance put together for us five years ago, for the 100th edition of Connections.

I have been involved with SCIS for close to ten years, first as a ‘Metadata Analyst’ and then as SCIS Manager. I am now Director of Research and Information Services at ESA. Caroline Hartley recently bid farewell to SCIS to follow her career in the educational publishing industry, and this puts me back holding the reins again (at least temporarily).

During my time with SCIS the contributions to Connections have been really remarkable. If you’ll indulge me I would like to mention a whole bunch of people by name. I should start by acknowledging former Connections editor and long-time contributor Nigel Paull, who has written our website reviews (now website & app reviews) since 1999. I have worked with a number of other fabulous Connections editors: Thank you to Meelee Soorkia, Laura Armstrong, Nicole Richardson, Carmen Eastman and, most recently, Daniel Czech.

We’ve had a lot of informative and practical articles contributed by our own cataloguing staff, including Renate Beilharz, Natasha Campbell, Mavis Heffernan, Ceinwen Jones, Julie Styles, and Doreen Sullivan.

We have had contributions from incredible authors, both as feature articles and in support of the Australian Lending Right Schemes. Names that spring to mind include Deborah Abela, Aaron Blabey, Ursula Dubosarsky, Hazel Edwards, Anna Fienberg, Mem Fox, Jackie French, Morris Gleitzman, Leigh Hobbs, Toni Jordan, Andrew Joyner, John Marsden, Tania McCarthy, James Moloney, Sally Rippin, Emily Rodda, Nova Weetman and Nadia Wheatley, amongst many, many others.

Most importantly, Connections has been a reliable avenue for school library staff to contribute their voices, exchange ideas, discuss issues, and share concerns. In my time there have been contributions from a huge number of folk from the school library community from across Australia, New Zealand and the UK, including serial contributors such as Catherine Barnes, Lucy Chambers, Jackie Child, Susan Davenport, Madeleine Galbraith, Martin Gray, Karys McEwan, Kay Oddone, Helen Stower and Chelsea Quake.

Connections is a unique publication in the school library space. Given that it continues to be published and distributed in hard-copy form throughout Australia, I think it is also quite special in the periodicals publishing world more generally. We love hearing stories about the joy school library staff feel at receiving our little publication in the post every quarter.

Thank you again to all our contributors over the years, and thanks to those who will do so over many years to come. I feel really proud to be a part of such a consistent and valued institution in the school library landscape. I hope you enjoy this issue!

Ben Chadwick

Ben Chadwick

Director, Research and Information Services

Education Services Australia