Term 4 1998
SCISWeb is a Winner
Fay Gardiner has been a Teacher Librarian in several primary schools in NSW and is a former editor of Scan. She has recently taken up the role of Teacher Librarian at a new school, Glenmore Park Primary, in Western Sydney.
In October last year, the word filtered through that our SCIS cataloguing records would be available via the Internet in 1998, with a flat annual fee and unlimited access to download records. Setting up a library in a new school, as I am, on a shoestring budget, as most of us are, every dollar counts, so I immediately stopped sending off my Rapid Retrospective orders.
For some silly reason, I'd expected to get started pretty much in the first week or so of the year on the backlog that had accumulated in quite a wondrous way considering I had run out of money about June. How could I forget that the forces that thwart Teacher Librarians' good intentions live and breed in the heady world of books? My problems were associated with machines (dating back only to the beginning of 1997) which came without appropriate drives, and companies which are divorced from any concept of school libraries as desperately busy places maintained by people who work in a constantly time-voracious state. The revelation that I could use our Macintosh for Internet access was the solution to one major crisis when the OASIS computer said a firm and unequivocal 'no' to having modems installed; I'll challenge it again though at a future date.
Come week five or six however I had our user id and entry password and we got started on transferring the resources from the groaning shelves to their temporary destination on the borrowing shelves. The SCIS Internet access, ordering and downloading was so easy that I couldn't believe it. We did strike a problem however with the barcodes. My accessioning procedure has always begun with stamping; pencilling in on the back cover the supplier, cost and invoice no; and whacking the barcode on the front cover. To my dismay I discovered that downloading from SCISWeb doesn't allow one to turn off the next barcode number field as Rapid Retro does, so we were stuck, literally, with hundreds of resources that needed the B4P1 (OASIS procedure) treatment. Thank heaven this is the Year of Good Library Monitors at Glenmore Park. In addition, I put an alert email on the OZTLNET immediately in the hope of saving others from a similar fate.
All of this notwithstanding we processed over 800 resources before the end of term one. I love that little window on SCISWeb that tells us how many we've done. Part way through term two we had added about another 200, and we tackled the SCISCO rejects, finding just about all of them on SCISWeb. The SCISWeb is a marvellous adjunct to SCISCO in my situation.
For some reason my OASIS computer has to be coaxed into accepting the download-usually refuses it but when it discovers that I'm going to keep H1 G2ing (OASIS procedure) until it agrees, it has the wisdom to accept what it can't change. At this stage, humans can still win.
A few years back I was involved with a group of visiting Canadian Teacher Librarians who coveted our SCIS, the envy of the world they said -and that was in the days of slow, eye-wrecking microfiche. I am grateful indeed that we are blessed with these creative people, both those who have such great ideas and those who can turn the ideas into practice