Welcome to 1999

By Kevin Gove

Welcome to the first edition of Connections for this last year of the millennium. What will the next one bring? I am not silly enough to try to predict. But I find an interesting litmus test for social and political issues is to ask: What will people in 2099 think of our era? By what good deeds would we wish to be judged? I fear that some recent developments in Australian society will not be regarded very highly.

For SCIS, though, it is already the beginning of a new age. Last year was a transition year. We introduced the two new SCIS products, SCISWeb and SCISCO, while maintaining customer access to most of the existing products. In 1999 we will be offering only SCISWeb and SCISCO, enabling us to further simplify the operating environment of the service and create greater reliability and cost effectiveness. This 'new' SCIS service is now well and truly bedded down. The new products have proven to be reliable and easy to use. We have upgraded the Voyager software (on which SCIS is based) to the latest version, joining over 350 Voyager customers worldwide, including organisations such as Auckland and Monash Universities, the US Library of Congress, the National Library of New Zealand, and the National Geographic Society. This well-supported infrastructure will enable SCIS to continue to provide customers with 'world best' services.

In 1999 we will be building on our solid base to provide further services to nearly 7,000 SCIS subscriber school communities -almost 70% of all Australian schools!

This year we will be focusing on the SCIS Subject Headings. We will undertake a major review of the Subject Headings List looking at content and applicability for use within online metadata standards, such as EdNA. This will lead to an updated edition of the Subject Headings publication, as well as electronic versions. Metadata is a growing area of interest both nationally and internationally, but it is often accompanied by much hype and jargon for what are essentially simple ideas. We will publish articles in Connections throughout 1999 dealing with these issues.

We will also be examining ways of enriching both the scope and depth of SCIS records. A national project is underway to examine the costs and benefits of creating SCIS cataloguing records for selected Internet sites. We will also explore the costs and benefits of including additional details (such as reviews or tables of contents) to enrich the SCIS data for bibliographic search purposes. The results of this work will be reported in Connections.

We are very keen to hear your thoughts about these possible developments of SCIS.

Our team

For 1999 we have several changes to the SCIS team at Curriculum Corporation. Ellen Paxton, the National Cataloguing Coordinator, left us during 1998. We are pleased to welcome Cherryl Schauder to take her place, bringing with her a wealth of cataloguing, indexing and metadata experience and knowledge. Tricia Nathan continues in marketing and customer support. Jan Matthews provides technical support, product development and liaison with library automation suppliers. Maxine Campbell undertakes SCIS database maintenance and coordinates production processes. Keith Gove continues to manage the SCIS Unit within Curriculum Corporation.

The management of information is a crucial task for any organisation. It is particularly important for those involved in education. This task is made more demanding by the recent explosion of information resources and sources. Our aim is to support schools in this work. As well as our core SCISWeb, SCISCO and Subject Headings products we sponsored the SCIS Oration at the ASLA XVI Conference (see reports on page 1 and below). We are pleased to offer several new products (barcode scanners and modems: see details on page 3) to assist Teacher Librarians.

We hope that we can help make your transition to the forthcoming millennium as painless as possible.

Kevin Gove

Manager, Information Services