CC News

By Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS)

1. The dot...

This time last year there was considerable ballyhoo about the new millennium, not to mention debate about whether it was in fact the millennium. Well, I'm not sure that too many people care now. One year is much like any other these days, although the likeness is in their differences: 'the only constant is change'. Perhaps one other constant is the growth of 'the dot' - that is, 'dot corn' business and e-commerce. SCIS became 'dotted' (in the sense of online delivery) several years ago but, as I explain further below, we are yet to fully embrace schools' needs for increasingly digital content, including Internet sites, electronic journals and so on. That is our big challenge for 2001, and we look forward to working with our colleagues in schools, state and territory departments and library software vendors to achieve this.

The year 2000 was a productive one for SCIS. Schools downloaded another 4 million records from the SCIS database, saving about $30m in Teacher Librarian time. We hit the '1,000 unique users in a day' mark during the year, making SCIS one of the more heavily used school sites in Australia. SCIS undertook the survey of school library holdings on behalf of the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts' Educational Lending Right project. We launched a new product, the SCIS Authority Files, which has been received with much enthusiasm by school libraries.

In November 2000, the Curriculum Corporation Board endorsed a strategic plan for SCIS for 2001-2002. We have three major goals The first goal is to ensure that SCIS products and services respond to schools' evolving needs, especially in the management of digital resources. We are aware that schools are developing a range of strategies and practices to manage digital resources and their integration with physical resources, and we have instigated research into schools' needs in this area. We will also contribute to an improved understanding by Teacher Librarians of subject headings, controlled vocabularies, and resource discovery and search strategies. In addition we will continue to liaise with library system vendors and assist library automation systems to meet school library needs.

The second goal is to consolidate SCIS Subject Headings as the primary control led vocabulary for resource discovery for Australasian schools. This will involve close liaison with limited (which manages EdNA Online) and others to facilitate the shared creation of SCIS, EdNA and other metadata records. We will also undertake a major review of the SCIS Subject Headings list to create a more comprehensive thesaurus structure, broaden the definition of literary warrant, introduce new language to reflect outcomes-based curriculum, increase the specificity of headings to cater for digital resources and ensure that the headings are driven by student learning needs.

Our third goal is to review and re-engineer work practices within the SCIS unit to utilise new information and communication technologies.

The SCIS team for 2001 is· Tricia Nathan (Marketing, Customer Support, Client Relations), Jenny Baran (Customer Support, Client Relations), Jan Matthews (ProductDevelopment, Technical Support), Leonie Bourke, who joined us in 2000 (Voyager System Support, Cataloguing, Special Projects), and Steven Haby, who will take up our senior Cataloguing and Metadata position early in 2001. 2001 is shaping up to be a challenging year. We will keep you informed!

Keith Gove
General Manager, Operations
Curriculum Corporation

2. SCIS 2000 National Conference

Delegates from Curriculum Corporation, national SCIS cataloguing agencies, Charles Sturt University and met in Canberra on 27-28 October, directly after the ALIA Conference. We were pleased to welcome guest speakers including Karen Visser and Maureen Waterhouse, Teacher Librarians from Merici College, Joan McKay, Teacher Librarian from Dickson College, and Margaret Brookes and Mandy Cox from the Educational Lending Right Project.

The main purpose of the conference was to identify major influences on SCIS and to propose strategic directions for the service for 2001-2002. Other outcomes from the conference include:
• Endorsement of the continuation of website cataloguing. A number of opportunities for improving this service were discussed, including identification and reporting of dead links, systematic reviews of website content and sharing and conversion of data between SCIS and EdNA.
• The Table of Contents trial indicates that the project is sustainable and worthwhile, and will therefore be incorporated into the SCIS Standards for Cataloguing and Data Entry.
• The use of summaries or abstracts to further enhance subject access will be investigated.
• A review of the nature and intent of the SCIS Subject Headings list will be undertaken, recognising that the list is now being used in ways not envisaged when it was originally developed.
• SCIS will investigate making the Voyager cataloguing module available to teaching institutions to assist in the understanding and function of controlled vocabularies.

Note: Teaching institutions already have access to SCISWeb with emphasis on the use of SCIS OPAC as part of the cataloguing and resource collections development units.

Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS)