SCIS is more

By Dr Ben Chadwick

Updates and news from the School Catalogue Information Service (SCIS).

Welcome to Connections 91. Thank you to Laura Armstrong, our Connections editor, for another sterling effort and wonderful end-product.

You Say Goodbye, I say Hello

There have been some significant changes in the SCIS camp since Connections 90. Perhaps the most obvious one is the departure of Pru Mitchell as SCIS Manager. Who could possibly replace Pru, a veteran and acknowledged guru in the school libraries industry? Well, I thought I might give it a go. My name is Ben Chadwick. I have been at ESA since January 2012, initially working with Les Kneebone on the Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT). For the past two years I have also been working with SCIS as systems librarian. It is daunting to follow on from Pru. Nonetheless, I look forward to helping you get the most out of SCIS, for the ultimate benefit of your library, teachers, and students.

The Magic Roundabout

Dr Ben Chadwick

Dr Ben Chadwick

You might have noticed a few changes on our home page. Our attractive book carousel gives selected titles a free ride for a few weeks. So far we've featured titles from the Children's Book Council of Australia's Book of the Year Awards, the 2014 Australian Book Design Awards, and the NZ Post Book Awards. You can click on a cover to see it in the SCIS catalogue and we'll often include a hyperlink to a new Special Orders page, where you can choose to download MARC records for your selection of the featured titles.

Just beneath the book carousel, we've brought a few of our most popular links together into one handy list. We hope this will make it a little easier to navigate your way around the site.

There have been other changes to our Special Orders page, too. This page is intended to provide access to bulk MARC downloads for collections of electronic records that are either free or available en masse to subscribers to a given service. Up until now the page has included collections for NDLRN learning objects, Clickview videos, Campfire films, and resources reviewed in the Scan journal. There is also a tool for searching and selectively downloading websites we have catalogued. This has now been expanded, with additional tools for finding and selecting apps and ebooks. There may be further changes to our offerings on this page, so watch this space.

2015 SCIS subscriptions

Schools who pay their SCIS subscriptions on an annual basis will receive their invoice for SCIS early in Term 4. Payment is due by the end of 2014 to ensure continuous access. Government school systems, except Victoria and Tasmania, and a number of Catholic Dioceses coordinate access to SCIS on behalf of all their schools.

The Magic Bus

October 2014 will see SCIS take off on its New Zealand North Island road show. Michael Jongen, our Library Services Coordinator, will be conducting 'Making the Most of SCIS' workshops in Auckland on 20 October, Hamilton on 22 October, and Wellington on 24 October. This three-hour workshop is aimed at beginner to intermediate users, and will give you an overview of all of SCIS's offerings. See our professional learning page for more details. SCIS will return to the South Island in 2015 for workshops and SLANZA15.

See Also...

SCIS releases updated MARC authorities twice each year, in February and August. If you need help downloading or installing the files, see our Authority Files help page and, importantly, consult your system vendor.

If you don't use Authority Files in your system, you aren't doing everything you can to assist your students and teachers in finding what they are looking for. Michael Jongen recently put together a blog post and a webcast about using Authority Files. To subscribe please get in touch with us at [email protected].

Later in this issue Les Kneebone mentions the new MARC download for ScOT authorities. This is an exciting development, meaning that at some stage in the near future your system can take advantage of the rich reference structures in the ScOT thesaurus. Again, this will help direct your students and teachers to their learning and reading needs by exploiting ScOT's educational and curriculum-focused terms. We don't recommend rushing in and installing these authorities just yet: some systems may not know how to deal with two sets of authorities. As always, check with your system vendor.

I hope you enjoy this issue of Connections. Please get in touch with us if you have any queries or comments about articles or issues raised. I look forward to communicating with as many of you as possible over coming months.

Dr Ben Chadwick

Dr Ben Chadwick

Manager, SCIS

Education Services Australia