SCIS is more; E-book update, Approaching RDA

E-book update

Are you a customer, or potential customer, of an e-book lending platform?

One of the key questions to ask when selecting a system should be: how do I get catalogue records for this content, and are the catalogue records compatible with the standard currently used in my catalogue? There is little point purchasing e-books if your library users cannot locate them, and it is not reasonable to expect library users to search in multiple locations to find resources the school has purchased. The school library catalogue or OPAC is the search engine for school-owned resources.

So how do libraries obtain catalogue records for e-books?

In most cases schools are unable to send e-books to their SCIS cataloguing agency because of digital rights and access restrictions, so we are reliant on publishers and e-book system providers for the access that allows us to catalogue e-books. Those who use Wheelers ePlatform have had the option of receiving e-book records from SCIS for some time now, and we are grateful to Wheelers Books and to New Zealand-based SCIS cataloguers Ann Duncan and Bruce Moir for making this work so effectively.

SCIS has started to work with schools using the OverDrive lending platform. Many thanks to the organisations that have been partners in the pilot of SCIS and OverDrive e-content cataloguing including the NSW Department of Education and Communities SCIS Agency, the Brisbane Catholic Education Office and Softlink. Schools should now be able to search and order e-books records by ISBN and/or title. We are keen to ensure that the e-book resources schools are acquiring are catalogued promptly, so for any titles not found on SCIS contact your SCIS cataloguing agency with details of the resource you have purchased and we will investigate the best way to access this in order to catalogue it.

Workflow for importing e-book catalogue records

SCIS first added an e-books section to its Standards for Cataloguing and Data Entry in December 2010 and there are already over 8,000 SCIS catalogue records for e-books. Over time these standards have needed refining. We now include a note indicating resources that require a subscription to access, and now that e-book titles may be available from more than one e-book supplier we have removed the URL link (MARC tag 856) to specific e-book platforms. Just as SCIS cannot provide catalogue records that are specific to the bookshop a school purchased from, catalogue records for e-books need to be provider-neutral.

Your e-book supplier will normally provide a metadata file to be imported into your library management system that includes a specific link (URL) applicable to your school. This will be placed in the 856 link field in your catalogue. You then order the full catalogue records for your e-books from SCIS and as you import these into your library system, there will be some means of matching your e-books (usually on ISBN) so that the overlay of the SCIS record retains your unique URL.

Independent e-book suppliers

SCIS also regularly catalogues e-books from a number of independent e-book providers and vendors whose e-books can be purchased and loaded directly into your catalogue. These include:

Open access e-books

If your school is not in a position to implement an e-book lending platform or commercial e-books at this stage, carefully selecting from some of the open access e-books available can be a useful way of providing a limited e-book service for staff and students.

SCIS catalogues Project Gutenberg and public domain e-book material on request from schools if these titles are seen to be relevant to curriculum or literature programs across a range of schools.

Search the SCIS Catalogue for Project Gutenberg e-books [login required]

Keep up to date with SCIS e-book cataloguing via the SCIS blog:

Introducing Soula Kipos, Cataloguing Team Leader

Soula Kipos
Soula Kipos

SCIS is pleased to welcome Soula Kipos as Cataloguing Team Leader.
Soula has worked as a cataloguer and information manager with cataloguing
experience at Technilib and Monash University, and has held positions
including Image Resources Librarian at the State Library of Victoria,
Knowledge Project Officer with Sustainability Victoria, and Bibliographic
Database Team Leader with Informit/RMIT Publishing.

In her role at SCIS she takes on responsibility for coordination of cataloguing
priorities, quality assurance, implementation of RDA and system administration
of the Voyager library system.


Approaching RDA

Interest is growing in the new cataloguing standard Resource Description and Access (RDA) as the changeover period commences. RDA is a replacement of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2) of 1978, and as such it deals with descriptive cataloguing (ie the top section of the record as it displays in the SCIS Catalogue).

Subject cataloguing and Dewey classification will not be affected.

The SCIS standards for cataloguing and data entry (2010, updated 2011) are being rewritten, with major changes required, particularly to Chapter 2: Descriptive cataloguing;

Do you need a GMD?

If you are questioning the need for a new cataloguing standard then consider General Material Designation (GMD) and this list of GMDs used by SCIS according to the current standards.

activity card
art original
art reproduction
electronic resource
flash card
microscope slide
motion picture
sound recording
technical drawing

Note that the current rules state "Do not use 'text' because resources are assumed to be text unless otherwise specified."

The type of material being catalogued was a primary consideration in 1978 but many of these material types are no longer standard in school collections, and in some cases these terms are too general to accurately describe the range of resources being catalogued today. While there is some benefit in seeing early on in the record that this is a [videorecording] or a [sound recording] version of a particular title, there is usually a need to go deeper into a record to determine whether that videorecording is in a format that is convenient to the user. Is it a DVD or MPEG file? Is that [electronic resource] a CD-ROM or an app (and for which brand of device)?

RDA seeks to address these issues by replacing the AACR2 GMD with three elements, each with a detailed list of terms.

The recommendation to eliminate General Material Designation (GMD) from the Title field in catalogue records is possibly the change in RDA most likely to affect school library catalogues. While a number of school library management systems have already implemented alternative methods of denoting what type of material is being described, and have not relied on GMD coding for some time, for others this change may cause issues. SCIS has decided to retain the GMD in records for a period of 12 months to allow library systems to work with their clients to determine their preferred way of displaying and searching this information. Systems can choose whether to display this subfield.

Finding out more about RDA

The previous two issues of Connections contain articles on RDA, and the SCIS blog has slides providing an introduction to RDA by Renate Beilharz, and a summary of changes planned by SCIS.

Short RDA workshops specifically for schools are planned for Victoria in Term 2, and can be offered in other places from Term 3. Details of dates and venues will be available from the SCIS professional learning page.

Check out the SCIS professional learning schedule for 2013

Register Now

Pru Mitchell headshot 

Pru Mitchell

Manager, SCIS
Education Services Australia