New and revised subject headings

Ben Chadwick

What's so important about subject vocabularies?

Catalogue records from SCIS contain subject terms from two controlled vocabularies: the SCIS Subject Headings List (scisshl) and the Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT). The power of SCIS lies in the fact that a human being (a qualified cataloguer) has assessed each resource and assigned subject terms that represent the key concepts of that resource. Instead of retrieving every resource in your catalogue that contains the keywords 'climate' and 'change', a subject search for "climate change" will return highly specific resources with significant content about the concept of climate change.

SCIS authority files update 2014

SCIS authority files provide the SEE and SEE ALSO reference structure for subject headings in your local library catalogue. By providing suggested narrower and broader terms they enhance subject searching by students and staff, improve the retrieval of appropriate resources and increase use of your library's resources. For example, if a student searches for 'farming' in your library system and you do not have the authority files loaded, there will be no SEE reference linking the student to the full set of resources in your collection related to the preferred term 'agriculture'. With SCIS Authority Files loaded the student will locate more relevant resources because their subject searches will automatically map their 'farming' subject term to all related subjects under 'agriculture'.

The first release of the SCIS authority files for 2014 is available for subscribers to download. This is an important release because it contains the significant changes to the Bible and Qur’an headings specified in the Resource Description and Access (RDA) guidelines. These changes were explained in detail in Connections Issue 88, p.12. More information about SCIS authority files is available from:

Schools Online Thesaurus updates

ScOT terms are used to describe learning resources in both SCIS and Scootle. Importantly the thesaurus is also used to describe the Australian Curriculum and the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. Updates to ScOT terms are thus closely tied to updates to the Australian Curriculum, and recent releases support curriculum documents for:

  • Technologies
  • Health and physical education
  • Visual arts
  • Media arts
  • Drama

Details of new ScOT terms can be found on the blog:

Special order files screenshot

Scootle records in SCIS

SCIS provides MARC records for all learning objects held in Scootle and the New Zealand Digistore NZ. By loading links to this content into your library system you will alert teachers to relevant digital content that directly supports the curriculum.
Log in to SCISWeb and click on the Special Orders tab:

Select the appropriate set of files for your school. Links for other jurisdictions that use their own portal (eg Queensland and Western Australia) are also available.

Check out these Special Order files loaded in 2014:

  • ClickView files
    • 2014 Term 1 secondary update
    • updated full secondary file
    • updated full primary file
  • Scan journal free e-resources and websites
    • Vol. 33, no.1, 2014


Ben Chadwick

Ben Chadwick

Systems Librarian
Education Services Australia