Linking you to more useful information

Often in the course of fulfilling our job description, the chore of cataloguing can be greeted with a sigh or perhaps even a groan. Prior to the unveiling of the SCIS database and downloadable records this reaction would have been acceptable, but of recent times SCIS is creating even greater facilities for the end user.

I am a Library Technician at Perth College, an Anglican School for Girls which essentially uses SCIS for cataloguing. However, I have discovered there are many more features to utilise besides the ease of cataloguing with downloadable records. Expanding on this statement, enter Google Books, as was mentioned in ‘SCIS is more … ’ Connections issue 69 Term 2, 2009.

SCIS record with Google Books link

SCIS record with Google Books link

As a person responsible for researching, sourcing and ordering subject-based resources, I spent a lot of time thinking about suitability. A situation arose recently when a flyer promoting professional material in the area of psychology was received. When discussing a particular title with the school psychologist, I decided to search by way of the SCIS OPAC, Google Books, ‘About this Book’. As a result of looking at the reviews, sample pages and gauging the level, a decision was made instantly as to whether to proceed with the purchase. Approval process time avoided!

Researching suitable teaching resources with a view to ‘seeing what is out there’ is also a handy tool with SCIS OPAC and Google Books. Again with the school psychologist in mind, after a general request for something on depression and searching by subject, Depression (Psychology) - Care and treatment, I navigated to take a closer look at a title Beyond the blues: a workbook to help teens overcome depression. ‘A portion of this book is viewable’ revealed format, content, level, and overall suitability as a school resource. The outcome was achieved in an instant, and a decision made as to recommending this particular title. However, the response from the school psychologist was even more pleasing: ‘Thanks for showing me that resource. It provides a lot of useful information in a short time (no more “may I have this book on appro, Trish”) and helps in making decisions about book purchases. Picture paints a thousand words comes to mind but in this case, it’s the “link” not the picture. I can see so many applications for this, even in my line of work. The only drawback I can think of is that it makes it easier :

  • to use up resource budgets quickly

  • for people with impulse control problems (I have to confess to this)
    to keep buying books!’

Trish Montgomery finds Google Books links in SCIS OPAC valuable

Trish Montgomery finds Google Books links in SCIS OPAC valuable

Within the school environment, the library has many roles, subject teacher support being one. After much deliberation by the teacher concerned, The Ghost’s Child by Sonya Hartnett was selected as a class novel for Year 9. Purchasing and processing aside, I forwarded to the English teacher a website link from Google Books which contained a podcast from ‘The Book Show’ featuring an interview with Hartnett. The response from the English teacher was as follows. ‘Thanks for the interview – it was great in explaining how Hartnett writes and the similarities between her novels. Also discussed was how difficult it was to combine mothering or working with a career in writing. The interviewer persevered with some of the questions and drew answers out of Hartnett, great to hear her opening up a bit. Gave me some ideas for what to focus on (and what not to) when teaching the novel and will probably play some of it to the students. Interesting to hear her reading her own work at the start of the interview!’

In summary, I encourage you to explore the Google Books link. It is an Aladdin’s cave, which can be used as a buying guide, for appraisal by way of sample pages (in some cases most of the text) and to explore avenues which can enrich the teaching process.

Trish Montgomery
Perth College, WA