SCIS Authority Files Help

General information about SCIS Authority Files

Subject Authority Files

Name Authority Files

Choosing SCIS Full Authority Files or SCIS Reference only Authority Files

How to Download SCIS Authority Files Online

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General information about SCIS Authority Files

Authority records contain authorised forms of names and subjects used as access points in catalogue records.

SCIS authority records are established in conformance with Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2), MARC 21 and SCIS standards for name and subject headings, and promote more efficient and effective retrieval of information in library catalogues. They reduce inconsistencies in the application of subject terms and name headings, and support OPAC searching by allowing the user to broaden or refine their search with approved associated terms.

For example, if a user searches on the term Hurricanes, the SCIS see reference under this heading tells the user that any resources on hurricanes will be found under the heading Cyclones. If this reference is not in the catalogue, the user may believe that the library does not contain any resources on hurricanes. A see also reference under the same heading will tell the user that they may also find resources that may be of interest under the broader subject headings Disasters and Meteorology; or under the specific name of the cyclone, such as Cyclone Tracy, 1974 .

SCIS authority records also contain the authorised forms for names of authors and creators, with references to other known forms to support searching; and notes which provide instructions for the correct application of headings when cataloguing.

Catalogue records downloaded from SCISWeb will contain name and subject headings in the authorised forms, but will not contain cross-references to support OPAC searching; and locally created catalogue records or records downloaded from sources other than SCIS may contain conflicting headings which can fragment OPAC searching and reduce search retrieval. Downloading SCIS Authority Files enables library management systems to create cross-references automatically in library catalogues, and allows library staff to 'clean up' unauthorised forms of headings already in existence in their library management system.

SCIS Authority Files are provided in MARC or ASCII  format to suit the majority of library management systems and are updated twice a year, ensuring subscribers are able to download files of subject and name authority files in current use in the SCIS database.

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Subject Authority Files

SCIS Full Subject Authority File

The SCIS Full Subject Authority File contains authorised subject headings assigned to SCIS catalogue records. The file includes topical headings as well as name headings used as the subject of the resource. References within the authority records also show how particular terms are related, i.e. which ones cover broader topics than others, and which ones cover narrower topics, further improving subject access.

The records in the SCIS Full Subject Authority File include all the subject terms in SCIS Subject Headings, as well as extra terms created by cataloguers according to instructions contained within the Guidelines to using SCIS Subject Headings.

Additional headings constructed by cataloguers contained within the SCIS Full Subject Authority File include subject headings where the original form of the heading has been further subdivided by form, general, chronological or geographic subdivisions as in the following examples:

  • China - History - 20th century
  • New Zealand poetry - Periodicals
  • Airports - Fiction
  • Education - Australia

Or, alternatively, they may be headings which have been constructed according to a specific instruction contained within the Guidelines to using SCIS Subject Headings, such as the name of a town or city; a particular event; or the name of an organisation or individual who is one of the key subjects dealt with in the resource.

Examples of subject headings constructed by cataloguers which are contained within the SCIS Full Subject Authority File include:

  • Dahl, Roald
  • Olympic Games (2000 : Sydney)
  • Osaka (Japan)

SCIS Reference only Subject Authority File

The SCIS Reference only Subject Authority File contains a subset of the subject authority records from the SCIS database. The records only include SCIS headings with references.

Subject headings which do not include any references to broader, narrower or otherwise related terms will therefore be excluded from the SCIS Reference only Subject Authority File. These may include terms established by cataloguers; terms which contain subdivisions; or terms which for some reason have been established as 'stand-alone' terms which do not fit into the hierarchies within SCIS Subject Headings.

Examples of subject authority records which do not have references, and therefore are not included in SCIS Reference only Subject Authority File are:

  • Osaka (Japan)
  • China - History - 20th century
  • Aboriginal peoples - Historiography

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Name Authority Files

SCIS Full Name Authority File

The SCIS Full Name Authority File contains the names of all the authors, editors, illustrators, narrators, composers, film directors, agencies and organisations that have been selected by SCIS cataloguers as access points when describing those involved in the authorship and production of the resource.

Some examples of the name headings authorised for use in SCIS records are:

  • Allen, Pamela
  • Australian Youth Orchestra
  • Base, Graeme
  • Christchurch Art Gallery
  • Dahl, Roald

SCIS Reference only Name Authority File

The SCIS Reference only Name Authority File contains a subset of the name authority records from the SCIS database. The records only include SCIS name headings with references. Many authority records do not contain any references. They simply contain headings which have been authorised for use in SCIS records. For the majority of name headings, no references are required because there is only one form of that person's/organisation's name which people are likely to search under.

For example, the following name authority records do not include references, and would therefore not be included in the SCIS Reference only Name Authority File:

  • Griffiths, Andy
  • Maloney, Shane
  • Australian Ballet School

On the other hand, Dr. Seuss, an author whose works are commonly held by most primary school libraries, also writes under the name Theo LeSieg, and has written several stories with Michael K. Frith under the pseudonym Rosetta Stone. The authority record for Dr. Seuss is therefore included in SCIS Reference only Name Authority File, as it contains a see also reference to LeSieg, Theo and a reference note advising users to search for titles written by Dr. Seuss in conjunction with Michael K. Frith under the name heading Stone, Rosetta, assisting users to make the connection between the three different names.

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Choosing SCIS Full Authority Files or SCIS Reference only Authority Files

SCIS Full Authority Files may be useful for schools whose library systems contain a significant number of records which have not been downloaded from SCIS, or which regularly undertake a certain amount of local cataloguing. The full authority files allow you to use the list of authorised headings in your library system to ensure consistency with headings used in SCIS records.

If most of your catalogue records are sourced from SCIS and you do little or no original cataloguing, you may choose to load SCIS Reference only Authority Files.

For more information about the kinds of records contained within the  SCIS Full or Reference only Authority Files, please see the above information about Name and Subject Authority Files.

Your library system vendor should also be able to provide you with further information about whether full or reference only authority files are preferable for your library system.

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How to Download SCIS Authority Files

SCIS Authority Files are available for download from the following location: http://scis.curriculum.edu.au/scisaf. To download SCIS Authority Files you must have a current SCIS Authority Files subscription.

Please note: Our instructions relate to downloading the authority files only. For advice on file formats, whether your library management system will support full or reference only files and how to upload the authority files to your library management system you will need to contact your library system vendor.

screen dump authority files online

SCIS Authority Files are available for download in either MARC or ASCII format to suit most library management systems.

Once you have determined which files are appropriate for your library, right-click on the required file and select 'Save Target As'(Internet Explorer) or 'Save Link as' (Firefox) from the menu that appears.

AF screenshot 1

A dialogue box will indicate that the file is being compressed to download to your computer. It may take several minutes to complete.

AF screenshot 2

When the file is ready to download, the dialogue box requesting you to save the file will appear. Locate the folder where you are going to save the files and select 'Save'. SCIS strongly recommends you select a file location that is easy to navigate to later - such as your Desktop.

AF screenshot 3

A dialogue box will indicate that the file is being copied to your computer. It may take several minutes to complete.

AF screenshot 4

When the file is saved, the screen view will return to the SCIS Authority Files page. It will then be possible to exit your browser and locate the file for uploading into your library system.

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