ETL505 – Critical Reflection

Not wishing to repeat my knowledge and understanding of the concepts and principles of information resource description (Modules 1-3), please refer to my Descriptive Cataloguing blog (Ellis, 2016). ETL505 has solidified my knowledge that one purpose of a TL is to deliver essential resources which: provide teaching and learning support in the context of syllabus and curriculum requirements; deliver students and teachers with quality print and digital material that supplements and provides individual learning and recreational reading, all of which sustains the development of an educational program meeting the needs of the school community (NSW Department of Education, 2005). While School Cataloguing Information Service (SCIS) provides a plethora of reliable and consistent features, the Teacher Librarian (TL) is still ultimately responsible for ensuring these records are accurately integrated into their local system and make cognisant decisions about any necessary change to records to enhance accessibility or create records when one is not available (SCIS, 2015).



Image Credit: Funny library jokes

Specifically, this subject has taught me to cater for user needs which are efficiently and effectively met, by systematically arranging and cataloguing resources to be easily retrieved (Australian School Library Association, 2014, Ellis, 2013, Hider, 2012, p. 3). To assist a swift retrieval, the TL needs to meticulously describe, classify and analytically house resources physically and virtually. Despite good intentions, this does not always occur as users may “fail” to enter authorised headings (Kaplan, 2009, p. 2). Google provides a service by enabling “hits” to resources based on a simple keyword search, although the quality, reliability and validity of this information can be questionable (Next-generation library catalogs, n.d.; Hider, 2012, p. 183).  The future trend of information organisation and consequently, metadata in libraries is complex. While content-based information retrieval is reasonable and appreciated by information professionals, metadata-based methods still provide access in ways that search engines struggle (such as for book indexes, pictures and music) because they need to be constructed by humans (Hider, 2012, p. 183). There obviously needs to be a compromise and many academic libraries are working to integrate their meta-data based catalogue with interfaces similar to Google to entice users back to the library (Next-generation library catalogs, n.d.).

Comprehending the Dewey Decimal Classification system and undertaking the creation of SCIS subject headings has given me a greater appreciation for the rules and standards required to successfully accession and research an item. I now have the confidence to manually generate subject headings and create a DDC number for an item that does not appear in SCIS (n.d.) if SCIS are unable to assist. I fully appreciate the Australian SCIS influence and need for TLs to alter call numbers to promote access by its local users. It is interesting to note that while SCIS dictates the call number, it is left up to individual libraries to allocate prefixes or location symbols to suit the needs of the user in finding a resource (SCIS, 2016, p. 3-5). It is ultimately about making decisions to appropriately classify resources to promote usefulness to school libraries. I strongly uphold the ethos of SCIS in promoting specifically Australian based resources to encourage the education of Australian students (SCIS, 2016, 3:D6 – Local emphasis) and will in future be sending resources to be properly catalogued as I now appreciate their invaluable role to school libraries.


Australian School Library Association (ASLA). (2014). What is a teacher librarian? [Website]. Retrieved from

Ellis, S. (2013, May 30). The future of school library collections [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Ellis, S. (2016, October 4). Descriptive cataloguing [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet Publishing.

Kaplan, A. (2009). Cataloging for non-catalogers. Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited.

New South Wales (NSW) Department of Education (2005). Library policy – Schools [Website]. Retrieved from

Next-generation library catalogs: A resource guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from Fuller: David Allan Hubbard Library:

Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS). (n.d.). SCIS Catalogue [Website]. Retrieved September 25, 2016, from

Schools Catalogue Information Services (SCIS). (2015). SCIS Standards for cataloguing and data entry. Retrieved from

Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS). (2016). SCIS Subject Headings [Website]. Retrieved September 25, 2016, from

Image Credit

Funny Library Jokes [Online image]. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2016, from

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