Organising knowledge: The importance of library standards in a global society-part 2

By Vicki

In yesterday's post: Subject Headings and web searching – making the library count online, I  wrote about Subject Heading terms and how they add value to searching online  - in a library catalogue, in databases or on the Web. 

In this post I want to highlight how Subject Headings are being adapted and used for specific audiences especially in relation to Australian and New Zealand Schools.

Copy cataloguing or importing catalogue records into your school library catalogue relies on having access to either:

SchoolsCat is a customised version of the cataloguing database used by New Zealand public and tertiary libraries and has been developed by the National Library of New Zealand to provide a free standards-based online cataloguing product for all New Zealand schools.

SCIS is a subscription-based service created to provide schools with access to consistent school-related catalogue records. It uses standards and terminology related to school students and the Australian and New Zealand school curriculum to provide a controlled vocabulary suitable for subject access to the primary and secondary school library catalogues. 

Both SchoolsCat and SCIS provide ready-made catalogue records for you to import into your library catalogue. In both cases you are responsible as the cataloguer to adapt these records for your own library. SCIS was developed by consulting Library of Congress Subject Headings and Sears Subject Heading

One of the major differences between the records you download is that SchoolsCat provides catalogue records using Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and SCIS provides records with their own SCIS Subject Headings.

Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) as the name suggests is maintained by the United States Library of Congress and uses controlled vocabulary which is internationally standardised to ensure resources worldwide can be ‘tagged’ with the same subject terms and therefore located with a search using the terms. 

The terms used are developed for public libraries use so may not fit with the needs of primary or secondary school students.  Therefore it is worth also considering SCIS Subject Headings.

SCIS Subject headings are user friendly, include New Zealand specific headings and use natural language.

Every imported SCIS Catalogue record contains SCIS Subject Headings.  you can also subscribe seperately to the Subject headings. SCIS Subject Headings are useful for library staff  who are cataloguing from scratch or  who wish to add extra subject heading terms to records. SCIS Subject Headings offer up-to-date headings, replacing the now out of date Te Patakataka (2003).


Te Patakataka: Dewey Decimal Classification and Subject Headings for New Zealand Primary Schools (2003). (Rev. Ed.) Janet McFadden and Sarah Knox (Eds.). National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mätauranga o Aotearoa.

Related posts:

Part 1. Subject Headings and web searching – making the library count online (20 November 2012)

Part 3. The Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT) – not your ordinary Subject Headings (22 November 2012)

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