Cataloguing your library collection

Scanner and keyboard.
Students and teachers can find resources more easily if you use a standardised source of catalogue records. Get help and advice about adding, understanding and amending the catalogue records in your school library collection.

Creating catalogue records

You'll need reliable, authoritative catalogue records to achieve consistent, useful and searchable records in your ILS. If you catalogue records according to standard rules and practices:

  • your library users can find information effectively, and
  • they'll make much better use of the resources in your collection.

There are 2 main services you can use to create your catalogue or bibliographic records which are formatted according to the standards:

  • the National Library's service, Record Manager
  • the Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS), an Australian subscription service.

Using these services is called 'copy cataloguing' because you're downloading existing bibliographic records, usually by importing them to your Integrated Library System (ILS).

You can also create your own catalogue record for a resource.

Understanding catalogue records

  • Record Manager

    The National Library provides a free cataloguing tool, Record Manager, for schools to use.

    Cataloguing service for schools

    If your school wants to use this tool, you must first register with the National Library. Our facilitators can help you with registering for and using Record Manager. Phone: 0800 LIBLINE (0800 542 5463).

    Register for Record Manager

    How you use Record Manager to get records into your Integrated Library System (ILS) depends on which ILS you use. Your ILS provider will help you with using the service.

  • Record Manager

    The National Library provides a free cataloguing tool, Record Manager, for schools to use.

    Cataloguing service for schools

    If your school wants to use this tool, you must first register with the National Library. Our facilitators can help you with registering for and using Record Manager. Phone: 0800 LIBLINE (0800 542 5463).

    Register for Record Manager

    How you use Record Manager to get records into your Integrated Library System (ILS) depends on which ILS you use. Your ILS provider will help you with using the service.

  • SCIS

    Many New Zealand schools also use SCIS, which is a subscription service designed for Australian, New Zealand and international schools.

    Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS)

    How you use SCIS to get records into your Integrated Library System (ILS) depends on which ILS you use. Your ILS provider will help you with using the service.

  • SCIS

    Many New Zealand schools also use SCIS, which is a subscription service designed for Australian, New Zealand and international schools.

    Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS)

    How you use SCIS to get records into your Integrated Library System (ILS) depends on which ILS you use. Your ILS provider will help you with using the service.

Managing catalogue records

Most schools have an Integrated Library System (ILS) which manages the cataloguing, borrowing and returning of resources, and helps students and teachers to find what they're looking for in your collection.

Choosing an Integrated Library System (ILS)

Using the full functionality of your Integrated Library System (ILS)

  • Classifying resources — the Dewey Decimal system

    Many New Zealand schools and public libraries use the Dewey Decimal Classification system. If you download records from Record Manager or SCIS, the Dewey classification number is included in the catalogue record.

    Adults Tutorial 0606: Get to know the Dewey Decimal Classification system (Slideshare)

    Each number in a Dewey sequence plays a part in identifying the exact resource you need. Many schools shorten Dewey numbers to:

    • help learners find books more easily
    • make the spine labels easier to read
    • suit the size and complexity of their collection.

    For example, the main category for mammals is 599 and lions are 599.757. If you don't have many books about mammals in your collection, you may decide to classify them all as 599.

  • Classifying resources — the Dewey Decimal system

    Many New Zealand schools and public libraries use the Dewey Decimal Classification system. If you download records from Record Manager or SCIS, the Dewey classification number is included in the catalogue record.

    Adults Tutorial 0606: Get to know the Dewey Decimal Classification system (Slideshare)

    Each number in a Dewey sequence plays a part in identifying the exact resource you need. Many schools shorten Dewey numbers to:

    • help learners find books more easily
    • make the spine labels easier to read
    • suit the size and complexity of their collection.

    For example, the main category for mammals is 599 and lions are 599.757. If you don't have many books about mammals in your collection, you may decide to classify them all as 599.

  • Cataloguing online resources

    You can catalogue websites, documents and other online content in the same way you catalogue a book.

    Each catalogue record for an online resource includes a web address or URL for the item. Through the search screens of your ILS, students can simply link directly from your catalogue to the resource they've found.

    Linking to curated content

    If you've curated content using a curation tool, you can provide access to this through your library catalogue. Create a record as you would for a website and include the link to your curated content.

    If you use SCIS, they provide catalogue records for websites that you can download.

    Keeping online resources up-to-date

    It's a good idea to check the links in your catalogue from time to time by running a link checker which identifies links that are no longer working.

    Check with your ILS vendor to see if your ILS comes with this functionality.

  • Cataloguing online resources

    You can catalogue websites, documents and other online content in the same way you catalogue a book.

    Each catalogue record for an online resource includes a web address or URL for the item. Through the search screens of your ILS, students can simply link directly from your catalogue to the resource they've found.

    Linking to curated content

    If you've curated content using a curation tool, you can provide access to this through your library catalogue. Create a record as you would for a website and include the link to your curated content.

    If you use SCIS, they provide catalogue records for websites that you can download.

    Keeping online resources up-to-date

    It's a good idea to check the links in your catalogue from time to time by running a link checker which identifies links that are no longer working.

    Check with your ILS vendor to see if your ILS comes with this functionality.

There are many technical terms associated with cataloguing. Consult our glossary to find out about terms you're unfamiliar with.

Glossary of cataloging terms (pdf, 507KB)

Changing catalogue records

The catalogue records you download include a range of fields which describe the resource. Find out from your ILS provider which fields in your catalogue record are searched when your students are looking for resources.

Understanding catalogue records

Examples of how you can add to or change catalogue records in your ILS include:

  • adding the cost of the resource and where you purchased it from
  • modifying the Dewey Decimal number so that your spine labels are consistent with the practice in your school
  • entering information about the genre of a resource
  • adding in keywords that make sense to your teachers and learners
  • add or remove subject headings.

Arranging library fiction by genre

  • Adding keywords

    Most ILSs let you add information to the keyword field in a catalogue record. Choose words which will help your teachers and learners to find the resources they're looking for. For example, you could add:

    • 'readaloud' for books that work well this way
    • the suggested NCEA level, if you need to find books suitable for reading at that level
    • everyday terms students use when they search or ask for books, such as puppies, kittens or chooks.
  • Adding keywords

    Most ILSs let you add information to the keyword field in a catalogue record. Choose words which will help your teachers and learners to find the resources they're looking for. For example, you could add:

    • 'readaloud' for books that work well this way
    • the suggested NCEA level, if you need to find books suitable for reading at that level
    • everyday terms students use when they search or ask for books, such as puppies, kittens or chooks.
  • Understanding authority files such as subject headings

    An integrated library system (ILS) has authority files — a list of approved terms which the original cataloguer has assigned to the resource. These can include:

    • subject headings
    • authors’ names
    • series
    • names of organisations, such as publishers.

    When they're used well, authority files make sure your records are consistent and accurate. For example, if a catalogue contains several forms of the same author’s name — Smith, Jane, Smith, J. and Smith, J.S. — a search by one variation of their name would only show some of the resources. Using a single form of the author’s name means you can find all resources by that author.

    Your ILS vendor can provide you with further information on how their system uses authority files.

  • Understanding authority files such as subject headings

    An integrated library system (ILS) has authority files — a list of approved terms which the original cataloguer has assigned to the resource. These can include:

    • subject headings
    • authors’ names
    • series
    • names of organisations, such as publishers.

    When they're used well, authority files make sure your records are consistent and accurate. For example, if a catalogue contains several forms of the same author’s name — Smith, Jane, Smith, J. and Smith, J.S. — a search by one variation of their name would only show some of the resources. Using a single form of the author’s name means you can find all resources by that author.

    Your ILS vendor can provide you with further information on how their system uses authority files.

Glossary of cataloguing terms

There are many technical terms associated with cataloguing. Consult our glossary to find out about terms you're unfamiliar with.

Glossary of cataloging terms (pdf, 507KB)

Arranging library fiction by genre
Choosing an Integrated Library System (ILS)
Using the full functionality of your Integrated Library System (ILS)