SCIS e-books


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An introduction to SCIS standards for cataloguing e-books, this presentation describes how to schools can use the SCIS Catalogue as a selection source for e-books. It also addresses how SCIS works with e-book suppliers to provide timely access to catalogue records for e-resources.

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  • The challenge of cataloguing e-books raises a pile of questions. What defines an e-book? How many catalogue records do you need when a book is published in multiple formats? Is it the content or the container that is catalogued? Is it the catalogue’s job to link the user directly to their e-book? The Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS) grappled with these questions and published a Cataloguing Standard for e-books (2010) This presentation will outline issues in cataloguing e-books, and attempt to answer questions school library staff ask about enhancing access to e-books through a standards-based cataloguing service.
  • Resources may have been purchased or, in the case of freely available resources such as educational websites, learning objects or e-books which are not subject to DRM (digital rights management), selected for inclusion in the school’s ‘collection’.
  • This is an example of an e-book provided by Wheelers. Try an OPAC keyword search for ‘wheelers e-books’. Other examples: ‘ spinney e-books’ ‘ contentreserve’ (to find sample Overdrive records)
  • This slide shows a search of the SCIS online catalogue for the subject term ‘E-books’. All catalogue records for e-books are assigned this subject heading, to make it easier for users to restrict searches by e-book format. There are slightly more records with the equivalent ScOT term, as the SCIS term was established later. currently almost 5,000 e-book records in SCIS OK to use ‘ebooks’ as search term – you will be directed to the preferred term
  • E-books may also display enhanced data from Syndetics and/or LibraryThing for Libraries, to assist with selection of resources for the collection. For example
  • One integrated search The student or staff member seeking books, information and learning resources expects to do one search and for that search to return all relevant material available to them, regardless of its format or its location. This holy grail of single point of search assumes an integrated set of search results, which requires integrated metadata.
  • Why is making e-books discoverable through school library catalogues a priority for SCIS? For a long time a priority for library staff has been to organise the physical library space in ways that are attractive, encourages users to visit, to explore and make it easy for them to find what they need, assist browsing for inspiration. We work to make location and lending of resources as seamless and self-service as possible. We now have additional responsibilities. As well as serving our users who are visitors, browsers and borrowers of physical items in a physical library space, we now also serve our library users accessing and downloading resources in virtual spaces.
  • In November 2010 the SCIS Information Services Standards Committee (ISSC) ratified a new edition of the SCIS Standards for Cataloguing and Data Entry with a new section 5.E added to deal with e-books as a specific format. This was published January 2011 at:
  • There is a further level of complexity when selecting digital content. Can I use this technically and can I use this legally ? When I buy a paperback book I can lend it to my mother, my sister and my colleague over a period of a few months. Then I can donate it to the local nursing home. When my library buys a book it can lend it to any library user, lend it to another library to fulfil an interlibrary loan request, and when it has been weeded from the collection I can put it on the library’s second hand book sale. With proprietary e-books this type of use is not permitted by most publishers and e-books platforms.
  • First it was necessary to define what we meant by e-books. The Macquarie Dictionary definition of an e-book as ‘a book in an electronic format designed to be read in an e-reader’ is no longer strictly accurate. Today there is a plethora of formats and devices available. Here are some other definitions: ‘ an electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a personal computer or hand-held device designed specifically for this purpose.’ From The Oxford Dictionary of English , quoted in ‘E-book – Wikipedia’ ‘ The basic e-books landscape today includes text and audio, and it is available on readers (such as the Amazon Kindle), PCs, mobile consoles, or online.’ ALCTS CRS Committee on Holding Information Holdings Update Forum 2010, Exploring E-Book Holdings: Relevance and Standards .
  • An ‘e-book’ may be created as an application which is downloaded to a personal device, for example Alice for the iPad , . This application contains both the original full text and an abridged version of Alice in Wonderland , each with animated pictures. For example by tilting the iPad you can slosh Alice and the mouse about in the pool of tears. How much multimedia content can their be in the e-book version of Alice before it becomes an app, or before it becomes a videorecording? And how much user interactivity before it is better described as an interactive resource? Is an e-book a learning object?
  • Website or Electronic resource? Cataloguers and libraries use GMD (General Material Designation) after the title so that searchers can see instantly that an item is something other than the default of a physical book item. The list of GMDs used in SCIS is available at: How will we denote an e-book in SCIS catalogue records? The options seemed to be to create a new GMD, or to use existing GMDs of [website] or [ electronic resource] Long before portable e-reader devices became readily available in Australia and New Zealand publishers and librarians have been using the term e-book to refer to digital publications. For many of the items called e-books we found little to distinguish them from records already in SCIS as [website], so we opted to describe them in this way. Examples Warner Books e-books , which are separate PDF pages embedded in a website and can only be viewed via the website. EDUCAUSE e-books , which are available in html and PDF format. The PDF version is a reproduction of the print edition. The website offers other information such as recommended reading, multimedia and useful links as well as the text of the book. Scholastic ‘BookFlix’ , which are websites with a video storybook, a related non-fiction e-book and other information.
  • In other cases there was seen to be something specific about the resource which set it apart from a typical website, and in that case the existing GMD [electronic resource] was recommended. Examples: • A PDF file, where the text is not also available on the website in html format. • An e-book available to order from a publisher’s website, in PDF or other format • A Kindle e-book from Amazon • An e-book available in various formats, for example text, online, PDF, epub. • An e-book which is read online using e-reading software, for example Turning the Pages™; Silverlight™
  • Another question that arose is whether an e-book is an edition in its own right or rather a reproduction? Some e-books may be ‘born digital’ for example Cory Doctorow’s For the win , published in plain text, html and pdf format in 2010. Others are digital versions of existing print publications Some of these digitisations are exact visual likenesses of the print, created by photographing each page as an image file. In other cases the text has been scanned and is searchable, can be bookmarked or even edited. In services such as [email_address] the e-books are intended to be new editions — Web editions — rather than facsimiles of previous editions. The key objectives for the editor are accessibility and readability. Project Gutenberg e-books may have an edition statement and ISBN unique to the electronic edition.
  • So do all these different formats of a book require a separate catalogue record? The Program for Cooperative Cataloging has produced the Provider-Neutral E-Monograph MARC Record Guide , available at This document encourages contributors to OCLC to follow this guide to avoid proliferation of separate MARC records for multiple instances of e-books. It was recommended that SCIS follow a similar path, just as it does for TV programs which may be recorded off-air and/or distributed by various suppliers. There may be a case for linking specifically to an online version, as well as to the generic page where you can access a number of formats, but separate records for different versions of the same manifestation are to be discouraged.
  • How important is ISBN? ISBNs are designed to support the book publication/distribution chain, thus the directive in this statement to clearly distinguish between versions. The customer who orders the paperback edition will probably not be happy to see a hardback delivered. However, the library patron probably won’t usually be so worried about this. In the case of an e-book, it may not matter to the patron but in many cases they will have a preference for physical vs downloadable version. Many SCIS users rely heavily on ISBNs as a quick way to match the correct catalogue record to download from SCIS to their catalogue – usually wanding the ISBN from the back of the book. E-books may require a change in workflow. Guidelines for the assignment of ISBNs to ebooks
  • This is an indication of the complexity of ISBNs as identifiers or different editions and formats. One publication, 10 ISBNs so far thanks to move to 13 digit ISBNs and different formats
  • SCIS ISSC Decision Give the ISBN in the MARC 020 if it pertains to the resource being described, i.e. the ISBN of the e-book edition. Do not record the ISBN of an original print edition.
  • What does page mean in an e-book? Some digital editions work hard to retain the pagination of the original work – usually presenting these in pdf or one of the new ‘e-zine’ type formats. However on most e-readers the font size can be varied by the user, and it is the screen size that is fixed, so page number becomes irrelevant. An interesting challenge for referencing and citation! Of course, for html websites pagination gives way to page location or url The previous SCIS cataloguing standards instruct that if the GMD of an item is [website], the physical description should be omitted (section 5.6, Physical description). However, PDFs available on the web are already represented in the standards  where a pdf file is given the GMD [website] and a physical description 63p. : digital, PDF file. There are many records in that form and it is not clear how these types of PDFs could be distinguished from 'e-books'.   It would be better to allow a physical description, if appropriate, for all e-books, including those given the GMD [website].
  • While it is relatively easy to describe the content and format of an e-book, it can be challenging to describe the e-book location in a way that is meaningful to the catalogue searcher at your particular location. SCIS can add a note that subscription is required to access a resource. In some cases where a series is widely used nationally such as The Le@rning Federation learning objects a special resolver service can help direct users from the catalogue to the item. However, in the case of most subscription services, schools will need to add additional notes related to their own access path. This may be different depending on whether the user is in the library, elsewhere on the school network or accessing remotely. This is an area where library staff would benefit from sharing policies, practices and messages to find strategies that work for their situation.
  • The 856 field provides access to the resource There are two options – the cataloguer will make a decision in each case about the most appropriate link to provide
  • Schools using Overdrive can request SCIS records be created to ensure consistency with their existing catalogue records. This is an example of an Overdrive e-book (find by searching SCIS for contentreserve – words in URL). The 856 will link to a generic Overdrive record. Schools will need to discuss workflow for matching and enhancing MARC records with Overdrive and their particular library system to ensure the school’s specific link is retained. The goal is for students and teachers who find an e-book in the library catalogue to get to the content with one click.
  • Thanks to St Patrick’s College for screenshot of their OPAC showing e-book records
  • Some E-book vendors provide alternative ways for schools to display, promote and manage e-book and media collections for their community. These can offer benefits of single sign on and additional content and presentation options. This is an excellent additional access point, and very easy for the user who knows they want an e-book. However it is not a replacement for including e-books in the school’s catalogue where it will be found by users who do not realise an e-book version is available.
  • Education Services Australia gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the SCIS cataloguing agencies in the preparation of the 2010 edition: ALCTS CRS Committee on Holding Information Holdings Update Forum 2010, Exploring E-Book Holdings: Relevance and Standards.
  • SCIS e-books

    1. 1. Education Services AustraliaSCIS e-booksCataloguing standards for e-books in school libraries
    2. 2. School library cataloguesprovide access to learning resources for the school community
    3. 3. SCIS is a selection source for e-books in schools
    4. 4. SCIS catalogues e-books
    5. 5. Enhanced content in SCIS
    6. 6. Students and staff expect to search in only one place to find school resources
    7. 7. The principles and standards that have served well for physical resources can be applied to digital resources
    8. 8. SCIS standards for cataloguing e-books5. STANDARDS FOR SPECIFIC FORMATS5.A INTRODUCTION5.B ... WEBSITES5.C ... VIDEORECORDINGS5.D ... LEARNING OBJECTS5.E ... E-BOOKS (Nov. 20 10)
    9. 9. What other information doe-book users want to know when searching?
    10. 10. Defining e-book “a book in an electronic format designed to be read in an e-reader” (Macquarie Dictionary) “an electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a personal computer or hand-held device designed specifically for this purpose” (Wikipedia) “the basic e-books landscape today includes text and audio, and it is available on readers (such as the Amazon Kindle), PCs, mobile consoles, or online” (ALCTS CRS)
    11. 11. e-book or app?
    12. 12. SCIS GMD = [website] If the e-book is available only as a website, or in html form on a website with the option to view or download a PDF version, or on a website with mixed media, use the GMD [website]. Warner Books Infobase e-books Scholastic ‘BookFlix’ EDUCAUSE e-books
    13. 13. SCIS GMD = [electronic resource] For other e-books, use the GMD [electronic resource]. If in doubt as to which GMD to use, use [electronic resource]. Examples Kindle e-book from Amazon E-book read online using e-reading software, eg Turning the Pages™, or Silverlight™
    14. 14. Original or reproduction? born digital? Cory Doctorow For the win ISBN: 978-0765322166 photographed? scanned with character recognition? edited? new edition? added features?
    15. 15. Multiple formats? Multiple records? Separate records for different versions of the same manifestation are to be discouraged. If the resource is available in various formats, include a note. Provider-Neutral E-Monograph MARC Record Guide
    16. 16. What is an ISBN? The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published internationally. Publications need separate ISBNs if anyone in the supply chain needs to identify them separately. Guidelines for the assignment of ISBNs to ebooks
    17. 17. ISBN mayhem 9780385752145 (hard cover) 0385752148 (hard cover) 9780385752152 (library binding) 0385752156 (library binding) 9780375898433 (e-book) 0375898433 (e-book) 9780385619011 (hbk.) 0385619014 (hbk.) 9780385619028 (pbk.)
    18. 18. SCIS Standards say… Give the ISBN in the MARC 020 if it pertains to the resource being described, i.e. the ISBN of the e-book edition. Do not record the ISBN of an original print edition.
    19. 19. When is a page not a page? If the GMD is [website], omit the physical description. If the GMD is [electronic resource], provide the extent of the item if it is readily available (AACR2R 9.5B3). Give other physical details if they are available and considered important (AACR2R 9.5C3). Examples: • 1 e-book (218 p.) • 21 p. : digital, PDF file.
    20. 20. Location and access Restrictions on access If the item is available only on subscription, include a note. Example A subscription is required to access this resource.
    21. 21. Links in 856 field For e-books available in various formats from a single source, link to the page which offers access to all formats. Optionally, include a link also to a specific version of the resource if it is freely available online. Examples 856 40 $u 856 40 $3 Online version $u http ://
    22. 22. SCIS Overdrive record
    23. 23. School catalogue
    24. 24. School digital library
    25. 25. Discussion How do we provide users with seamless access from catalogue record to e-book? If you create or acquire an e-book what strategy do you have for cataloguing it? What is the demand for e-books in your school community? What is your school’s plan for integrated access to all learning resources?
    26. 26. What next? SCIS professional learning program SCIS updates @schoolscatinfo
    27. 27. Acknowledgements • Leonie Bourke, Manager SCIS • Pru Mitchell, SCIS Support Coordinator • SCIS Team, Education Services Australia • SCIS Information Services Standards Committee