ScOT Subject access


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Presentation by Les Kneebone, Project Manager, Schools Online Thesaurus (ScOT) as part of the SCIS consultation workshop on 4 December 2012. This session provides an overview of developments in ScOT, its use in Australian Curriculum and as a source of subject access in school library systems.

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  • SCIS Subject Headings is a classic example of the type of controlled vocabulary that has been used to provide subject access in library catalogues for a very long time. It has served school libraries extremely well, providing terminology that matches the topics covered by the types of resources that are described in a school library catalogue. ScOT terminology, as stated above, is based on the content of school curriculums, so there is a lot of similarity between ScOT terms and SCIS Subject Headings. The differences between the two lie in the way that the terms are applied in subject cataloguing and the way that they work in information retrieval systems. You will be thoroughly familiar with the strings that appear as subject headings in SCIS records. Something about coal mining in New Zealand will have the subject heading Coal mining - New Zealand. In a ScOT-enhanced record for the same resource three separate terms - Coal, Mining and New Zealand - will capture the subject.Presenting the subject terms in this uncoordinated way may seem at odds with the way that library management systems handle subject access. It is, however, much more closely aligned to the way that subject terms are provided in the metadata of the many information retrieval systems that are emerging in schools - content management systems, learning object repository systems, learning management systems. In aligning SCIS records in this way, we are responding to emerging needs in schools: the need to adjust computer systems in schools so that they can exchange content with each other more easily and the need to support moves towards more seamless searching across multiplying systems in schools. To use the words of the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA) ICT in Schools Taskforce: 'It is highly desirable that the system that enables teachers to plan lessons or units of work online also enables them to seamlessly discover resources from a local educational repository or from school library collections ...' (MCEETYA, 2003).Rachel SalmondSCIS Investment Project Manager, 2006
  • Because the learning objects were being made available in an online, keyword search environment, the decision was made not to use SCIS subject headings as the primary means of subject access, because:The compound terms, inverted headings and pre-coordinated term strings utilised in a subject heading list like SCIS Subject Headings are designed to be most effective in an indexed search environment. (OPAC)b) The process of updating and making changes to SCIS subject headings lacked the flexibility required by TLF developers.However, early versions of ScOT were based heavily on SCIS Subject Headings.The ScOT set of terms has much more in common with the way that subject terms are presented in the metadata for electronic information in resource discovery systems other than library management systems, such as learning object repositories, portals and intranets. These systems are now lining up in schools, alongside the long-established library catalogue, as gateways to an ever-expanding range of resources to support teaching and learning. The presence of ScOT terms in SCIS records will support practical investigation of ways of making the information seekers' search experience of these various gateways as seamless and as simple as possible.Rachel SalmondSCIS Investment Project Manager
  • ScOT Subject access

    1. 1. Education Services Australia Les Kneebone Project manager – Schools Online Thesaurus
    2. 2. SCIS subject headings • Rationale • Reference structures • Getting the message out about value of authority files • Updates and usability of authority files • Future
    3. 3. ScOT in SCIS project “Schools of the future will most likely move to unified discovery systems which will make a standardised approach to resource subject description very desirable for schools – keyword searching is rapidly becoming the pre-eminent means of resource retrieval” ScOT in SCIS project, 2006
    4. 4. ScOT overview Warrant Curriculum Identifiers Structure Multilingual
    5. 5. ScOT warrant Vocabulary Curriculum Users
    6. 6. ScOT in Australian curriculumScOT is used to describe Australian Curriculum
    7. 7. Aligning resources Content SCOT SCOT Curriculum 123 SCOT SCOT SCOT SCOT Search for content with high correlation of SCOT tags for 123Alignment between resources andcurriculum may be inferred via ScOT
    8. 8. Identifiers Managing concepts, not ‘terms’ Identifiers are http and resolvable Concepts may be dereferenced from resources
    9. 9. 生態系; 生态系统; Mātauranga taupuhi kaiao; Ekosistem; ; Ökosystem; Οικοσύστημα; Ecosistema; 생태계; Hệ sinh thái; Ekosistem; Ecosistema; ; Écosystème Ecosystems Ecology Biodiversity; Biogeochemical cycles; Bioindicators; Biomes; Competition (Ecology); Ecological niches; Ecological succession; Food webs; Habitats; Land degradation; Native species; Populations (Ecology); SymbiosisUse for resources about communities of organisms interacting with eachother and with their environment, the processes that take place.
    10. 10. Discussion How can school library systems realise the benefits of ScOT for curriculum alignment, multilingual subject access and search? Option 1 Transition from use of SCIS subject headings to ScOT terms Option 2 Manage and display both SCIS subject headings AND ScOT terms in a meaningful way for users