This guide is written for staff in New Zealand school libraries. It outlines currently accepted practice for cataloguing library resources and outlines the processes for standards-based data entry. It explains how to read and understand a bibliographic record and the importance of consistent data entry.
A school library collection catalogued according to standard rules and practices allows your library users to retrieve information effectively, maximising the use of your collection.
We encourage all New Zealand schools to use reliable, authoritative catalogue records – either the SCIS subscription service, or the National Library’s free SchoolsCat – and we provide information about where to go for any titles not matched through these services.
This guide is not designed to teach you how to do original, manual cataloguing. In line with libraries worldwide, we encourage schools to use reliable, quality catalogue records – and we outline the processes to follow in this guide.
Cataloguing your school library resources: an introduction
Where to obtain catalogue records
How to read a catalogue record
General Material Designations (GMD)
Subject headings and keywords – the difference
Cataloguing standards and tools
Cataloguing new resources
Dewey Decimal Classification
Retrospective cataloguing using SCIS or SchoolsCat
Glossary of cataloguing terms
Copy cataloguing refers to the process of cataloguing items by ordering and downloading existing bibliographic records from other databases or catalogues. The two sources we recommend come from the Schools Catalogue Information Service, Australia (SCISWeb) which is a subscription service or the free service from the National Library of New Zealand, SchoolsCat, which works best using Internet Explorer or Safari (Apple Mac).
The cataloguing in this guide is based on SCIS standards for cataloguing and data entry (Please note: SCIS Standards are published online as eight separate PDFs. These appear as the first eight items on the list of 52 documents that this link brings up).
SCISWeb and SchoolsCat will:
When cataloguing, we encourage school library staff to download or copy records from SCIS and/or SchoolsCat in the first instance.
Every subscribing school is assigned a user name and password for SCISWeb.
For information about access to SCISWeb, contact SCIS Customer Support. Find out more about SCISWeb
SCIS Subject headings
An essential cataloguing tool for all school librarians is an online list of subject headings. Being online the headings and terminology will always be kept current. You will need to subscribe to one of these and as SCIS has been designed with students in mind, we recommend you purchase SCIS Subject Headings online.
This is a separate subscription from SCISWeb. You can subscribe to the Subject Headings even if you do not get your catalogue records from SCIS.
Every school wishing to use SchoolsCat must register with the National Library. You will be issued with a username and password. To register for SchoolsCat complete the online form.
N.B. SchoolsCat subject headings do not always use language suitable for schools. Use SCIS Subject Headings Online for alternative and more appropriate subject headings that can be used instead (Subscription and password required).
This section describes the information usually contained in catalogue records using examples from both SchoolsCat and SCIS, and explains what some of the abbreviations and terms mean.
Some of the information in a catalogue record serves to identify the particular title (e.g. title, publisher, paging). Other information describes the content of the title to support selection of that title for use (e.g. subject headings, summary).
The amount of detail in catalogue records can vary widely from title to title.
Here are two titles used as examples: one fiction and one non-fiction.
If you have any queries about the content of catalogue records please contact a Library Adviser on 0800 LIBLINE (0800 542 5463)
Bibliographic record - Quick View
Record number 13237165
Author MacIver, Juliette, 1972-
Title Marmaduke Duck and the marmalade jam / written by Juliette MacIver ; illustrated by Sarah Davis.
Publisher Auckland, N.Z.: ‡b Scholastic, ‡c 2010.
1 v. (unpaged) : ‡b col. ill. ; ‡c 26 cm.
Dewey NZ823.3 ‡2 22
ISBN 9781775430025 (hbk.) : ‡c $30.00
9781869439286 (pbk.) : ‡c $18.99
LC Children’s Ducks—Fiction
Stories in rhyme
Genre heading Children’s stories, New Zealand.
Summary Down in the woods, not far from the sea, Marmaduke Duck found a grapefruit tree. “What luck!” cried the duck. “How lucky I am! I’ll take some and make some marmalade jam.” The smell of Marmaduke Duck’s marmalade jam cooking draws a lot of other animals to his river. Suggested level: junior.
Note Picture story book for children.
Other contributor Davis, Sarah, 1971-
Record number: The number for this record in the SchoolsCat database
Author: The name of the main writer of the book, or the first writer. Some resources have no author. Only one person is named as author at the beginning of a catalogue record. Names of people are formatted following cataloguing standards.
Title: The information here is copied as it appears on the title page and includes titles, subtitles and any statements about authors, editors, illustrators, etc. that appear with the title.
Publisher: The place of publication, name of the publisher and date of publication are taken from the book. This helps to identify specific titles, especially for books that have been published many times by different publishers.
Description: Confirms that the resource is a book. Usually includes the number of pages (if the pages are numbered), the presence of any illustrations and the height of the book.
Dewey: Dewey Decimal Classification number and the edition of the classification scheme that was used. Edition 22 was used for this Dewey number.
ISBN: International Standard Book Number: This book has ISBNs for both the hardback and paperback editions (hbk and pbk in the record). Sometimes a price will be supplied with the ISBN. Books published since 2007 will have 13-digit ISBNs, while older titles have 10-digit ISBNs.
The ISBN numbers are assigned by specific agencies and are constructed as follows:
LC Children’s Subject: These subject headings are taken from a list created by the Library of Congress and they show what the book is about.
Genre heading: This heading is also taken from a list created by the Library of Congress and it shows what the book is. Genre headings can be added to records describing fiction (including picture books), plays and poetry.
Summary: This note provides an outline of the story.
Note: Notes are used to provide additional useful information that is not covered by the other parts of the catalogue record. In this example the note identifies this book as a picture book.
Other contributor: Illustrators and second or third authors will be listed as other contributors to a book. Names of organisations can also appear as contributors.
SCIS No: 1476705
Title: Marmaduke Duck and the marmalade jam / by Juliette MacIver ; illustrated by Sarah Davis.
Publisher: Auckland : Scholastic, 2010
Description:  p. : col. ill.
Main Author: MacIver, Juliette.
Contributors: Davis, Sarah.
Subject Headings: Ducks - Poetry. scisshl
Jam and jam making - Poetry. scisshl
Animals - Poetry. scisshl
Stories in rhyme. scisshl
Humorous poetry. scisshl
New Zealand poetry - 21st century. scisshl
Fruit (Food) scot
Verse stories. scot
New Zealand literature.scot
Call Nos: NZ821 MAC a14
NZ821.3 MAC 22
Notes: New Zealand author, New Zealand illustrator.
Summary: Down in the woods, not far from the sea, Marmaduke Duck found a grapefruit tree. “What luck!” cried the duck. “How lucky I am! I’ll take some and make some marmalade jam.” The smell of Marmaduke Duck’s marmalade jam cooking draws a lot of other animals to his river. A story in rhyme.
SCIS No: The number for this catalogue record in the SCIS database
ISBN: As for SchoolsCat record
Title: As for SchoolsCat record
Publisher: As for SchoolsCat record
Description: The SCIS cataloguer has counted the pages for this book and the height of the book is not recorded. These are normal variations in recording a description.
Main Author: The same as the Author in SchoolsCat
Contributors: The same as Other contributors in the SchoolsCat record
Subject headings: The subject headings have been taken from two different lists published by the Australian publisher Curriculum Corporation.
Call Nos: These are Dewey Decimal classification numbers followed by the first three letters of the main author’s surname. The final numbers indicate the edition of Dewey that has been used.
Notes: As for the SchoolsCat record, but providing slightly different information. The summary appears as a second note, rather than having its own heading, but is almost identical to the SchoolsCat summary.
Bibliographic record: Quick View
Record number: 12910859
Author: Benson, Michael, 1962-
Title: Beyond : a solar system voyage / Michael Benson.
Publisher: New York, NY : Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2009.
121 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 29 cm.
Dewey: 523.2 22
LC Call Number: QB501
LC Subject: Astronomy —Pictorial works —Juvenile literature.
Solar system —Juvenile literature.
Solar system —Pictorial works —Juvenile literature.
LC Children’s Astronomy.
Subject: Solar system.
Summary: Presents the solar system from the perspective of the space probes sent to explore the heavens. Suggested level: intermediate, junior secondary.
Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 118) and index.
Most of the information in this record is similar to that in the Marmaduke Duck record but there are some differences as follows:
LC Call Number: This is a call number created using the Library of Congress Classification scheme. This scheme is only used in the larger university libraries in New Zealand.
LC Subject: Library of Congress Subject Headings: a list of subject headings used by all kinds of libraries from large national and university libraries to smaller public and school libraries.
LC Children’s Subject: This is a simpler version of Library of Congress Subject Headings, developed to describe juvenile titles in public and school libraries.
Note: This note supplies information about the location of references or a bibliography, and the presence of an index.
SCIS No: 1426773
Title: Beyond : a solar system voyage / Michael Benson.
Publisher: New York, NY : Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2009.
Description: 120 p. : col. ill.
Main Author: Benson, Michael.
Subject Headings: Astronomy - Pictorial works. scisshl
Solar system - Pictorial works. scisshl
Call Nos: 523.2 BEN a14
523.2 BEN 22
GoogleBooks: SCIS records also include links to GoogleBooks where you can find more information and check sample pages of the title.
MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging) is a way of coding the information in catalogue records so that the records can be indexed and searched. MARC uses numbers as labels for the information in the records.
Here is an example of part of a record in the MARC format. This is based on the Detailed View display in SchoolsCat
100 1_ |a Benson, Michael, |d 1962-
245 10 |a Beyond : |b a solar system voyage / |c Michael Benson.
260 __ |a New York, NY : |b Abrams Books for Young Readers, |c 2009.
300 __ |a 121 p. : |b ill. (chiefly col.) ; |c 29 cm.
504 __ |a Includes bibliographical references (p. 118) and index.
520 __ |a Presents the solar system from the perspective of the space probes sent to
explore the heavens. Suggested level: intermediate, junior secondary.
650 _0 |a Astronomy |v Pictorial works |v Juvenile literature.
650 _1 |a Astronomy.
651 _0 |a Solar system |v Juvenile literature.
651 _0 |a Solar system |v Pictorial works |v Juvenile literature.
651 _1 |a Solar system.
Here is a translation of the MARC codes:
100 = Author
245 = Title
260 = Publisher
300 = Description
504 = Bibliography note
520 = Summary
650 = LC Subject
651 = LC Children’s Subject
These are terms used to describe the resource, found either in brackets following the title in the title field of the record, or in the ‘type’ field of the record.
SCIS uses the following list of GMDs:
activity card microform
art original microscope slide
art reproduction model
braille motion picture
electronic resource realia
flash card sound recording
game technical drawing
Reproduced with permission from SCIS.
1. Purpose of subject headings vs keywords
2. Vocabulary control
Subject headings use:
3. Consistency of terms used
4. Fields searched by subject or keyword
Searching by subject heading:
Searching by keyword:
5. Reference links in the library catalogue
Links from non-approved to approved subject headings:
When using keywords:
In this section we outline the importance of cataloguing standards, and list the tools and standards used as the basis for the catalogue records that you will be accessing and downloading from SCIS or SchoolsCat.
A standards-based library catalogue is based on international cataloguing rules and standards to ensure accurate and consistent data entry.
A standards-based library catalogue enables your library staff to provide effective guidance to teachers and students in the use of the OPAC, search strategies and conventions.
Every item in the collection must be described using a standard format. Each bibliographic description must contain the same basic components. Consistent and correct punctuation must be used.
Standards are required to:
Anglo-American cataloguing rules. 2nd ed., 2002 Revision. Chicago, Ill.: American Library Association, 2002 + Amendments approved by the Joint Steering Committee of AACR.
SCIS standards for cataloguing and data entry compiled by Schools Catalogue Information Service. Carlton South, Vic : Curriculum Corp., 2002- 2nd ed. May 2005 Revision. ISBN: 1863665684
MARC 21 format for bibliographic data including guidelines for content designation. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress.
MARC 21 format for authority data including guidelines for content designation. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress.
MARC 21 concise formats. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress.
Abridged Dewey decimal classification and relative index. 15th ed. Dublin, Ohio.: OCLC, 2012.
SCIS subject headings. Latest ed. Carlton South, Vic.: Curriculum Corporation. + New and changed headings approved by the SCIS Information Services Standards Committee.
We do not advocate creating original records as a task for school library staff as this is a job for cataloguing specialists. Downloading standards-based records is a far more accurate, consistent and time efficient process.
By using standards-based products like SCISWeb and SchoolsCat, and taking advantage of suitable copy records from recommended sites for unmatched items, you will save time and avoid the need to correct inconsistencies at a later date.
SCIS: Here are the basic instructions for using SCISWeb. Note especially points 1.1-4.4
Your library incorporates not just your print based collection but may also include a range of online information sources. You are able to catalogue these items in the same way you would catalogue a book.
SCISWeb includes a wide range of educational websites which have been selected as suitable for primary and secondary schools. Each site is catalogued and includes a URL link to the site which can be imported into your library catalogue. If you are using the WebOPAC module of your library management system students can simply click on the URL from within the catalogue and go directly to the site they require.
If you do decide to catalogue online resources, we recommend you also run a link checker on a regular basis, to avoid having dead links in your catalogue.
Here are the instructions for downloading catalogue records for websites using SCIS:
Even without an exact match, you can still use SCIS OPAC and SchoolsCat to locate:
To locate a SCIS number for resources without ISBNs or a different edition (PDF)see points 5.1 – 7.2. Select this record within your own catalogue (ILS) and alter any details that are different to those that match your resource e.g. ISBN, publication date etc.
If you have new or unmatched items which are not already catalogued on the SCISWeb database and your school is a SCIS subscriber, you can send items to a New Zealand SCIS cataloguer for consideration. If appropriate the cataloguer will arrange for records to be provided by SCIS.
For Details of SCIS cataloguers, schools need to fill out a contact form online to ask for details.
See also SchoolsCat – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (DOC)
If a record is not available on either of these databases/catalogues we recommend you search either of the following online catalogues, and copy the relevant details from the catalogue record:
Special attention needs to be given to Dewey Decimal Classification numbers and subject headings, see Modifying classification options.
When a suitable subject heading has been located, search under it in SCIS OPAC to get an indication of the appropriate Dewey number.
There will be rare occasions when you want to catalogue a unique item for which there will never be a catalogue record available from standard sources such as SCIS and SchoolsCat.
The following instructions are limited to providing accurate input for unique items e.g. local histories, students’ published writing, school websites, or other locally created items.
Creating a new record is only necessary if a bibliographic record is unavailable from SCISWeb, SchoolsCat, WorldCat or Trove.
Please follow these instructions closely to ensure that your records remain accurate.
Any new records created must conform to SCIS standards for cataloguing and data entry (Please note that the SCIS standards appear as the first eight documents (PDFs) in the list of 52 documents brought up via this link).
Using SCIS OPAC to assist with creating a new record (for a unique item)
Using SchoolsCat to assist with creating new records (for a unique item)
New Zealand schools use the Dewey Decimal Classification system. The preferred edition is the current Abridged edition, rather than full Dewey (which tends to use more digits after the decimal point).
For school library staff new to the Dewey system, here is a PowerPoint explanation of how it works: Get to know the Dewey Decimal Classification system.
For a simple explanation of how the Dewey system works, aimed at both students and staff, here is a great online site from Nettleton Intermediate Centre, Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA: Do we really know Dewey?. It outlines a number of library basics, including the difference between fiction and non-fiction, what a call number is, and then outlines the concepts covered by the Dewey ‘hundreds’, along with a range of related activities.
We advise against truncating (i.e. shortening) Dewey numbers, for the following reasons:
However, there are some instances where you will need to change the classification provided by SCIS or SchoolsCat, so that books are shelved according to accepted practice in New Zealand school libraries:
The use of a ‘biography / autobiography’ subject heading for all such catalogue entries means that all your biographical resources can easily be brought up in a ‘biography’ or ‘autobiography’ search. We recommend that schools follow the SCIS classification.
Authority files - a brief introduction
An integrated library system (ILS) – the correct term for your library automated catalogue - has authority files. These can include subject headings, authors’ names, series and names of organisations (e.g. Department of Conservation).
Correct use of authority files ensures consistency and accuracy. For example, if a catalogue contains several forms of the same author’s name: Smith, Jane; Smith, J; Smith, J.S., any one search by author would only locate some of the resources. However, if the same form was always used for the author’s name, all of the resources by this author would be located.
Authority files: global change / merge facility
Most ILS have a global change / merge facility to change data in the authority files. The global change / merge facility should be used to correct data which does not comply with SCIS standards of cataloguing and data entry.
It is preferable to globally change or merge a term in an authority file, rather than delete it. Always backup the ILS before making these changes. Contact your system vendor for instructions.
Some vendors’ preloaded authority records are inaccurate. They will need to be merged to comply with SCIS standards for cataloguing and data entry (Please note that the SCIS standards appear as the first eight documents (PDFs) in the list of 52 documents brought up via this link).
Retrospective cataloguing is the process of overwriting existing catalogue records with those contained in an authoritative database of machine-readable (MARC) records, that can be easily and quickly downloaded e.g. SCIS or SchoolsCat.
With the introduction of SCIS and SchoolsCat many schools may consider this process very seriously as a means of replacing old and possibly inaccurate existing catalogue records.
This process would:
Records from SCIS / SchoolsCat which match the ISBNs in your existing records are imported into your catalogue. You will use these new records to overwrite the core information about the item. Providing you have selected specific library system settings before you begin the process you are still able to retain notes and financial information from your existing records.
We strongly recommend that you discuss your particular issues and the process involved with a Library Adviser on 0800 LIBLINE (0800 542 5463), before embarking on this procedure.
The main point is that the descriptive cataloguing information and subject access will be updated to meet SCIS standards.
The process of retrospective cataloguing will be different for each school.
Some library systems will allow the retention of existing subject headings and classification numbers. These need to be completely overwritten with new records, not appended to.
Discuss with all library staff and your school Principal the work involved and the scope of the project. In preparing your case for undertaking such a project, there are a number of important issues to look at in some detail, including the following:
Once these issues have been decided:
Your ILS will have authority files in various fields, e.g. author, organisations, subject headings etc.
Deleting the authority files should only be contemplated if you are re-cataloguing the entire collection.
Be very careful and ensure that:
Please consult the Glossary for the meaning of any unfamiliar terms used in this guide. Here is the Glossary of cataloguing terms (PDF).
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