Monday, 12 October 2015

Eighth rung - ETL505 Critical Reflection

My final development as a Teacher Librarian could have never been structured without ETL505. The revelations demanded of this subject were substantial; however the knowledge I gained will only benefit my cataloguing abilities and subsequently the facilities of my future library.

Initially this subject presented the premise that to be useful, information must be organised, based upon this principle merely providing access to information is not sufficient. If data is organised and coupled with resource description, it facilitates access and retrieval within practical time frames. Both the modules and text (Hider, 2012) denoted that the utilization of a common standard of describing and organising information resources could only be beneficial to the majority of individual school librarians in order to avoid ‘reinventing the wheel’.

To this point the subject focussed on the advocated replacement of AACR2. The principal advantage of Resource Description and Access (RDA) is its focus on producing a content focused catalogue, as apposed to AACR2s previous concentration on format (Hider & Harvey, 2008). Based on the conceptual models of FRBR and FRAD, the process transfers the purpose from the cataloguer to the user with emphasis on the user finding, identifying, selecting and retrieving resources (Hider, 2012).

The basis for an effective cataloguing system is the recording of quality metadata (Caplan, 2003). The ability for school librarians to manipulate this metadata content to best expresses works held within their library would be an advantage to both staff and students (O’Connell, 2013).   Based upon the subject retrieval processes that are in standard use by staff and students of a school library, this facilitates successful access and retrieval of information (Hider, 2012). My understanding of the standardising of access points by means of controlled vocabulary has been refined by my cataloguing applications during my ETL507 practicum.

The focus on Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC23) presented me with a completely unfamiliar structure of operation. However my preceding understanding of Library of Congress aided in decoding the fundamentals of descriptive cataloguing and number building. The application of Web Dewey and the SCIS ensemble streamlines the cataloguing process; the provision by SCIS of an established system delivers the building blocks that allow TLs to tailor their own usages. SCIS has designed for ongoing updates through progressive modifications of subject headings, allowing for continued relevance and currency.
The resulting unified cataloguing standard provides advantages to the end user as well as the cataloguer, in manipulation, access and retrieval of metadata resources (Education Services Australia, (c), 2015): Hider & Harvey, 2008: Welsh, & Batley, 2012).

Stressful and challenging as the journey has been, ETL505 has helped me develop a comprehension of the theory of cataloguing if not yet a faultless practical application. This theory became tangible in cataloguing during my school ETL507 placement; through these procedures I finally realised that information organisation cannot be created in a vacuum, to be effective, an understanding of client requirements is essential to the success of the school library (Hider, 2012: Manifold, 2014).

ETL505 is the penultimate step I in my developmental ladder as a teacher librarian, it has presented me with involved and challenging concepts and demonstrated the importance of defining educational resources, rather than just providing access to information. These concepts will enable me to become a supportive teacher librarian and will assist me in the ultimate step in my teacher librarian ladder, by providing an effective service benefiting the clients of my school library.


Caplan, P. (2003). Metadata fundamentals for all librarians. Chicago: American
Library Association.

DDC 23. (2015). Summaries. Retrieved from:

Education Services Australia. (2015). SCIS subject headings. Compiled
by Schools Catalogue Information Service. Retrieved from

Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description: Creating and
managing metadata. London: Facet Publishing.

Hider, P. & Harvey, R. (2008). Organising knowledge in a global society:
 and practice in libraries and information centers. (Revised ed.). Wagga Wagga. New South Wales: Charles Sturt University, Center for Information Studies.

Manifold, A. (2014). Libraries and metadata in a sea of information. Connections,
89. Retrieved from: _metadata_in_a_sea_of_information.html

O’Connell, J. (2013). RDA for school libraries: The next generation in cataloguing.
Access, 27(3), 4-6.

Welsh, A & Batley, S. (2012). Practical cataloguing: AACR, RDA and Marc 21.

London: Facet Publishing.

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