ETL505 has been one of the most difficult subjects to complete. Developing an understanding of several big concepts such as using Resource Description and Access (RDA), metadata, building Dewey numbers, analysing Dewey numbers, and SCIS subject headings in just one short semester was just crazy. Whilst I am sure something must have stuck, I am not sure how much!
As teacher librarians one of our most important roles is to provide access to information and resources for our students and other members of the school community. We are no longer in a world of quiet school libraries that consist mostly of shelves full of books with perhaps a few computers tucked in a quiet corner. On a daily basis we are dealing with a huge variety of resources in many different formats such as computer games, books, graphic novels, websites, DVDs, equipment, globes, games and ebooks. One of the challenges that teacher librarians and libraries in general face is firstly dealing with and helping others deal with the onslaught of information that we face every day. The other challenge is competing with Google and other similar content searchers. We need to be providing an experience that enables users to find the information they need in the format they require.
The implementation of RDA has been a welcome move and allows for a much more accurate description of a wider variety of sources. It seemed logical and made a lot of sense to me that we should describe items in this much more flexible way. The system is based on the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) user tasks of Find, Identify, Select, and Obtain. It also describes the hierarchy of bibliographic data and is compatible with AACR2. Because RDA is constructed based on the user tasks it should make the user experience much more friendly.
One of the other areas that I was particularly interested in was the development of fourth generation library systems. I have long thought that library systems should be much more interactive. Students are used to participating in an interactive online environment. I have often thought that more students would be encouraged to use the catalogue if it had elements of online experiences that students are familiar with such as avatars, posting and liking or rating. It is great to see that this is on its way. Destiny and Oliver are two library management systems that are heading in this direction.
Having some knowledge of how various types of information are described and the philosophy behind those descriptions will be useful when collating and curating information thereby providing more consistent access for students and teachers. The ALIA/ASLA Standards for Professional Excellence for Teacher Librarians standard 1.4 Knowledge of library and information management states that excellent teacher librarians should:
• understand that professionally managed and resourced school
libraries are crucial to the achievements of the school community
• have a rich professional knowledge of national standards for
library and information management
• have a comprehensive understanding of national standards for
What we have learned in this subject will help us meet these standards.
Australian School Library Association and Australian Library and Information Association (2004). Standards of Professional Excellence for Teacher Librarians. Retrieved on 29/09/2013 from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.aspx