ETL505: Module 5 – Classification

5.2 Classification in School Libraries

As I’m reading through the section on how libraries can be organised and the collection grouped, I’m bursting to write about my local library… maybe I’ll do a video?

But I wanted to share about the new Local History Research Room that recently opened.  The library had a research room for local history but this one is much bigger and looks amazing (from the outside, I haven’t been in yet).

Our local library uses the Dewey Decimal System, with non-fiction titles for all ages inter shelved (when I was growing up the library had a separate junior non-fiction section).  The fiction section is separated into Large Print and normal print books, with some trade paperbacks (such as Mills and Boon) shelved on circular freestanding shelving.  DVDs have their own section and Foreign language materials their own.  The children’s fiction is separate to the adults, with picture books around the walls, board books in low, accessible boxes and a small section of simple factual books.  Premier’s Reading Challenge books are shelved separately to the other books and there is a large selection of graded readers and graphic novels.  The teen or young adult section is separate again with fiction and graphic novel subsections.  I have been to one library (a university library I visited in high school) that didn’t use Dewey – I’m guessing they used LoC, but I don’t remember (it was over 20 years ago).

5.3 Dewey Decimal Classification

I’m really not sure how in depth I need to understand this.  I am planning to come back to this more when I work on this aspect of Assignment 2.

OCLC has created an exciting experimental web page, ‘Classify’

Check your textbook on ‘Classify’ to see what DDC classification number is most commonly applied to that resource.

What impact do you feel this site might have on assigning classification numbers if it becomes a permanent service?

I first looked for our textbook, but then I decided to search for one of the books I am currently reading – Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.  It’s most commonly classified in 306.487, in Games and Hobbies.  Now, obviously I’m not an expert at classification but this particular classification seems to ignore that the book is primarily about computer games (794.8), and that it is about social good.

The issue I can see with Classify is that it encourages herd thinking “What is everyone else thinking?” rather than thoughtful consideration.

This submodule is going to take a while because there are training webinars to watch and documents to read…

Web Dewey Technical Handbook, Exercises

Exercise: Find the correct DDC number. Which rule supports that choice?

1. Leopards, tigers, and lions (interdisciplinary work)

2. History of Swaziland and Lesotho
3. Volcanoes and earthquakes (interdisciplinary work)

4. Obedience training for your miniature Schnauzer

5. Middle-aged veterans as workers [labor economics]

  1. 599.75 – it covers members of the cat family and I can’t find any notes on where to put an ID otherwise
  2. 968.8 – this covers the history of Swaziland (now called Eswatini) and Lesotho
  3. 363.34/95 – specific heading for volcanoes and earthquakes
  4. 636.7/0887 – Dogs, care and maintenance, obedience training
  5. 331.3/94 – labor economics, middle aged workers

Exercise: What is the correct built number?

1. Journal of marketing management

2. History of banks in Washington, DC

3. Thai cooking: recipes

4. Foreign relations between the United States and Canada (emphasis on U.S.)

  1. 050.50688
  2. 32.10973797
  3. 641.59593
  4. 327.09371

There are some further optional exercises in this module, and more workbooks that we could use but I think I need to wait until we have the assignment work to get right into it.

Why is the subject heading for real estate appraisers "Real estate appraisers" but the subject heading for "Real estate appraisal" is "real property - valuation"?

5.4 DDC in School Libraries

After a three week break from module work I am finally back to completing this module!

Examine 3:C1 (p. 3-4) which gives the rationale for SCIS decisions on, and adaptations to, DDC 23 and ADDC 15. Do you agree with the logic used here?

I don’t think SCIS is always right in their decisions. I know my friend and fellow student Marika has commented that SCIS has catalogued many rhyming picture books in with poetry in Dewey rather than as a traditional fiction/picture book.  I think librarians also need the discretion to change a Dewey number.  For example, a book on War Ships may be classified with ships in general but it may make more sense for that particular collection and cohort to have that book classified in with the other books on War because students are unlikely to look for war books in the transport collection.

Read 3:C3 (p. 3-4). In the last paragraph SCIS effectively argues that the assigning of RDA access points and vocabulary based subject access are more important in assisting users to locate the resources they need than Dewey classification numbers. Do you agree?

I disagree that it is trying to say that, but I also disagree that RDA Access points are more important in a primary school library.  While RDA Access points are important, students in a primary school need to reliably find things on the shelf, and are less likely to be independently using the OPAC.  I also feel that this section is an argument against genrefication, which I disagree with.

I am finding the building of Dewey numbers to be overwhelming and now I need to read about the SCIS adaptations to that and it’s just too much today.  I’m going to come back to it.  Probably when doing my assignment.

Classifying Fiction

Exercise 5 – my answers

a. A collection of short (fictional) stories by Henry Lawson – Dewey/NF. Fiction.  I guess I’m thinking about my local library that would put this in the 800s with Australian Literature

b. A novel written specifically for remedial readers – Fiction ✔︎

c. A critical work on the short (fictional) stories of Henry Lawson – Dewey/NF, critical works ✔︎

d. A collection of ‘liberated’ fairy tales written by a feminist writer – Fiction ✔︎

e. A video tape of ‘Thomas the tank engine’ stories – Fiction ✔︎

f. A simple picture book on farm animals – Fiction, although possibly non-fiction depending on content – This says NF.  I say I’m not wrong 😉 I just think there needs to be more information on this one

g. A picture book without words where the pictures tell a logical story – Fiction ✔︎

h. Mother Goose nursery rhymes – Non Fiction ✔︎

i. A set of readers written by top Australian children’s novelists – Probably Dewey since it’s a set ✔︎

j. Roald Dahl’s Revolting rhymes (a collection of short illustrated verses) – Dewey/Non Fiction ✔︎

Exercise 4

a. Exploration of Australia by Betty Smith – EXP So this is supposed to be SMI.  I’m confused. I think my local library uses the first three letters of the title for book numbers.  But the Authorised Access point is the Author unless there isn’t one.

b. Swimming and diving by Sophie Li – SWI This was supposed to be LI.  My issue is that it is not clear that this book is fiction.  If it was NF it would be SWI.  I think this question is poorly worded.

c. The best 100 years of film – BES ✔︎

Exercise 5

Determine the special book number which would be assigned to the following items. Write the book number in its correct form, i.e., capitals.

Answers are at the end of the module.

a. A biography of Ned Kelly, the bushranger, by Peter Raddy – KEL ✔︎

b. A critical analysis of Jane Austen’s Persuasion by William Clive – AUS ✔︎

c. A Vietnamese folktale, The red wind, (origin unknown) retold by Richard La Sonta – SON This should be RED to go with the title as the AAP not the author.

Then we are on to Exercise 6 which is Dewey again, which just makes me want to cry.

a. A critical work on the short stories of Henry Lawson by Pat Le Bruin – Dewey for critical analysis, LAW ✔︎

b. Seven little Australians (a picture book version of this novel created by John Horne; original work by Ethel Turner) – F TUR ✔︎

c. Traumatic incidents in schools: Guidelines for staff for counselling students by D. Owen, M. Lankford, P. Hehir and S. Zhang – Dewey OWE ✔︎

d. The illustrated collection of Mother Goose’s nursery rhymes illustrated by Jane Surrey – 398.2 MOT ✔︎

e. The Wagga Wagga Agricultural Show edited by Allan Gibbons- Fly – 630.74 WAG v

f. The discovery and exploration of Antarctica by Peter Hi  – Dewey number HI ✔︎

g. A play written in 2015 by the German playwright Heidi Van Moln, closely based on the traditional tale The three little pigs – Dewey number for plays THR

h. A fictional Christmas story in French by Pierre Lüddecke – F LUD ✔︎

i. The harvesting of rice crops in northeastern India by Mary MacPherson – Dewey number MAC ✔︎

j. Work shop manual for the EH Holden (sedan passenger car) produced by General Motors Holden – Dewey number GEN

I give up. I hate this.

ETL505: Module 4 (Part 2)

4.3 Subject Access in School Libraries

Now I’m into a SCIS Subject Headings Workbook…

The SCIS site takes so long to load properly and the content you need is the absolute last thing that loads… so far I’m in exercise three and it’s all really basic “look this up” stuff.

By the end… well I skipped the last three sections of the last exercise because I had enough really and I needed to pack up and get my kids from school.


Atoms – these look virtually identical in the Thesaurus and Subject headings

Minerals – this has an entry in the ScOT but the closest subject heading is Mineralogy.

Angles – these both have entries but the ScOT has more narrower terms associated with the entry

Cars – this is used in ScOT but Motor Cars is the closest subject heading.

I searched for AFL both in the Subject headings search and the basic search.  The Subject headings search came up with three options online (Australian Football League being first) and the basic search came up with 458 items.  For students searching for materials about AFL, a keyword search will likely help them find what they need than a subject heading search.

A search for GWS Giants turned up nothing in a keyword search, but an advanced search for “Giants” and “AFL” returned two results, one actually about the GWS Giants.

A Basic search for Alice in Wonderland turned up a lot of results but the first half a dozen were either movies, or foreign language translations, then there was a 1978 edition of the book then a whole pile more translations.  An advanced search for “Alice in Wonderland” in the title field and the dates 1990-2019 brought up something more useful.  A subject heading search brought up two results – one for the film and one for Lewis Carroll, with a subdivision for the Alice books.

Alice in Wonderland

ETL505 – Module 4 (Part 1)

4.1 Introduction

Ok, this is really just an introductory paragraph, nothing to comment on here except that it sounds like I’m way more ahead than I am (it’s the end of week three of uni and this content is set for week eight), but I haven’t had time off when the mid semester break is scheduled – I’ll do that in the school holidays.

4.2 Locating Resources by Subject

I have written before about the problems with the LCSHs, so I won’t go into it again here.

Perform some subject searches on the Library of Congress catalogue, by choosing ‘Browse’ and using the ‘SUBJECTS beginning with’ option.

LCSH- HockeySo, I began with Hockey – a sport I have recently started playing, and then chose the narrower term “Field hockey” – even field hockey has about 30 sub divisions, although they are really uneven. LCSH - field hockey Note in the below example that there are subheadings for Argentina (who, incidentally, I went to see play against Australia on Saturday) but none for Australia.
LCSH - Field Hockey

Then I looked at the SCIS subject headings.  The first, noticeable difference is that hockey is “used for” field hockey, and a narrower term is ice hockey (whereas I am pretty sure the LCSH use hockey to mean ice hockey by default). SCIS heading - HockeyMost students in Australia looking for ice hockey resources would search “ice hockey”, so this difference in vocabulary is important.

Next I searched the Thesaurus for Graphic Materials for “Emus”

TGM - EmusThen I looked at items in the LoC that had this description – to find there was only one.

I think this was used in a viewfinder to create a 3D images, as it’s described as “stereographic”?

With regards to classification systems, there are some I have read about that were not mentioned in the textbook. Sweden used to have their own classification system, but it started to be phased out in 2008. There was also recent news coverage about Galiwin’ku Library that abandoned the DDC in favour for a locally developed system that works for the local population.  You can hear more about it on the Turbitt n Duck podcast.

Social Tagging

A lot of services use social tagging – Flickr and YouTube in particular – and this is vital when the resource at hand can’t be searched for text because it is a visual medium.  However, the risks of inaccurate tags or multiple tags meaning the same thing are high.  For example, on Friday last week it was the day of the strike of school students to protest political inaction on climate change.  I noticed on Twitter that quite a few hashtags were trending including #SchoolStrike #StrikeForClimate #strike4climate #ClimateStrike and so on. Now as a human being, I can see that these hashtags are all about the same thing, but Twitter’s algorithms can’t.

Trove allows you to tag items in the collection and have that visible to the public, or privately. I used this tagging to create a virtual exhibition.



ETL505: Module 3 – RDA

3.5 Fundamentals of RDA

Practical cataloguing definitely looks… practical.  I want to sink my teeth into actually doing some cataloging instead of just reading about it…

I think I am grasping the gist of AACR and RDA and FRBR and FRAD.  But I do feel like I’m reading some of the same information over and over… I want to get more practical!

Later in this module, you will be encouraged to familiarise yourself with RDA and complete some cataloguing exercises.


And then our next “reading” is a course designed to take three hours.  I don’t have time for that today.  I’ll have to come back tomorrow.

Using the RDA Toolkit

Unit 1 Getting Started

Woohoo! This was simple – click on the link in the ETL505 module to get to the CSU Institutional account for the RDA Toolkit, then create my own user account.

Unit 2 Interface and Navigation

Can I start off by saying that this is a really antiquated website?  It’s so old and slow.  It looks like something I would have accessed 20 years ago.  And the instructions in the toolkit aren’t always clear – or certainly aren’t to someone who has no experience cataloguing.  I don’t actually think we are supposed to be working through this whole thing but the module says “It would be helpful for you to read the guide “Using the RDA Toolkit”…

I haven’t worked through all the exercises, but I will review them again if I have trouble finding something when we actually get to the cataloguing part.

Unit 3 Searching

This SAYS it was written in 2012 but it seems to have been written in 1992, when the web was new.  We know how to search – we are librarians!

Unit 4 Personalising the Toolkit

Now we can save searches and bookmark specific sections.

Unit 5 User Contributed Content

This looks to be useful for when you are cataloging for a specific institution- the nuances of how your library wants it done can be recorded here and links can be provided to the RDA toolkit when needed, rather than switching between multiple documents.

Unit 6 Help, Support and Other Services 

Well a good part of this section is out of date as the home page no longer has the links you are told to follow. However, looking at the Beta site gives me hope that this antiquated website will be updated soon.

This video in the module was much more helpful than the booklet and it’s good to know that we can easily access the NLA policies for RDA inline with the text.

Stop! Hammer time! aka Time to get cataloguing

Ok, at first, I was totally confused (well at least partially confused) and was basically just copying the example.  I did 3 or 4 before remembering there are answers at the end of the booklet.  I’m not cheating but I do check the answers after I complete each example so I can see if I’m on the right track.  I’ve completed seven of the twenty seven exercises so far.  I do have questions but once I got the first few done I felt like I was getting the hang of it.


So, I started tidying up the way-too-many open tabs in my browser and came to this video about mindset changes.  The first one, being ok with being the least capable person in the room, really resonated with me (and the second, being ok with failure, but I’ll get to that).  In my professional development as a future librarian I have consistently put myself in positions where I am the least capable person in the room.  About a week into my studies last year I went to GLAMSLAM2018 where I met so many amazing people and learned so much! I was a complete noob and none of the content really touched on school libraries – barely any of it was about libraries at all! But I got involved and later this week I will be attending GLAMSLAM2019.  This willingness to be the least qualified person in the room has lead me to my roles with ALIA SNGG and being on the ALIA National 2020 Conference Program Committee.  Being in a place where I am the least qualified means I have so many people I can learn from!

The second mindset change, being ok with failure, is harder for me. I am someone who has been pretty capable at most things.  I don’t like being bad at things.  A few years ago, hubby and I were eating lunch (or dessert?) in a park and there was a group of twenty-something men riding skateboards and practising jumps and other tricks.  One of these guys in particular was really bad.  He kept falling over or missing the trick he was trying to do.  And I was amazed that he was ok with failing over and over again so publicly.  Because I hate to fail.  But I am learning to step out of my comfort zone.  This summer I joined a hockey team in a social competition, even though I’d never really played hockey before.  After that experience (even though I made so many mistakes and messed up numerous times) I’ve signed up to play in a full field winter hockey competition.  At training, we train with everyone from A/1st grade down to newbies like me.  And it’s been a great experience (barring one small 30 second incident) and I’m mostly ok with failing – and back to the previous paragraph, being the least capable person out there, or close to anyway.

This does connect with cataloguing, I promise.  I want to be good at cataloguing.  But right now, I’m not.  I make mistakes.  Even on this blog, I’ve made mistakes on my FRBR examples.  And I need to be ok with messing up, with making mistakes, with asking for help and for clarification.  If I don’t keep trying, if I don’t ask for help, I’m not going to get any better.

Interval Part Two aka This is why metadata matters

Screenshot of tweet where Ben Aaronovitch is credited with writing a Terry Pratchett book

It might be hard to see in this screenshot of a screenshot but Ben Aaronovitch is credited as author of a Terry Pratchett book in a library system. In a response, Aaronovitch ponders that it might be an edition that he has written an intro to, but the original poster says that it’s not.  The responses

This is why metadata matters.  I’m guessing perhaps the metadata for the wrong edition got imported for this edition and somehow the actual author got dropped off and the first statement of responsibility was Ben Aaronovitch?  Who knows!

Back to Cataloguing

Argh.  Just as I felt like I was getting the hang of it, I got slammed with a much fuller catalogue entry required.  I ended up with more specific RDA references than were required in some places.  I also don’t know if it’s vital that the entries are in numerical order – mine weren’t because I was working with the data as I found it.

These final cataloguing exercises took a lot longer than the rest.  And I didn’t get any of them 100% correct but the further I went on the more I got correct.  Glad to have this done!

ETL505: Module 3 (Part Two)

3.3 Metadata Standards

I was interested to note that some of the later standards have headings for the intended audience.  While I can see that this would be a useful tool for selection (a university student does not want a book targeted to primary school students and vice versa) I have seen many instances where books have been incorrectly categorised according to recommended audience.  For example, the book “P is for Pakistan” has been listed as appropriate for children 4-6 years old, however, from personal evaluation of the book I can tell you that the book is for older children, perhaps 8-12 year olds, and incorrectly given an audience of 4-6 year olds due to its alphabetical nature.

I confess, this submodule was a really hard slog.  Over 50 pages to read in the textbook and a really dry hour-long webinar to watch.

One thing that a FRBR/RDA model could improve is serendipity.  In the example in the video, someone searching for Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell could come across literary analyses of the book, or a biography of the author, that they may not have known existed and would not find intershelved with the novel Gone With the Wind. This reminds me of the catalogue records for The Tate.

3.4 RDA, MARC and SCIS

I’m finding the nostalgia on this MARC reading quite strong – Computers now have floppy disks and hard drives instead of tape drives used by mainframe computers, and that data is usually sent via floppy disk. LOL!

I also engaged in an interesting conversation with my husband who works in IT about entities and relational databases, and how most library catalogues are just digitised versions of card catalogues and he thinks that relational databases are so logical for library catalogues and that our current systems don’t make any sense (except when you consider their 18th Century origins).



ETL505 – Module 2 Part 2

2.2 Other Tools and Systems

There’s actually not much to be said about this short sub-module.

I understand how crosswalks don’t necessarily give you an easy conversion, as I can relate it to foreign language learning.  Some things just don’t translate well word for word, especially idioms.  For example, we were watching Nailed It Mexico last night.  It’s a Spanish language program but has been overdubbed in English.  However, text on the screen is in Spanish, and translated with subtitles.  The screen read “unos momentos luego” which directly translates to “some moments later”, but was translated into the more familiar English phrase “A few moments later”.  Or, more obscurely, we could go with the phrase “patos malos” which directly translated means “bad ducks” but in Chilean slang means “thieves”.


Other Thoughts
WEMI diagram

I’ve been thinking about WEMI this past week, and I came up with a better analogy (for me to understand anyway).  For me, it makes more sense to explain it starting with a story that is “traditional” – that most likely came out of an oral tradition hundreds of years ago and is in the “public domain” with no known author.  In fact, an oral storytelling tradition would mean that there would be many different versions of the story before one was written down.  I made the diagram above based on the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and used the examples of the Walt Disney movie and the short story Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman.

I hope this helps someone else!

ETL505: Module 2 Part One

2.1 Tools of Library Organisation

I began exploring the SCIS catalogue and started with a book my daughter got for Christmas, that I have read.  Wundersmith.

Screenshot of the catalogue record for Wundersmith

I found it interesting that there are four different ISBNs for this book, and there are two different versions that I can’t tell what the difference between them is.

I was also quite interested in the MARC record for the book.

MARC record for Wundersmith (screenshot)

I also searched “Maas” for books by Sarah J Mass – and was very glad for the quick link to results from 2014 onwards.  I looked at A Court of Thorns and Roses, and then clicked through to see books from that series, before more closely examining A Court of Frost and Starlight.

Finally I searched “Peregrine” in an effort to find a specific book from the series of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  I settled on a book called “Tales of the Peculiar” which is by the same author and closely related to the series but not actually a part of the sequence of stories in the series.  It is also purported to be written by a character in the book (much the same way that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is written by Newt Scamander (while actually being written by J.K. Rowling).

Screenshot of the catalogue record for Tales of the Peculiar

I noticed that the fictional author and publisher are noted and the series is noted in “other titles” however it is not logged as part of the series and given a number in the series.

SCIS is a third generation catalogue – I am sitting at home to access it! All the libraries I access have third generation OPACs, although my children’s school libraries are not available remotely, although I understand they have the capacity.  So I would say that they are third generation OPACs without all their potential realised.

When comparing a journal database with a library catalogue, I searched the Library, Information Science and Technology Abstracts with Full Text EBSCOHost database, and searched for school libraries and took a look at the detailed record for the first result that came up.

Screenshot of record for Reflections on Managing a School Library

This has many of the same, or similar fields to the SCIS records, below this screenshot (not shown) there were fields for ISSN, DOI and an accession number.

Screenshot of the Trove record for the Press Dress

I love Trove. It is so useful.  Above is a screenshot of the catalogue record for The Press Dress (the actual dress; note that it is recorded as realia).  Trove gives us access to digitised newspapers, Government Gazettes and historical photographs.  I also love to use it to search for books I want to read.  Rather than individually search the catalogues of all the library systems I belong to (seven and counting), I can go to Trove, find the title that I want, and view which libraries hold that title.  Screenshot of Trove record for Calamity

Using Google image search, I uploaded an image of a Commodore 64 that I downloaded yesterday for my INF541 post.

Screenshot of Google image search

Google recognised what the image was of and found other similar images.  This can be useful when wanting to identify a flower or animal.

Next I searched Trove for a place in Australia, a local Aboriginal site called Red Hands Cave.

Screenshot of Trove picture, object, image search for red hands cave

Trove immediately found images relevant to this search.

I found the section on Sound Retrieval interesting, as it said that we don’t really have technology that can recognise sounds the same way.  But that’s not true.  We have Shazam. As an example, I used Shazam today to identify the song that was playing in the shop I was in (BTW I didn’t like the song).

Screenshot of Shazam result - Confess by Jack RiverThe module then asks for us to search for a favourite song on and Spotify. seems useless.  There’s no easily apparent way to search for a song, but only artist, and even when I search for the artist I can’t see how to find a specific song of hers. sia page - screenshot

The Spotify website doesn’t really work to find music.  You need the app.  However once I was in the app it was a simple task to find the song I was after.

Spotify screenshot of search results for "confetti"

For fun, I played the song on my computer and activated Shazam on my phone.  I took a screenshot and managed to capture the transition between the app “listening” and displaying the name of the song.

Screenshot of Shazam listening to Confetti

There’s other ways of searching for songs, such as by BPM. groups songs by BPM and the sort of time most people could run a kilometre if they run in time to the music. showing the BPM for Helium by Sia and others


Reading what I have of this module so far, I do feel like I am slowly wrapping my head around FRBR, but it is slow going.  I also have appreciated the quality of videos and audio content in this subject (contrasting with previous subjects I have completed.

ETL505: Module 1

1.1 Introduction aka You mean we actually need to read the Preface?  Who reads the preface?

Forum task

Why is it necessary for information agencies such as school libraries to organise information?

Information resources must be organised.  Apart from the aesthetics of organisation (that many of us indulged in over the break watching Marie Kondo), organisation in a library has many practical uses.

Firstly, we have retrievability.  If a resource is adequately described and its location given, it can be found in the catalogue and retrieved from its location with relative ease.

Secondly, we have serendipity.  If like is shelved with like it increases the chance of a library member finding another resource they may enjoy or find useful because it is shelved with other books by the same author or on the same topic.

Finally, we have accessibility.  Closely linked to points 1 and 2, if the materials are retrievable and logically shelved, it increases a library member’s ability to access resources themselves (making the assumption that we are discussing a school library where students have ready access to materials and not a special library where items must be retrieved by a staff member).  Librarians should not be the gatekeepers of knowledge and materials, and everything that can be done to empower members to find what they need independently is worth the effort.

I already know a bit about cataloguing, it’s limitations and criticisms of our current systems and methods.  I really hope this subject gets into some of the critical theories surrounding cataloging rather than just “here’s how you create metadata”.  The preface to the book gives me some hope that we will at least take a broad look at the principles that apply to cataloging rather than just the nuts and bolts of metadata fields.  The textbook is also broad – not just focused on school settings, but cataloging in general.  This is a good thing because ALIA accredits this course for all libraries, not just school libraries.


1.2  In which we define information resources and metadata.

I do feel like some of this chapter goes a little off course for the topic.  Do we need to know about the other ways (in other faculties) the term ‘metadata’ is used? But, on the whole, the chapter gives a good explanation of what metadata is and why we need it. I felt like it provided good, relatable explanations of terms (using examples such as looking for a specific, uncommon spice in a large, unfamiliar supermarket) and I’m hoping I’ve understood it all!

The following quote really stood out to me:

“The more resources there are, the more important description becomes, and the less we can rely on physical arrangements to connect people with resources.” (Hider, 2018, p. 13).

If I continue on the theme of organising books in a library, my personal bookshelf is not organised in anything resembling a traditional organising system.  I have a shelf for books I want to read but haven’t read yet (#TBR), a section of general non fiction books, some fiction series, a section for recipe books and a shelf for books too big to fit on any of the other shelves.  I know where to find all the books on my bookshelf, but if you walked up to my bookshelf wanting a book on cognitive behavioural therapy, you wouldn’t know where to start to look for it.  But it’s only one bookcase, so you would find it without too much hassle.  But if I was talking about a public library with 100,000 books on the shelf, there’s no way my ad hoc system would work.

1.3 Metadata, FRBR and WEMI

“The more metadata creators know about their users, the more effective the metadata is likely to be.” (Hider, 2018, p. 24).  Libraries around the world, including school libraries, use the LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings) even though they were never intended for children to use.  So, for example, if a child searches the subjects in a library catalogue for “cars” it will return little to no results, because the LCSH for “cars” is “automobiles”.  Older students searching for WWI won’t find anything, because the LCSH is World War I 1914-1918.  This is insanity but also a good reason that users rarely use anything other than a keyword search when using library catalogues.

I must confess that, on first read, I’m a bit confused by WEMI and FRBR, but I’m sure that will clear up as I read more.  It possibly doesn’t help that the limitations and criticisms of WEMI and FRBR are being presented as they are introduced in this text.  This video does make things a lot clearer.

For example,

My hand holding a copy of Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson

This book is a representation of the Work Snapshot, a story conceived by Brandon Sanderson.  The Expression of this work is the story written down.  The Manifestation of the book is the hardcover copy with the ISBN of 978-1473224995. The Item is the actual copy I was holding in my hand in this picture.

However the book has other manifestations. In fact, the manifestation I read was ASIN B01N12IQVN because I specifically read the Kindle edition of the book and I guess the item is the specific copy that was sold to me.

Forum task

Determine some elements or attributes that might be useful for the purposes of discovering and retrieving a particular resource of interest to you, for example the prescribed textbook for this subject.Review these elements in light of the four FRBR user tasks—are they useful for all four tasks, or for some tasks more than others?

As an anecdote, I know that in my local library a young patron came in asking for a book “with the lime green plastic cover”.  Unfortunately the librarian did not know which book the patron was after and the attribute of the cover materials and colour was not in the metadata.  When the children’s librarian returned the next day and was told of this query, she immediately knew which book it was, and updated the metadata on the catalogue to reflect this so that that patron, and others, would be able to find that book.

In fact, colour cover is often an important attribute for patrons.  Maybe it should be in the metadata?

On a personal note, I recently ordered in a book from a local (indie!) bookshop.  It’s the third book in a trilogy and I really wanted to get the edition that matched the covers of the other books I have (two novels and a novella) in the series, so I specified the ISBN to make sure I got the right edition because the cover of the book was important to me.

As far as FRBR tasks go I think this could relate to Find, Select and Obtain, although I don’t know if that’s just a cop-out to say that it covers all three?

Something that is important to my husband, who reads a lot of epic fantasy series, is the “number” in the series this book is.  It’s important that he reads “number two” before “number three” etc.  I think this comes under the Find and Select tasks for FRBR but I am still wrapping my head around this, so I am entirely prepared to be wrong here!

1.4 Who Creates and Organises Metadata?

So, creators create metadata.  They give their work a title, they record when it was created and so on. Publishers create metadata by assigning keywords and writing blurbs and summaries of works.  Of course, information professionals create metadata about items.  These can be in-house cataloguers in libraries, or work for publishers to create shelf-ready items for libraries.  In Australia we have SCIS who the NSW Department of Education subscribe to, that provide catalogue metadata for items in school libraries.  While not all librarians will catalogue in their careers, they all need to understand the catalogue, how it works and the principles that support it so that they can optimally use the catalogue to find resources for their patrons.

Last week at ALIA Information Online Mike Jones spoke about the limitations of card catalogues as our legacy system, and how it does not work well in an online environment. The Tate in the UK does a good job of using the capabilities of the web with its metadata.  Contrast this page from The Tate of Monet’s Water Lilies painting with a comparable one on the National Gallery of Australia website.    The Tate provides so much more information and other things to explore.

I must admit to a little excitement when a book written by a friend of mine (who was the president of the Australian Society of Indexers) was referenced in our textbook.  Shout out to Glenda! <3.

There are also end-user created metadata.  This is often seen on image and video sites where there is no textual data to search so the tags become essential.  Trove also allows end-user tagging, for example this link takes you to items that have been tagged Political Cartoons. Sites like Goodreads also allow users to tag books based on any criteria they wish.  The limitations of this, however, are numerous.  No one is likely to find my personal tag of “never finished” as something useful.  The lack of a controlled vocabulary also means that a search for cricket will bring up books about both the sport and the insect, while tags for the insect could be cricket or locust…


Watching the SCIS webinar, I’m surprised to learn that Australia is the only country in the world that has this centralised cataloguing service for schools.  Schools in other countries either do their cataloguing in-house or subscribe to SCIS. 500 records will take about 19 working days to catalogue – that’s a lot of classroom time! (It works out to be 16 mins per record.  I wonder how long it will take me to get that fast at cataloguing?) Because SCIS is an education-specific provider they apply subject headings to fiction and non fiction alike.  Also just discovered that SCIS don’t use LCSH – they have their own.  However I have still heard a lot of complaints about it, including the WWI example I cited above.



Hider, P. (2018). Information Resource Description : Creating and Managing Metadata (Vol. Second edition). London: Facet Publishing.

Lorenz, A. [Andrea Lorenz]. (2012, August 9). FRBR simplified. Retrieved from

ETL507: Assessment 5: Part B – Classification

The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) System is broken. It was constructed by a racist, sexist, antisemite, and the worldview of this despicable man (Ford, 2018) pervades the DDC. Men and women are not given equal treatment in DDC, and women are treated as second-class citizens (O’Hara, n.d.).

Heteronormativity in DDC

Heteronormativity is assumed; the first mentions of anyone ‘deviating’ from this expected norm were placed in “abnormal psychology” (Adler, 2017).  Even as sensibilities changed and being homosexual was no longer seen as deviance, it has been placed in 306.7 under sexual relations (306.76), instead of LGBTQIA people being placed under 305 with “groups of people” (O’Hara, n.d.). It also means that any books relating to LGBTQIA individuals are found in between books on prostitution (306.74) and books on fetishes (306.77/7) and the like (Adler, 2017).

Racism in DDC

Anyone that is not White American or European is considered “other” and relegated to the later sections of the DDC (Higgins, 2016, O’Hara, n.d.). Changes have been made to address some of the racism in the DDC, but it is insufficient because the scheme is based on a core of inherent racism (Furner, 2007).  In the hierarchical structure of the DDC (Hider, 2018), Christianity is given priority over all other religions with the Abrahamic religions occupying the span of 210-289 and all other religions being placed in 290-299 (Higgins, 2016). Racism and religion also collide when examining the DDC for First Nations religions.

Religions and DDC

In most libraries in Australia, and around the world (that use the DDC), First Nations Religions are not classified with the other religions in the 200s.  Instead, they are shelved in the 398 section for “Folklore” (OCLC, n.d.).  Specifically, Aboriginal Dreamtime stories are shelved under “398.2049915 – Aboriginal myths and legends” which is not giving the religion of Indigenous Australians the same degree of respect afforded to other religions (Sentance, 2017). Libraries have access to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library Information and Resource Network (ATSILIRN) protocols designed to help librarians work with Indigenous people and materials with respect, but very few libraries are implementing these protocols (Garwood-Houng, & Blackburn, 2014). Schools Cataloguing and Information Service (SCIS) (Schools Cataloguing and Information Service (SCIS), 2018) makes provision for Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories to be shelved in the 200s, using the retired Dewey number 298.  There is precedent and assistance for treating these materials with respect, but it is not widely practiced.

On my work placement, Aboriginal Dreamtime stories are intershelved with mythology, including books about vampires and urban legends in 398, instead of with religion books in the 200s.  In the picture below, taken on placement, stories on Aliens are shelved right next to Dreamtime stories, as are books of urban legends.  Following this number sequence there are books on zombies, vampires, dragons and nursery rhymes.

Bookshelf in the 398s

Also problematic is the use of book numbers.  As noted in my work placement assignment (Parnell, 2019, unpublished), this library uses the first three letters of the title of the book, rather than the author.  This leads to a lot of books about Aboriginal people having the book number “ABO”, which is offensive.  SCIS has provisions for book numbers that would normally use “ABO”, to use the book number “ABL” instead on books about Aboriginal people (SCIS, 2018).  This is also contradictory to Protocols 5.2 (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library, Information and Resource Network (ATSILIRN), 2012). My work placement library also used outdated subject headings and they have not been updated as DDC was updated. Mythology and legends headings are used rather than religion, when there is an appropriate subject heading available.

As a quick project, I checked the online catalogue of some of the libraries visited on study visits. The Sydney Mechanics School of Arts classified Aboriginal dreamtime books in the 200s (299).  The State Library of NSW uses a mix of numbers in the 290s and 398s, but most of the books fall under the number 398.

Where to now?

My critical look at the Dewey Decimal system began around the same time I started my teacher-librarianship course, in March 2018 at GLAMSLAM, after speaking to Elizabeth Smith about her tattoo (a Dewey number for the Shakespeare play, The Tempest). She expressed her conflicted feelings over the tattoo, since she looks at the Dewey system more critically now.  This started my own journey into critically analysing Dewey.  This theme of critical analysis continued through further professional development at CoGLAMeration 2018 and the Saturday School of Critical Librarianship. I have conducted my own mini-investigations into Library of Congress Subject Headings and Dewey Classifications for books on homosexuality.  I’ve examined SCIS cataloguing decisions with a critical eye and the nuances and idiosyncrasies of Dewey Classfication for a public library. I feel that I am well placed to approach any classification tasks in a school or public library with a critical eye.  However, as my preferred career path is to work in public libraries, I feel that my future work will involve campaigning for a change in classification for books on Aboriginal Dreamtime and a change in book numbers of books on Indigenous Australians that have the book number “ABO”.








Week 5 Wrap Up, Week 6 Goals

I can’t believe it’s the end of another week!  This week seems to have flown by for me.

My goals for week 5 were:

  • Complete INF541 Assessment 2✔︎
  • Attend ETL505 online meeting✔︎
  • Attend INF541 online meeting✔︎
  • Participate in #auslibchat✔︎
  • Work on ETL505 Assessment 1 (Complete Part A and begin Part B).✔︎
  • Read three to five chapters of Reality is Broken ✔︎
  • Play digital games for two hours ~
  • Stay active during the week and don’t just become tied to a desk✔︎

So far, I’ve only read two chapters of Reality is Broken, and I haven’t really set aside time to play digital games this week, howler the week is not yet over (I still have nearly an hour before I have to get kids from school!) so I’m hoping to squeeze in one more chapter of Reality is Broken. (ETA: I did it! I read a third chapter). I don’t have time for two hours of games before then but I’ll be playing the Wii U this evening with my kids and I will try to make more time for games next week.  On the plus side, I finished listening to an audio book, started another, finished reading a recreational reading book and began Atomic Habits by James Clear.  I’ve incorporated some more movement into my day and I’m hoping to increase it a little more.

My goals for week six are:

  • Complete ETL505 Assignment 1
  • Complete ETL505 Module 4.3
  • Begin INF541 Module 4
  • Begin ETL505 Module 5
  • Read three to five chapters of Reality is Broken
  • Read Atomic Habits
  • Stay active
  • Play digital games for 2 hours
  • Work – I’m working one day next week

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Ultimately, I want to be in a place where I feel I’ve made enough progress to take a bit of a break over the school holidays. I will continue with uni work in the holidays but since all my kids will be home I won’t be able to get as much done, and I actually want to be able to do stuff with them.

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