The increasing abundance of information available to society today has increased the importance and need to organise information for the purpose of access and retrieval. ETL 505 provided me with a sound understanding of what information organisation is and entails.
So what is information organisation? Hider (2012, p. 11) refers information organisation as “various ways in which information resources are organised so as to improve access to them, and not just to their physical arrangement”. These so called ‘various ways’ include labeling, searchable databases and indexing information. Combining these three functions with the items physical arrangement is essential for the efficient retrieval of an item.
Through the provision of quality information resource description Teacher Librarians improve access to resources. Taylor (2004, p. 2) believes that we “organise information so that others can find it, read or otherwise absorb it, and use it to add to their store of knowledge”. Not all resources are equal in their relevance, accuracy or value for the purpose they are intended (Hider, 2012). Therefore, patrons and information specialists need to be able to easily determine which resource is the best for a particular circumstance or context. For this very reason the organisation of information is critical to the success of acquiring quality information resources.
One of the main concepts used throughout the course was the term ‘metadata’. Resource description is quite often referred to as metadata. Metadata provides different functions, but mainly supports effective access to information resources, indicates how to obtain a resource and helps the user decide whether a resource should be obtained (Hider, 2012).
The first assignment for ETL505 introduced me to the international cataloguing standard currently being implemented, ‘Resource Descriptive and Access (RDA) created to provide standards that are both computer and people friendly (Hider, 2012). RDA focuses on the use of FRBR user tasks of find, identify, select and obtain. Using these standards first hand clearly highlights the benefits of improving consistency and quality of metadata as it allows the sharing of metadata among information agencies (providing a major reduction in cost).
The introduction of SCIS Subject Headings was both interesting and useful. Controlled subject vocabularies improve retrieval of works and the aim is for each concept to be represented by one particular term, with detailed guidelines resulting in more consistency (Hider, 2014). Now that I have mastered the use of SCIS subject headings I have a greater ability to assist in adding a subject heading to a resource that would provide increased access for my particular users. This is an important skill for a Teacher Librarian when cataloguing resources within the school library.
The last major section of the course focused on ‘classification schemes’. Classification schemes are used to arrange resources to facilitate browsing. Similar materials are located in the one area. One such scheme, the Dewey Decimal Classification was looked at in more detail (and I might add provided some headaches). The number building tasks and related SCIS guidelines relating to adaptations has provided me with knowledge that will benefit guidance to patrons in relation to specific resources. I am however very appreciative of the service provided by SCIS.
When information is effectively organised, is assigned quality standardised metadata and operates within an effective retrieval system access and retrieval is both effective and efficient. Information professionals play a role in aiding users to access information through education in relation to decisions regarding retrieval of information, systems, tools and the structure of information organisation. The subject content will allow me as a future Teacher Librarian to better organize educational resources for both students and teachers.
Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description: creating and managing metadata. London: Facet
Taylor, A. (2004). The organization of information. (2nd ed.). Westport. Conn.: Libraries Unlimited.