Librarians are Gold!

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ETL505: Describing and Analysing Education Resources Critical Reflection

Excellent Teacher Librarians (TLs) “support learning and teaching by providing equitable access to professionally-selected resources” (ASLA, 2004, p. 3). The TLs role as an information resource manager and information specialist, is to provide effective access to a well organised resource collection for all community members. It is the TLs responsibility to provide the school community with “timely access to information relevant to their needs” (Tillett, 2011).

ETL505 furthered my understanding that TLs do more than just restock shelves and loan books out to students. Throughout the readings, course booklet exercises and forum posts I have gained a greater understanding of the role of a TL. ETL505 was all about ‘Describing and Analysing Educational Resources’. It was definitely a very challenging subject. Lodge and Pymm (2007) believe that in the “foreseeable future, most libraries and information centres will continue to hold hybrid collections of both print and digital resources. The tasks in ETL505 allowed us to investigate, describe and analyse catalogue resources of all media types.

The principles and processes acquired in ETL505 were very technical in nature and often involved concepts and ideas that were foreign to me. Terminology such as metadata, indexing, bibliographic control and subject analysis were all part of a new language that I needed to master (Lodge & Pymm, 2007).

I enjoyed learning these new concepts and expanding my vocabulary with the advanced and ever changing terminology that a TL is required to know. In Module4, I found there were many useful and relevant concepts. I found concepts such as folksonomy and tagging interesting as they relate to the constantly changing world of social media.

I really struggled with Assignment1 when required to use the Resource Description and Access (RDA) Toolkit to classify metadata according to media, carrier and content types.  I found it difficult to get my head around the new international cataloguing code RDA and the many ways it produces well-formed, interconnected metadata for the digital environment (Tillett, 2011). At the completion of Assignment1, I understood the important role RDA has as a foundation or “building block in the creation of better catalogues and resource discovery systems” (Kiorgaard, 2008).

ETL505 moved at a very rapid pace over the past 14 weeks. It was difficult to obtain a deep enough grasp of the many important concepts that play a crucial part in the every day role of a TL. However, after speaking with other TL colleagues, we all concurred that these concepts do take years to master, and further practice will consolidate our understanding. This is what was covered:

  • description and analysis of resources using the RDA toolkit,
  • applying international and national metadata standards,
  • accurately applying the SCIS standards to provide access to information for a school community (SCIS, 2014),
  • utilising the SCIS catalogue to create appropriate subject headings and locate additional information about resources,
  • classifying resources accurately using WebDewey (OCLC, 2014).

The move to RDA is important and necessary to building better catalogues and resource discovery systems for the future (Kiorgaard, 2008). RDA is not the complete solution, but its role as a new kind of content will smooth the path in that direction. RDA is successful in making library bibliographic descriptions and access data more internationally acceptable (Tillett, 2011). Correctly described and well organised resources in school libraries is integral to a library that effectively supports the community to meet educational outcomes.


Australian School Library Association. (2004). Library standards of professional excellence for TLs. Retrieved from

Kiorgaard, D. (2008). Resource description and access. Retrieved from

Lodge, D. & Pymm, B. (2007). Library managers today: the challenges. In S. Ferguson (Ed.), Libraries in the twenty-first century: charting new directions in information services (289-310). Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Online Computer Library Centre. (2014). WebDewey. Retrieved from

School Catalogue Information Service. (2014). Subject headings. Retrieved from

Tillett, B. (2011). Keeping libraries relevant in the semantic web with resource description and access (RDA). Serials, 24(3), 266-272.


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