Defining roles

Gordon Dunsire

Depute Director, Centre for Digital Library Research.


The SLAINTE catalogue is developing into a support service for the continuing professional development of Scottish library and information professionals. Gordon Dunsire explains the recent overhaul.

The catalogue of SLAINTE, the information service for Scottish librarianship maintained by CILIPS and SLIC, has been reviewed and overhauled as part of the Scottish Portals for Education, Information and Research project (SPEIR). SPEIR has looked at rationalising the cataloguing of Internet resources in the SLAINTE catalogue, the BUBL information service catalogue, and Scotland's Culture, the Scottish cultural portal. In particular, SLAINTE contained records for Scottish cultural resources which overlapped with Scotland's Culture, and other records duplicated in BUBL.

The outcome of the SPEIR work is to retain the three catalogues but each now has a more clearly defined scope: SLAINTE will concentrate on resources for Scottish librarianship; Scotland's Culture contains resources about Scotland; and BUBL will continue to provide a general catalogue of Internet resources on other topics.

Records for Scottish cultural resources, many associated with the old Scottish authors section of SLAINTE, have been moved to the Scotland's Culture catalogue. Records for other resources, such as the reference websites identified by Scottish EARL, were also removed from SLAINTE and will be incorporated into the BUBL database in due course. This phase of rationalisation left the SLAINTE catalogue containing resources for Scottish librarianship, including CILIPS and SLIC reports and proceedings of CILIPS (and Scottish Library Association) conferences and special interest group seminars. These records have been checked for broken links and upgraded to MARC21, with Library of Congress Subject Headings and Dewey Decimal Classification numbers added.

During 2004, the coverage of digital materials related to library and information science has been expanded. One impetus for this has been the launch of the online version of Information Scotland. A standard catalogue record is created for each article in the journal, to complement the free-text searching provided for the online service. Records are created using the OCLC Connexion subscription provided by SLIC for the Scottish Distributed Digital Library initiative, so they are added to WorldCat before downloading to SLAINTE, thus promoting the work of Scottish librarians in a global arena. Another area of expansion has been the cataloguing of reports and presentations from projects associated with the development of the Scottish common information environment, including the Scottish Collections Network (SCONE), Cooperative Information Retrieval Network for Scotland (CAIRN), and High-Level Thesaurus (HILT).

SLAINTE also contains records for resources supporting new and developing initiatives in Scotland including the Harvesting Institutional Resources in Scotland Testbed (HaIRST) project which uses the Open Archive Initiative (OAI) protocol, and the SCURL Science Information Strategy Working Group's work on open access publishing and Scottish science portal. These resources include relevant articles from Ariadne and DLib magazine, standards, manuals, and other online tools.

The SLAINTE catalogue is thus developing into a support service for the continuing professional development of Scottish library and information professionals. It contains a wide range of materials associated with current developments and trends, from simple PowerPoint presentations to formal reports. All resources are seamlessly available online, with no subscriptions or passwords required to access them. The SLAINTE catalogue can be used with any standard Web browser from anywhere and at any time.

Records can be found by browsing or keyword searching titles, authors and subjects. Advanced search options include Boolean operators and multiple indexes. Point-and-click searches for related works can be made from within any record to find other resources with the same author or subject. Citations derived from retrieved records can be added to a 'shopping basket' (currently called My list) and emailed for future reference by the user. The citations contain the URL of the resource, so they can be used as the basis of a personal bookmark list.

As with Scotland's Culture, CAIRNS, and SCONE, a specific search on SLAINTE can be 'canned' or incorporated into a URL. This URL will automatically carry out the search on SLAINTE whenever it is clicked. One or more such URLs may be used as hyperlinks on external websites to provide very simple point-and-click search interfaces; such searches are dynamic, so any new resources added to SLAINTE will be picked up each time the URL is used. An example of this facility can be found in the OAI Scotland Information Service (OAISIS) being developed by HaIRST (see Other potential users include library schools and internal library training programmes. Instructions on creating canned searches will be made available in the near future.

The SLAINTE catalogue can be accessed by using the Search button on SLAINTE website pages. SLAINTE is also a member of CAIRNS and can be included in a one-stop-search of other Scottish library catalogues. It is also a component of the Scottish Distributed Digital Library.

The service is still being developed, and welcomes and encourages comments, queries and suggestions. If you would like to comment, or suggest new resources for the catalogue, or create specific canned searches, please contact Emma Jones at SLIC (, or Gordon Dunsire ( SLIC can provide online storage for relevant, quality resources not available elsewhere, and welcomes submission of digital materials such as reports and training packages of interest to Scottish librarianship.