Schools with a current SCIS subscription to Authorities can choose to download and import the  MARC21 SCIS Subject, Author, or Series authority files, either in Full or Reference only format. Using the full import of Subject headings will import approximately 150,000 subject headings plus related see and see also references. The average school uses between 10,000 and 20,000 subject headings in their bibliographic catalogue records which means that if you import the SCIS subject authority file your subject authority file will contain 120,000+ unused subject headings. This does not cause any problems and is rather a statement of fact. SCIS recommend using the Reference only files for import as this imports the most commonly used subject headings and is therefore more useful as well as delivering a substantially smaller number of headings.

Note: Importing all subject headings, may result in "blind" see also references depending on the depth of your current catalogue records. A "blind" See Also reference occurs when a subject heading has a See Also reference, which, when navigated from and OPAC, results in no items being located because no items have been catalogued with that subject. If you have blind See Also subjects you can either remove them manually or assign them to suitable items in your catalogue.

Import the SCIS Authority Files

  1. Connect to your SCIS account and Save the recent MARC authority file/s to your computer.
  2. Go to: Menu > Authorities > Author, or Subject, or Series
  3. Clickto enter the import process. Note: Review the instructions before proceeding.
  4. the saved authority file.
  5. - convert to basic Latin. Note: Recommended for imports containing diacritical marks and where English-only keyboards are available.
  6. Clickto start the import process.
  7. The import process will check your catalogue to ensure your current authority is error free before importing. If errors are found you should email
  8. Import the file. Note: Import time is influenced by many variables and should be done out of normal high load times.

The import process will:
  • use your current authority file as its reference point
  • authority headings in your current authority file that are not in the SCIS authority file will be maintained
  • authority headings in your current authority file that are included in the SCIS subject authority file will be aligned to the format supplied by SCIS, i.e., case and punctuation will be aligned

Note: After importing the Full authority file there will be many tens of thousands of entries in your authority file with zero (0) records attached. These will be hidden unless youShow Unused.
Note: The Reference only file is a much smaller file and generally more useful for updating.
Note: It is not possible to reverse the import process.

Authority files should be maintained regularly if you do a lot of original cataloguing.  Importing Marc records will check for existing entries and add those from the incoming records if not already in authority files

Why Import The SCIS Subject Authority File?

This question is one of personal preference. Importing the Full file will assist in maintaining data integrity and consistency when doing original cataloguing, by providing a 150,000+ bank of valid subject headings to choose from. Many of these subject headings will never be used and will remain hidden in the authority lists if unused.  SCIS recommend only importing the Reference only file to avoid a large number of unused headings.
The z-cataloguing processes, using either Z3950 cataloguing or a SCIS bulk upload, automatically populates your subject authority file. Z-cataloguing results in less instances of subject headings with zero (0) use. recn