Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Working with special collections

                       Quote by Donald Rumsfeld 2003 www.defenselink.mil/faq/comment.html,                                                   

Typography by Ami Clarke www.amiclarke.com/unknownknowns.htm

In the IB Diploma curriculum there is a subject called Theory of Knowledge or TOK for short which leads students through examining how learning occurs, ethics, morality, philosophy and other big thinking issues. It is an unusual subject and it is nothing the students have ever been exposed to before. TOK is to be integrated across subjects of the diploma programme.  As you can imagine, there are a number of resources which need to be purchased to support this subject. This post is about how we manage this collection in our library and database. If you have a special collection that is integrated but needs to be able to be retrieved seperately, maybe this will help you.

Cataloguing the TOK resources was normal up to a point, after this point we messed a bit with subject headings and made lists to make sure these resources could be found by the students when they searched. TOK is an extremely broad topic and covers many many facets of thinking and emotions. The call numbers range from 000's through to 900's. The resources are all integrated in the normal non fiction collection.

The first thing we did was create a subject heading called TOK when cataloguing in addition to the normal subject headings the book would be given. For all the subject heading purists, I do apologise now for what I did, but TOK is how the students will first approach the OPAC to search, and is exactly what they will type. Creating this subject heading also allows us to bring up the whole collection in one search, so we can see the variety and what is missing.

We then divided the TOK resources into subheadings. Such as TOK - History. With these headings we made lists and added the appropriate resource to the list. This tagging or listing allows us to do a quick search under one of the headings and see how many resources we have for a particular topic area.

Once the book had been processed,  it was then given a TOK sticker on the spine along with the normal call number sticker. This way, all books that specifically supported TOK could be found on the shelf while students were browsing, or even just walking past.

The TOK labels. This is from the 100's which has a high TOK content, hence the high incidence of TOK labels.


Arranging the data for these resources in the Library database has allowed for staff and students to  access and isolate these TOK resources, even though they are fully integrated through the collection and spread from one end of the library to another.

We have done similar tagging and listing for other collections as well. Many of the picture books have been allocated a Learner Profile subject heading (again sorry to the purists), and we have created lists of picture books to support the PYP Units of inquiry, for example "Yr 3 - Where we are in space and Time" has a list, so at the beginning of the unit these picture books are pulled from the shelves and given to the year 3 classes so they can be immersed in related stories while learning about the world around them, and hopefully making connections. We also have fiction lists for all the Transdisciplinary Themes across the year levels, and picture books which feature specific sounds in them.

The lists are used in the secondary programme  as well, especially where fiction can support a unit. In Year 7 English, family is a concept and we have listed a number of books we have which feature family, so these titles are used for wider reading. Similarly the theme of slavery is explored in year 8 humanities, so we have a list of fiction which will support this unit which the students can access.

Using the various tools of your library management system allows you to customise searches and refine how you can support the curriculum.


Further info about TOK
Below is the of subheadings we used for the TOK collection, numbers in brackets indicate how many resources we have of each. This link leads to the catalogued resources we have purchased for TOK.

TOK - Art, Aesthetics  (2)
TOK - Critical thinking  (2)
TOK - Emotion  (3)
TOK - Ethics  (12)
TOK - Fiction (6)
TOK - History  (11)
TOK - Knowledge  (9)
TOK - Language  (8)
TOK - Literature  (3)
TOK - Logic  (2)
TOK - Mathematics  (5)
TOK - Perception  (10)
TOK - Philosophy  (33)
TOK - Psychology  (4)
TOK - Reason  (3)
TOK - Religion  (8)
TOK - Sciences  (25)
TOK - Social sciences  (9)
TOK - Truth and belief  (4)

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