News from South Carolina's Virtual Library

Winter 2009
Man and woman with laptop
DISCUS WBritannica Logoelcomes Britannica Online!
The DISCUS program is beginning 2009 with an exciting new partnership with Britannica Digital Learning to provide a new suite of encyclopedia products for South Carolinians.  The Britannica package includes three online encyclopedias for students and adults:  Britannica Elementary Encycyclopedia, Compton's by Britannica and Encyclopaedia Britannica.

The new partnership also brings frequently-requested early childhood and Spanish language content to DISCUS.  The Britannica Learning Zone, an interactive environment of age-appropriate activities for children aged 4-7, includes concepts like animals, colors, numbers, shapes and more.  For early readers of Spanish, the Enciclopedia Juvenil is designed to sharpen students' Spanish language skills as they learn new lessons.

Institutions in South Carolina can present the Britannica resources to their users via editions that are customized for the K-12 schools and for both public and academic libraries.  These three editions offer a considerable amount of additional content over and above the encyclopedia articles: multimedia, current events, magazine and journal articles, and recommended Web sites to name just a few.  The Britannica resources were implemented on January 1, 2009.  Take a look at this valuable addition to the DISCUS collection and begin using the amazing content provided by this new DISCUS partner!  
Britannica Offers Free Online Training
Now that the Britannica resources have joined the DISCUS collection, library and media center staff in South Carolina have several opportunities to learn about them.  The spring 2009 DISCUS training schedule includes several onsite training sessions (see the following article).  Additionally, Britannica offers convenient, free 1-hour online trainings to all subscribers enabling them to see the Britannica offerings and to learn different ways to use the resources in schools and libraries.  Learn more about these sessions and sign up on Britannica's Web site.


Spring Training Schedule Ready for Registrations  
Man with laptopJumpstart your knowledge of DISCUS resources by participating in the spring lineup of training sessions that begins this month and continues into April.

Are you new to the library community in South Carolina?  Sign up for "Introduction to DISCUS" for a general overview.  Are you an experienced DISCUS user, but you haven't been able to keep up with all the changes to the Gale resources?  There's a training session for you, too, titled "Keeping Up: New Gale Additions."  Do you work with elementary and middle school students?  Then you'll certainly want to know about the kids' resources.  And for those with very limited time to devote to training, we have a new online training series called "30 Minutes, 3 Tips." 

You'll see all of these sessions and more on the Training tab on the DISCUS Web site.  We hope you'll include a training session (or two) on your "To Do" list for 2009!

Serving You Better with an Alternative Access Web Page
All good Web sites occasionally need routine maintenance and the DISCUS site is no exception.  If your institution uses the DISCUS homepage at for its database access and you find that the site is temporarily unavailable, you can continue to launch the databases by using the links on the DISCUS alternative access page. 

If you've bookmarked our previous alternative access page at, you'll need to replace that bookmark with this new address:

And if you haven't yet created a bookmark to the alternative access page, take a moment now to do so.  The bookmark will save you time, trouble and headaches on those rare occasions when the DISCUS homepage is unavailable.

New Features & ContentDictionary look-up
It's sometimes challenging to stay current on all
the grea
t information now available within the DISCUS databases, so here are some recent highlights that you'll want to know about.  
  • AccessScience users will be pleased to know about the expansion of the My AccessScience feature.  It has been improved to allow users to save not only diagrams and photos, but also articles and searches as well.  Simply click the My AccessScience tab on the homepage and create an account.  It's that easy to begin saving your results!
  • Take a look at some of the great new multimedia content in General OneFile.  If you're an NBC fan, you'll be happy to know that you can access audio and video of popular shows such as Today, Meet the Press, and the NBC Nightly News.  General OneFile has also recently added multimedia content from FOX News, CNN, CBS and more!   If 2009 is your year to travel, go to General OneFile to find full-text Fodor's travel guides, most published in 2007 or 2008.  All of these resources can be located by doing an easy publication search in General OneFile.
  • The January Spotlight in both SIRS Discoverer and SIRS Knowledge Source focuses on our country's upcoming and historic inauguration of President-elect Obama.  You'll find links to the Spotlight on the homepages of both databases.
Saying Goodbye and Thanks 
Many library and media center staff had the good fortune to communicate with Carolyn Dunlap during her service to the State Library as the DISCUS Program Assistant.  Because of the difficult budget times being experienced by state government, the State Library has found it necessary to eliminate part-time positions and, sadly, Carolyn's position was in that category.  The DISCUS program was enriched by her efficient and courteous way of assisting library and media center staff statewide and we thank her for her valuable contribution.
In This Issue
DISCUS Welcomes Britannica Online!
Britannica Offers Free Online Training
Spring Training Schedule Ready for Registrations
Serving You Better with an Alternative Access Web Page
New Features & Content
Saying Goodbye and Thanks
Join Our Mailing List



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Child with computer



South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia, Feb. 27-March 1

South Carolina Association of School Librarians Conference in Greenville, March 11-13

Read-In 2009! on April 16

DISCUS is a service of the South Carolina State Library.