News from South Carolina's Virtual Library

November 2009
Man and woman with laptop
New Career & Workforce Resources Added to the DISCUS Collection!
As part of the South Carolina State Library's Business & Workforce Development Initiative, DISCUS is pleased to announce two additions to its lineup of resources: LearningExpress Library and Ferguson's Career Guidance Center.

LearningExpress Library is an interactive tool that provides practice tests and tutorials designed for both students and adult learners to succeed on academic and licensing exams. Feedback includes immediate scoring, complete answer explanations, and individualized analysis of the user's results.

Ferguson's Career Guidance Center is a career research database that includes overview articles and video on nearly 3,400 jobs and 94 industries, broken down into 16 Career Clusters created by the U.S. Department of Education. The product also includes searchable entries on scholarships, internships, and more.

These two complementary resources have been licensed for statewide use to help meet the needs of South Carolina citizens during these difficult economic times. Try them out soon! 

New SmartSearch Will Soon Be Here
A single search across all databases and an easy home access method -- these are two of the most frequent user recommendations that the DISCUS program receives.  

The South Carolina State Library is pleased to announce that an agreement has been negotiated with Serials Solutions to address both of these concerns.  When SmartSearch is fully implemented, you will be able to:
  • Retrieve results from multiple DISCUS databases at once through a single federated search; and
  • Be automatically recognized and authenticated as a South Carolinian when using the DISCUS resources remotely.
Watch for more information coming soon regarding these exciting new developments for DISCUS!
Lizard Britannica Elementary Update
Be sure to check out the new Animal Kingdom feature on the homepage of Britannica Elementary.  Young students ages 4-9 can learn about all sorts of animal life, from cuddly koalas to the king of the jungle.  Animals can be explored by their family group or their habitat and a selection of animal videos is also available.  Take a look at Animal Kingdom today! 

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SIRS Knowledge Source Updates
The new interface for SIRS Issues Researcher, home of the popular "Pro vs. Con Leading Issues" content, has some additional new features:
  • Text to Speech feature that reads articles aloud while highlighting the text at the same time, thus allowing the students to follow along as the article is read.  This feature is especially helpful for lower-level readers and ESL students.
  • Downloadable Audio MP3 files for saving and retrieving at a later time assists learners who need only audio and not visual support.
  • Search Widgets, the Note Organizer, and the iThink tutorial can all be found on the Educators' Resources page.  The tutorial provides an interactive skills tutor, Mrs. Rojas, who leads students through the research process and into critical thinking.
Gale PowerSearch Updates, including MLA7 Citations
Recent announcements about Gale databases include the following:
  • Modern Language Association (MLA) 7th edition citations are now available on selected databases that operate on the PowerSearch platform.  Complete details are available in the Gale press release
  • The availability of the ReadSpeaker audio feature has been broadened and provides users with an audio version of every article.
  • The Browse Subjects results page now offers a "View Subdivisions" option to make searching more efficient.
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Alternate Access Page to Bookmark
During the infrequent times when the DISCUS Web site may be unavailable, users still have uninterrupted access to the resources through an alternate access page.  Check your bookmark to make sure it points correctly to this URL:

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 Lesson Plans on

As an educator, are you already thinking ahead and planning for Black History Month or Earth Day 2010?  Or maybe you need some structured lesson plans that incorporate critical thinking skills in conjunction with your students use of Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center, for example. offers lesson plans by both subject and product, as well as product information, contests, quizzes, reviews and even downloadable bookmarks.

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Computer training session Volunteer Trainers Available
An enthusiastic and talented group of people has stepped up to the plate to offer time and expertise to train others in using the resources in the DISCUS collection.  Would your institution benefit from having an onsite training tailored to your local needs?  If so, we may have a volunteer trainer to accomodate you.  A minimum of 10 participants is required to schedule a trainer.  E-mail the DISCUS Office at or call Ruth at 803-734-4627.         
In This Issue
New Career & Workforce Resources
New SmartSearch Will Soon Be Here
Britannica Elementary Update
SIRS Knowledge Source Updates
Gale PowerSearch Updates
Alternate Access Page to Bookmark
Lesson Plans on
Volunteer Trainers Available

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DISCUS is a service of the South Carolina State Library.