About Discus

What is Discus?
Discus – South Carolina’s Virtual Library is the “information place” for all South Carolinians. Discus, which stands for Digital Information for South Carolina Users, provides free access to an electronic library that’s available 24/7. The program objectives are fully outlined in the Discus Goals and Vision.

What does Discus provide?
Discus provides a variety of organized resources, called databases, for individuals of all ages, educational levels and interests. The databases include:

  • magazines
  • professional journals
  • newspapers
  • encyclopedias
  • e-books
  • reference material
  • student and teacher resources
  • maps
  • pictures
  • recommended Web links
  • multimedia
  • and much more!

View the list of Discus databases

Why should I use Discus rather than Google?
Discus resources use the Internet merely as a delivery tool to provide accurate information from recognized publishers. The Discus databases include high-quality publications and documents that are updated regularly and organized so you can quickly find the information you need. Google and other Internet search engines are designed to search the open Web. For additional information about the advantages of using the resources in the virtual library, see the top reasons to use subscription databases. (Educators can link directly to this information or use it in Presentation Mode.)

What are the differences between Discus search results and Google search results?
When searching with Google or other Internet search engines, you’re likely to retrieve lots of irrelevant, commercial and possibly poor-quality results. With Discus, you’ll get the results you want without having to sort through lots of other “stuff.”

What libraries and educational institutions participate in Discus?
The following South Carolina institutions currently participate:

  • all public libraries and their branches;
  • all public and private (nonprofit) colleges and universities headquartered in South Carolina;
  • all public school districts (K-12) and other state-funded K-12 schools; and
  • most private K-12 schools accredited by an established and approved accrediting organization.

How is Discus managed?
The South Carolina State Library manages and administers Discus in cooperation with the state’s school, college and public libraries. Librarians, media specialists and technical personnel at participating institutions manage their local equipment, connections to the resources and support for local users.

How are Discus resources selected?
Discus selects resources that are appropriate for meeting the essential information needs of all South Carolinians through three major user communities – K-12, higher education and public libraries. The Discus Database Assessment Committee, with representative membership from school, college and public libraries, identifies subject priorities and selection criteria for the resources most needed by users. The Committee generally evaluates possible new databases through statewide trials and makes recommendations to the South Carolina State Library. The State Library considers the recommendations and proceeds with negotiations and purchasing decisions in a cost effective manner consistent with the competitive marketplace.

Will Discus always include the same resources?
Discus conducts periodic evaluations of its resources and patron needs. Resources may change periodically due to changes in user needs, funding and competition in the marketplace. However, Discus does endeavor to maintain stability in its line-up of resources – knowing that dramatic change can create an enormous learning curve for librarians, media specialists and end users.

Is there a fee to use Discus?
Discus – South Carolina’s Virtual Library is currently provided to residents of South Carolina as a service of the South Carolina State Library. There is no fee to use Discus.

How is Discus funded?
Discus is funded primarily by an appropriation from the South Carolina General Assembly in collaboration with the K-12 School Technology Initiative. State funding covers most of the database subscription costs. Additional funding from the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) also supports Discus databases. Participating institutions use their existing Internet connections and computer equipment to provide access for their users.

How can I learn more about Discus?