Several major enhancements are planned for January as Discus continues to grow and evolve. The South Carolina State Library is pleased to announce the addition of new content, a single search technology and a new remote access solution. These exciting new changes are outlined below.
- CultureGrams – The products known as SIRS Discoverer and SIRS Knowledge Source have been a part of the Discus collection for some time. In the fall, usage analysis and consultations with the vendor revealed other content options that could possibly better serve the needs of South Carolinians. In November, Discus users were asked to provide input via a brief online survey. The results were overwhelming in favor of re-bundling the mix to include CultureGrams in place of several other products. The 2010 license renewal has been negotiated to include access to CultureGrams, SIRS Discoverer, SIRS Issues Researcher, and SIRS Government Reporter. (The last two products will continue to be offered through the SIRS Knowledge Source portal.) With the addition of CultureGrams, the Discus collection will include concise cultural and statistical snapshots of every country recognized by the United Nations.
- Career E-Book Collection – As part of the State Library's Workforce Development Initiative, a customized collection of 250+ NetLibrary e-books focused on job searching, careers and business will be provided for South Carolinians through Discus. The purchase of this career collection is made possible with funds from the Library Services and Technology Act.
- SmartSearch – Users of the Discus resources have frequently requested an easy way to search across numerous databases at once with a single search. This new federated search, known as SmartSearch, will be available for quick searching from the Discus homepage and also for searching groups of databases that are organized by grade levels and subject categories. SmartSearch will deliver results from multiple resources at once, making information retrieval simpler and more effective.
- New Remote Access Solution – Easily accessing the Discus products at physical locations that are outside South Carolina libraries and media centers has also been often requested. Until now, Discus has relied upon a statewide username and password for home and other remote access. With the availability of new geolocation technology that can recognize IP addresses originating in South Carolina, most remote Discus users will now be automatically authenticated and allowed seamless access to the resources. The username and password will continue to be in place as an alternative access method when needed.
The staff of the Discus program is excited about these changes and is always pleased to assist with any questions, concerns or recommendations.