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About the Databases

DISCUS is South Carolina's Virtual Library, providing all South Carolinians with equitable access to an electronic library of essential information sources. DISCUS is administered by the South Carolina State Library in cooperation with school, college and public libraries. DISCUS is funded by the South Carolina General Assembly with supplemental funding by the federal Library Services and Technology Act. DISCUS includes Gale Group, Grolier and SIRS database produucts on a variety of subject areas and age levels.

NewsBank is a service of the Beaufort County Public Library System (and not a part of the DISCUS databases), with full-text articles on a wide range of topics from over 500 U.S. regional and national newspapers and media sources.The maps feature allows users to print out maps (political and physical) of the nations of the world and the 50 United States

Access to the Databases

Instructions for free access to both DISCUS and NewsBank are available to registered borrowers of the Beaufort County Public Library System at all five library locations. Public school media centers and college libraries also provide DISCUS remote access to the clients.

Click on the logo below for the complete selection of online databses available free of charge to our registered library borrowers:

Select a tutorial:



DISCUS Databases

NOTE: The South Carolina State Library provides additional DISCUS training and instructional tools

Gale Group
Online Databases
Online Databases

Gale Group Databases

Biography Resource Center

• Searching "Name contains" gives the biggest number of hits (over 40 for "Hemingway"), but the results often overwhelm students if full name ("Ernest Hemingway") is not entered.

•Searching "Start of last name" - Useful when students or unsure of spellings or name variants.

"Biographical Facts Search" - Perfect for assignments with no specific name, but which identify people by nationality, ethnicity, gender, or occupation (use the "View Occupation List" link for full list of terms). For example, entering Occupation = inventor and Ethnicity = "African American" finds 34 hits.

Please note: Not all biographical entries include a portrait (Look for camera icon to the right of links with portraits).

Other Useful Features of Biography Resource Center:

Articles with InfoMarks may be bookmarked like ordinary Web pages for quick retrieval (Browser must accept cookies).   Mark List creates a tailored list of results, chosen by the user as a time saver. You can bookmark your Mark List (because they have InfoMarks) for easy retrieval.
Help and Search Tips: Refer to these assistance files during searches to improve searching effectiveness.   "Print" provides a "clean" page format that saves paper.

·• E-mail: Send full text, but no graphics.
  ·•Advanced Search finds a person mentioned in another subject's biographical entry, and allows keyword searches of the entire database.
Research Guide guides students step by step through the process of biographical research.   •Dictionary provides quick definitions to unfamiliar words in articles.
·• Spotlight On… changes periodically. Archives date back to 1999.

Scribner Writer's Series

Includes signed essays (15-20 pages in length) on more than 1,600 authors and literary genres drawn from 13 Scribner print series. Sources are fully cited.

• Search alphabetically by author on the opening page (the "Authors A-Z" link) to view a biography of an author's life and works.

• The "In-Depth Search" option allows advanced searches by name of writer, genre, language, time period, nationality, and full-text search (to find keywords in the entire database).

•Click on the "Research Ideas" link for listings of literary prize winners, groups of authors by major literary period, "The Bible as Literature," and a "Recommended Reading" resource page.

• The "Help" page gives proper citation format for school reports, plus assistance in viewing formats and navigating the documents and results lists.

What Do I Read Next?

Author Search by "Name contains/Start of last name" - Search here as with Biography Resource Center.Please note: A hyperlink in each author entry connects to a short biography from Contemporary Authors.

Title Search -- Search by "Exact Title" for specific, known titles. Otherwise, search by "Titles containing this word or phrase." Please note:The "Recommended Similar Titles" linked from each entry provide advise students of additional reading selections.

Custom Search combines several elements to tailor your search: Author, Title, Genre/Story Type, Subject, Location, Time Period, Character Descriptor, Character Name and Full Text.

Other Useful Features of What Do I Read Next?:

"Add to Keeper List" creates a list of results, chosen by the user.
  Award Winners has SC Children's, Junior, and YA Book Award winners.

Health and Wellness Resource Center

Simple Search allows limiting by date range and full text/refereed articles.

Advanced Search treats terms as keyword, article title/headline, subject, journal name, full text, author, or abstract. Other options limit date and type of article (full text, refereed, or consumer health).

"Quick Start" selections include a medical encyclopedia and dictionary, a drug finder, "Health Assessment Tools," a health organization directory, "Health News," and links to other health sites.

Materials Tabs

At the top of each page of search results, you will see five tabs that allow you to choose the most appropriate type of material:

Reference: Entries from encyclopedias and other health/medical reference texts.
·•Magazines and Journals: Selected periodical article on your topic.
Pharmacy: Information on relevant medications, from pharmacy sources.
• Pamphlets: Concise information, for quick reference and basic facts.
Resources tab identifies relevant sources, describes content, and gives bibliographic information.

Other Useful Features of Heath and Wellness Resource Center:

Direct links to "Related Resources" in left margin of search results pages.   Camera icon at the end of a result citation indicates illustrations.

InfoTrac Databases

General Description

The InfoTrac databases are a set of Gale Group products that provide periodical and reference-source information. They have several search and interface features in common (see Search options). Here are brief descriptions of each InfoTrac database:

•General Reference Center
integrates a variety of sources on topics of general interest, from magazines, reference books, and newspapers, many with full-text and images. Find the latest current events, popular culture, the arts and sciences, sports, hobbies, and more.

• Custom Newspapers, a wide selection of U. S. and international newspapers allows searches by date, journal title, or by feature sections (arts and entertainment, business, general or regional news, lifestyle, opinion/editorial, and sports).

Kids InfoBits meets the research needs of students in Kindergarten through Grade 5. It features a developmentally-appropriate, visually graphic interface, as well as a subject-based topic tree search. Resources include full-text, age-appropriate, curriculum-related magazine, newspaper and reference content for information on current events, the arts, science, health, people, government, history, sports and much more!

• Junior Edition provides middle school students with magazines, newspapers and reference books (most are full-text) for information on current events, the arts, science, popular culture, health, people, government, history, sports and other popular topics.

• Student Edition
meets high school students' needs for magazines, newspapers and reference book sources on topics like current events, the arts, science, popular culture, health, people, government, history, and sports.

• Expanded Academic ASAP
- For research in the arts and the humanities to social sciences, science and technology. Access scholarly journals, news magazines, and newspapers across all academic disciplines (including education). Please note: This database is useful in locating full-text professional literature (ideal for continuing education and recertification courses for educators!)

General Business File ASAP -- Analyze company performance and activity, industry events and trends as well as the latest in management, economics and politics. Access to a combination of broker research reports, trade publications, newspapers, journals and company directory listings with full text and images available.

• Health Reference Center Academic is a source for article on fitness, pregnancy, medicine, nutrition, diseases, public health, Occupational Health and Safety, Alcohol and drug abuse, HMOs, prescription drugs, and - unlike the consumer-health emphasis of the Health and Wellness Resource Center - topics of a more academic nature.

Worth a Glance: The InfoTrac OneFile and LegalTrac databases may also come in handy for certain types of assignment.

Searching Hints

Relevance Search finds articles in which your search terms or similar terms appear most substantially, in title, citation, abstract or in entire article content.

Limit each search to articles with text (complete articles), by date, by journal and/or to entries containing certain words. Please note: Click the "Browse" button to the right of the "by journal" limit for a list of journal titles included in the database.

Grolier Online Databases

Grolier Encyclopedia Main Menu

•"Search Grolier Online" (lower right of screen) - "Titles only" option retrieves articles by the specific title specified. "Full text" locates your search terms in articles with other titles. Please note: The Global Search Results are a list by encyclopedia name source (Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, New Book of Knowledge, or Encyclopedia Americana) , to allow browsing of the various matches according to your students' research needs or age/reading level.

Other Useful Features of Grolier Encyclopedia Main Menu:

Direct link to online dictionary (and thesaurus).   •Direct link to online atlas (Geopolitical, Thematic, or Explorer's) From the Geopolitical map, you can click on a specific area and increase focus of your search by connecting to links for related articles.
Please note: These dictionary and atlas features are found at the bottom of all three Grolier online encyclopedia products, for ready reference.

Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia
Basic knowledge with multimedia enhancements.

Simple Search - Just enter your search terms in the box provided on the opening page. Please note: Explore the Multimedia elements (graphics and sound) and options for maps (and various topics), periodicals, Web links and print/e-mail in the right margin of GME article pages. You must have Quick Time 4.0 plug-in to enjoy the Multimedia elements.

Advanced Search (Click on "Advanced" button under simple search window) -- Join up to 3 search terms (with Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT) for highly specific searches by full text or article title.

New Book of Knowledge
News and encyclopedia resources for grades 3-6 (ages 7-14).

Find information in two separate areas:

NBK News:

Newscoops provide current-event topics for young children.

NBK Archive retains items from the past two years .

Other Useful Features of NBK News:

The "apple" image denotes a story with a lesson plan!   "FastFact" links from article pages to brief information on the topic.

NBK Encyclopedia:

Students may use either the "Quick Search" option or the "Advanced Search" with Boolean (AND, OR, NOT) operators.

Menu - Subject and Alphabetical browsing, "Wonder Questions" (prompts for discussion); "Literary Selections" (for children's classics); Projects and Experiments, World History Timelines, "Homework Help" (separate tutorials on researching, studying, and writing); Bibliographies, and "Teachers' Guide" to the databases.

"Maps" option has the same features as the Grolier Main Menu Geopolitical Map.

Other Useful Features of NBK Encyclopedia:

"Facts at a Glance" selections at top of article pages, as well as links to "Magazine" and "Web Links" resources on the topic.

Encyclopedia Americana
General information for older students and adults.

Searching -- Basic searches may be limited to "Article Titles," "Full Text," and "Journal Titles," or expanded to an Advanced Search.

· Students may browse four featured topic areas: "Browse" subjects alphabetically; "Journal" (a news database with feature stories, online news links and teachers' guide); "Editor's Picks" (weekly selections of current-event topics); and "Profiles" (current biographies).

Other Useful Features of Encyclopedia Americana:

On each article page, note links to tables, further readings, periodical resources, Web links, and related encyclopedia articles.

SIRS Online Databases

SIRS Discoverer
A periodical database for younger users, with supplementary resources.

Keyword Search -- To search for a text string (like "space junk"), surround it in double quotes. Users may expand search with Boolean operators: "space and (junk or garbage)." Please note: From the individual article entries, click yellow "apple" icon for Library of Congress Subject headings (space debris) to use in Subject Searches (for more focused results than keyword searching).

"Subject Tree" Search - The 15 pre-selected categories are further divided into subtopics.
· Subject Search by Library of Congress Subject headings.

Other Useful Features of SIRS Discoverer:

Under "Database Features," select the "Activities" link on the resulting page (for a variety of student projects and activities).   ·• Librarian's Corner great support materials, including source lists.
Online Dictionary, Encyclopedia, Almanac and Thesaurus.   Country Facts on more than 85 countries.
Photo Essays of social issues and global concepts and an alphabetical "Pictures" file.   •General Interest Biographies on 3 reading levels and U. S. Presidents' Biographies.
•Over 300 "Maps of the World."   Full-text "Fiction" selections for students.
•"How to Cite" - Descriptions and examples of MLA and APA styles.   •Online workbooks on primary and middle schools levels.
•Current Events and "Spotlight of the Month."   "New Content and Hot Topics" of updated content.
•Overall tutorial of the database.

SIRS Knowledge Source
For general use: A periodical and Web resource, on general, government and humanities topics.

The SIRS Knowledge Source is actually a collection of four distinct databases, which may be used together or separately (click on a database link or icon to select a particular product):

SIRS Researcher ® (General Reference)

SIRS Government Reporter ® (Information By & About the U.S. Government)

SIRS Renaissance ® (Arts & Humanities) Please note: Items from these databases appear as "Article List" on the result pages.

SKS WebSelect ™ (Selected Internet Sites) Please note:These items appear
as "Internet Sites" on the result pages.

These products share these same search options:

"Quick Search": Enclose a phrase in quotation marks to find multiple words appearing next to one another in a specified order. Please note: Users may limit "Quick Searches" by relevance/date and by keyword/natural language or subject headings.

· Advanced Search allows the joining of up to 3 terms with Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) and by full text, author name, or title. Please note:Further advanced search options are a proximity search (finding one word in a user-determined proximity to another within a text) and a graphics search (by graphic title).

"Topic Browse" tab (at the top of pages) allows browsing of broad topic areas. Choose article or Web site options. .Please note:This feature is a quick way for students to become familiar with many facets of a broad topic.

Other Useful Features of SIRS Knowledge Source:

"What Citizens Need to Know About Government" (click on the "Interactive Citizienship" menu tab on the SIRS Knowledge Source opening page), a continuously updated electronic "textbook" with links to relevant SIRS magazine and newspaper articles, Supreme Court decisions, presidential addresses, treatises, other primary sources, and selected government and eductional Web sites. Targeted to secondary school users and up, this content is useful in classroom settings, as well as for independent study and learning.
•"Tagged List" and "Search History" options   • Online Dictionary and Thesaurus.
Citation guide for MLA and APA styles ("Cite" link at upper right of screen).   • Toolbox and Tips for users.

DISCUS: Feature Summary

Lesson Plans & Classroom Activities


Gale Group Resource Centers:

• Biography Resource Center (BRC); Health & Wellness Resource Center (HWRC), email data as an HTML page or as plain text, but no graphics.

What Do I Read Next? (WDIRN), email data as an HTML page or as plain text, but graphics and author biographical data are not included.

Grolier Online:

Encyclopedia Americana (EA); Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia (GME); New Book of Knowledge (NBK): text only, select portions of an article up to the full text, but no graphics.

InfoTrac: text only, from citation up to full text (if provided), but no graphics.


• Knowledge Source (SKS) and Discoverer can email text alone or with graphics.


Some DISCUS resources have special printing options. Special PDF files, in many cases, look almost exactly like a photocopy of the original materials. In order to view and print PDF (portable document format) files, Adobe Acrobat® Reader must be installed on your computer. The Reader can be downloaded free of charge from Adobe's Web site at|

Gale Group Resource Centers:

• BRC and WDIRN provide a "Format for Printing" option which removes the side menu to conserve paper.

HWRC provides a "Print" feature which removes the side menu to conserve paper.
PDF files are not available in any of these databases.

InfoTrac: Articles are available in PDF which can save paper by printing several columns on a page in a smaller font than the "Browser Print" which merely removes the menu bar. Articles with graphics or charts should be printed in PDF for best quality, as graphics do not always appear clearly in the "Browser Print."

Grolier Online:

• EA, GME, and NBK each offer a Print/Email button so you can select portions of an article to print, up to the entire article, but if graphics are present, you must click on each image if you wish to enlarge it or have the option to print the graphic alone. PDF files are not available in any of these databases.


• SIRS: Workbooks are available in PDF or HTML. All maps have the option of "printable PDF" for a cleaner print out of the image, sized to fit on standard size printer paper.

Knowledge Source (SKS) offers "Clean Copy for Printing" to remove menu and save paper.

Discoverer has no special printing options for articles.

"How to Cite" Instructions:

Gale Group Resource Centers:

• BRC: In the "Table of Contents" of each article, click on "Source Citation" link for that particular item.

HWRC: Go to "Help" then "Citing Works from HWRC" to see samples of standard formats.

: None instructions given.

• InfoTrac: While in Junior Edition, click on "Tool Box" and choose link to "…Cite a Source." Click on "Teacher Toolbox" in the Kid's InfoBits database to access the citation guide. For all other InfoTrac databases, choose "Help" then "Help Index" and under "What do you need?" find the link for "How do I cite an article?" which gives examples in standard formats: APA, and MLA.

Grolier Online:

• EA: At the bottom of the article text, choose link "Format for Bibliographic Citation." Samples are given.

• GME: While viewing an article, scroll to end and click "How to Cite This Article." The citation for the specific article is given, as well as a link to the research starter, "How to Cite References."

• NBK: No instructions given.

(MLA and APA examples are given in both products).

SIRS Knowledge Source: Click on "Cite" in the right of the upper menu bar for general format.

• SIRS Discoverer: Click on "How to Cite" at bottom of the screen.

Lesson Plans & Classroom Activities

Grolier Online:

• NBK: In the "NBK News" feature, the red apple icon indicates that a include lesson plan accompanies the article. Search for past entries by topic in the "NBK News Archives."
ALSO: Click on "Projects and Experiments" in the Encyclopedia index (left screen area).


• SIRS Discoverer: A red a indicates that an article includes a related activity. ALSO: In the "Database Features" section of the home page, click on "Activities" for a list by topic and type.

NewsBank Databases

(Provided by the Beaufort County Public Library System, and not a part of DISCUS)

NOTE: Instructions for free home and office access to NewsBank are available at all locations of the Beaufort County Public Library System.

NewsBank America's Newspapers database provides full-text articles on a wide range of topics from over 200 U.S. exclusive newspaper titles and media sources, including The State (Columbia, SC). Find the electronic editions of record for valuable local, regional, and national U.S. newspapers--all in one easy-to-search database. Each paper provides unique coverage of local and regional news, including companies, politics, sports, industries, cultural activities, and people in the community. Paid ads are excluded.



Click on the Amrica's Newspapers link in the center of the home page to begin your search.

The basic search interface allows you perform Keyword (simple) searches (you may also select the Advanced Search link for advanced searches). On the Keyword search page, you may also choose result lists arranged by "Best matches first" (relevance) or "Most recent matches first." You may also limit your search by Date.

Search results appear as links to full-text articles.

"Other Resources" in NewsBank America's Newspapers

"Hot Topics" and special reports keep readers up to date on current events.

How to Search instructions.

Help and Tutorial features

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Last Revised 8-9-04.