By Dianne Lewis

A new service for libraries that need current information but also need to consider the cost ...

CURRICULUM CORPORATION is well aware of the demands placed on libraries, school libraries and libraries in tertiary institutions to access current curriculum information at the lowest possible cost and often without access to on-line databases or microfiche.

Educators need current information and up-to-date resources to assist them with their curriculum planning and also need to be able to access that information in the easiest possible way - via a telephone.

After initial trialling in Victoria and New South Wales in late 1991, Search has been introduced on an extended trial basis for schools, school libraries, tertiary institutions and libraries to meet this need. The Search service is a low cost way of accessing information from the Curriculum Corporation national database. It can be used without the neroto have electronic access via computer and modem, or without the tedious searching on microfiche. The service provides bibliographic data and, in many instances, abstracts or reviews.

Search enables users to identify a full range of resources in specific areas of the curriculum. The list provided could then be worked through by the user to provide sufficient, suitable and up-to-date materials to support the development of a unit.

Presentation is by curriculum area and the information includes title, author, date of publication, publisher and ISBN. The information requested by a Search user can include items from the Curriculum Corporation databases: Schools Cataloguing Information Service (SCIS), Curriculum Information Network (CIN), Asian Studies, Environmental Education, Australian Studies, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resources, and Computer Software Review. The result is sent to the user in a professional print format.

The service can be used as a buying guide. It can enable teacher librarians and librarians to buy resources by selecting from the list rather than be restricted to material available from the normal sources of supply . A bonus is the knowledge that the resource has been catalogued onto the SCIS database and the Abstract will provide a resume of the resource and how other educators may have used the resource.

Access to the service has been made as easy as possible by provision of a 24 Hour Message Bank on 008 809 678 (ringing from outside Melbourne) or 6391405. This access enables the user to phone the service and leave a recorded message. Search can also be accessed by fax on (03) 639 1616. A Search proforma is also available from Curriculum Corporation.

The service aims for a 48 hour turnaround or, if no result is achieved then, Curriculum Corporation will contact the user to notify them of the problem and ask for an alternative search term. Curriculum Corporation has priced the Search Service at $8.00 plus 20 cents per title listed and this includes titles with abstract/ review details.


  • 24 Hour Message Bank: 008 809 678
  • Outside Melbourne 639 1405 
  • Melbourne Callers Facsimile: (03) 639 1616 


The year 12 Art teacher at my school is preparing a unit on methods used in the preservation of art works. Knowing that this was a difficult topic, I decided to give Search a go. I ignored the request on the Search profile form to include SCIS subject headings (why make it too easy?) and requested:

SUBJECT: Methods used to store, preserve and maintain studio art works and requested abstracts.

I faxed in the request and received a reply within 24 hours. The speed was impressive.

Two items were retrieved (I knew it would be difficult): one with abstract including price and availability, and the second a SCIS record of a 1978 reprint of a 1973 title. There was also a covering letter suggesting two organisations which could be helpful.

For a library with no access to the SCIS dial-up facility, this is an excellent service.

Dianne Lewis

Previous Connections Editor