P. O. BOX 2120
September 22, 2000


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Virginia Public Schools to Receive Access to 
SIRS Databases at No Cost

The Department of Education is pleased to inform school divisions that the Library of Virginia is providing access to an online research database. This joint project is in cooperation with Virginia’s public libraries, K-12 public schools, and community colleges. This project is funded through Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds.

This initiative will provide online access to SIRS, a powerful Web search interface that allows integrated access to full-text articles, Internet sites, documents, and graphics from SIRS reference databases — SIRS Researcher, SIRS Government Reporter, SIRS Renaissance, and SIRS Discoverer.

Each of the four Standards of Learning subjects has a research component. Students are expected to become information literate and have the ability to acquire information from a variety of sources. The resources that are available through the SIRS databases will ensure that all students have equal access to many diverse sources of information. For example, SIRS Researcher is a general reference database with thousands of full-text articles exploring social, scientific, health, historic, economic, business, political, and global issues. SIRS Researcher contains articles from 1,500 domestic and international newspapers, magazines, journals, and U.S. government publications that can be accessed instantaneously. The reading level of each article is included in the article description providing teachers and students in grades K-12 information resources that meet their instructional needs.

School divisions will need to access and submit an online registration form to SIRS to establish an account. The registration form and other information will be found at Detailed information regarding registration is provided in an attachment to this memo. Each school division must identify a contact person for the service who will be responsible for registering all schools in the division. Individual schools will not need to submit registration information. The account will not be activated until SIRS authenticates the name of the contact person. The name of the contact person should be submitted to Charlie Makela, school library media and technology specialist at who will provide the necessary information to SIRS. This official division contact listing will be used by SIRS to authenticate the account information. After the account is authenticated, confirmation and access information will be sent to the contact via fax.

We are very excited about this opportunity to provide this access to all students. For additional information, contact Lan Neugent, assistant superintendent for technology at 804-225-2757 or