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Shared Systems

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did we move from multiple stand-alone systems to a shared system?

The primary goal of the statewide systems upgrade was to enrich the research experience of students while assisting faculty and staff in their scholarly and professional pursuits. South Carolina’s academic libraries have a long tradition of collaboration that efficiently increased student and faculty access to information resources. Over the years, PASCAL has provided access to thousands of journals and e-books, and through PASCAL Delivers, millions of print books in member libraries. The shared system represents an important step in collaboration. It serves as a framework to improve our efficiencies through shared services and cloud-based opportunities; allow institutions to better manage print and digital collections; and increase our analytic capabilities. A shared platform provides the greatest opportunity and flexibility for sharing resources and services that support students, faculty, and staff at all our member institutions. 


How is this system different?

This system operates in a cloud computing environment, with the various pieces needed to manage 21st century library operations developed interconnectedly. Because it is managed “in the cloud,” many libraries no longer need to maintain servers and manage systems as they previously did. Services that libraries purchased separately, such as link resolvers, discovery layers, serials management, and authority control, are now all part of the shared system. The architecture is designed to better incorporate, manage, discover and access electronic resources.  Resource sharing among our institutions is critical, as is a “next generation” public interface that allows library users to discover and access the complex universe of available resources.  Having one system improves the research experience for our users and allows staff to create value added services.


What does this mean for students, faculty and staff at participating institutions?

  • Improved discovery & access | The shared system includes the Primo VE discovery solution that provides a single, intuitive search interface for print and digital resources. The powerful and customizable search interface allows students and faculty to quickly find resources on their own campus and those available through the PASCAL community.
  • Improved functionality | The library system integrates and streamlines the management of print and digital collections, resource-sharing between libraries, and provides a search interface for users.
  • Collaborative collection development | The shared system allows PASCAL libraries to easily collaborate on collection management and development, resulting in a more comprehensive and diverse statewide research collection. One long term significant benefit will be deeper, richer collections as PASCAL libraries leverage funds by reducing duplication. 
  • Seamless access across institutions | Transfer students, faculty working and studying at multiple institutions, and distance education learners who access resources from more than one institution no longer encounter a different search interface at each institution, reducing frustration.
  • Powerful analytic tools | Improved assessment tools provide insight into usage of resources, enabling libraries to better meet the needs of their patrons.

How is the cost shared?

Funding for the shared system also represents an important collaborative step: Lottery funds supplied by the General Assembly funded the startup and implementation of the system, while member library fees provide for its upkeep.  Overall, the system increases statewide access to resources, while saving costs for implementation and management of individual systems.

How will this shared system be managed?

PASCAL libraries developed a collaborative model for management of the shared system that focuses on consensus building and enables all member libraries to participate fully and provide feedback. Multiple teams, made up of member library employees, have been involved in coordination, implementation, and management of the shared system. These teams investigate best practices and how to bring institutional policies, procedures, and workflows together when necessary. The teams work on behalf of all member libraries to determine where it makes sense for libraries to do things the same way, and where it is important to customize at the local level. Policies have been, and will be, created for those areas where it’s determined that continuity amongst members would be best.

The Statewide Electronic Library for Higher Education is coordinated by PASCAL, its members and other partners. Funding is provided by the South Carolina General Assembly, PASCAL member libraries, and grants.
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