Business-like, isn't he?



Using the VSB MediaNet

By Alan Zisman © 2000, 2006

In the Fall of 2000, the VSB brought out a new way for staff to search and order media materials online: MediaNet. This is a big improvement over the old, text based VSBCat, but also has some quirks. The aim of this tutorial is to help staff get started using MediaNet.

Note: The former VSBCat can no longer be accessed, either using the NetTerm program, or using Telnet from school or home.

You can connect to MediaNet anywhere that you have a computer with a connection to the Internet—school or home, using any standard Web browser. The address is: In most browsers, you can leave out the http:// and still connect just fine. When you get there, the first thing you'll see is:

Log in

You'll get a screen prompting you to log on. You're asked for a Client Number and a Password. As the page explains, the Client Number is your VSB Employee Number (which is on your pay stub). It is not the same as the PIN number you use to access the SEMS system for booking an employee on call. As explained, the password for everyone is media

Enter the log-in information and click the green OK button. You'll see:

First screen

While there are a lot of options, in most cases you will probably want to click on the large link near the top labelled Search Full Catalog. You'll see a busy screen:


I entered the term volcano… but before rushing to click the Submit button, it's worth checking some of the options. These all use drop-down lists to make it easy to refine your search.

  • You can select the maximum number of items to show, as a result of your search, with a range of 5 to 1000 items
  • Simple Search vs Advanced Search (My opinion: it seems like you can do anything you might want with an advanced search much easier my choosing options from the drop-down lists).
  • Keyword Search or searching for a Title, Series, Subject (etc). The keyword searches for the word (or phrase) you entered in the description of the item.
  • Brief vs Full display. The brief display simply lists the results of your search. The full display shows the title, description, etc for each item that matches your criteria. This can be a nice way to read the descriptions of multiple items on a single page. Each item gets a Pick button, letting you add it to your shopping cart.
  • Format lets you limit to a single format: VHS video tapes, Mac software, etc.
  • Audience level lets you choose Primary/Intermediate/Junior High/Senior High, etc
  • The Language choices are English or French
  • Collection choices are Ministry Recommended or Fast Forward 2000
  • Year is the © date of the item—you can pick specific years or, for example, '1987+'  for anything from that year onwards
  • Acquisition Date is when it was added to the collection—ranging from past 30 days to 2 years.

I limited my search by choosing:

  • Format: VHS
  • Audience: Intermediate
  • Year: 1987+

And clicked on the Submit button. (The Reset button lets you start over). The results were:

Search results

Notice that there were four items listed. They are hyperlinks—clicking on one takes you to information and description of that item. Alternatively, you can submit a modified search. Clicking on In the path of a killer volcano took me to:


There's a description of the item, with date, time, audience level, synopsis, etc. As well, there are links to the series, and to the subject area—a quick way to get a list of related titles. Since I wanted to book that item, I clicked on the Pick button, which took me to The Media Shopping Cart:

Shopping Cart

You may want to make sure that the system has an up-to-date email address. 

Enter a desired delivery date in the Show mm/dd field. (note that you need to enter the date as a numerical month/day. You can enter a single digit for months like September ('9'). If you enter a date when your school doesn't have a delivery, it will automatically adjust to your nearest delivery prior to the entered date when you click on the Test Availability button.

If you want to try to book it for the first available date, use the First option instead of a numerical date. Then, when you click on the Test Availability button, it will fill in the first available date, and add a checkmark in the Avail column.

Clicking on the "1" beside the word Any pops up a calendar to help you pick your desired date:


Be sure to Test Availability... if your item isn't available, keep at it until you find a date that works!

Test availability

If you change your mind, click in the Remove box, then click the Save Changes button. If you are done, after saving any changes, click the Logout User button. If you want to add additional items to your shopping cart, you could click on the Search button to start over with a new search, Clicking the browser's Back button will get you back to your search results, and let you add additional items to your Shopping Cart.

Your bookings are not made until you click on the Submit button… at which point you will see a verification of the booking.

When you're done, be sure to Logout.

Good luck!

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Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan