What's New?

By Nigel Paull

Revamped Encyclopaedia Britannica for 1998

Encyclopaedia Britannica recently released a new generation of its CD ROM encyclopaedia, Britannica CD 98 Multimedia Edition.

A variety of CD ROM encyclopedias have found their way into school libraries and homes, usually at no cost because they have been bundled with the purchase of new computers. Students have relished using these multimedia encyclopaedias, but they are often more interested in the videos and animation sequences, rather than the quality or depth of the information presented.

Encyclopaedia Britannica, regarded by many as the fore most and most authoritative encyclopaedia, have revamped their CD ROM encyclopaedia in what amounts to virtually a new product. Rather than just adding the audio, animation and videos that were lacking in the previous edition, they have developed this edition into a truly interactive encyclopaedia complete with extensive Internet hypertext links.

To add these new features Britannica has used two disks. Although both disks contain the complete text, swapping between the two CD ROMs can be inconvenient if you need to move from the Advanced Search Disc to the Multimedia Disc frequently.

The content is staggering; in fact, the publishers claim it has twice as many articles as its competitors. Navigation and search methods are intuitive and easy to follow, thanks to a new graphical interface. Users can move seamlessly to more than 15 000 related Internet links selected by the Britannica editors. Other features al low users to: contrast data and present it using graphs, charts, or printed reports; find related articles using 1.4 million hypertext links; and compare and analyse data from 191 countries. For an international encyclopaedia, the Australian and New Zealand content is satisfactory.

Make the time to see a demonstration of Britannica CD 98 Multimedia Edition and find out how impressive it really is. At the present time Britannica CD 98 Multimedia Edition is available for Windows 95 and Windows NT. Other versions will follow in a few months.

Cost: $249 for schools.

Nigel Paull

Nigel Paull