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spacer all reviews > > > CD Encyclopedia software

World Book Deluxe Edition 1999

IBM

Ages 10 to adult

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Breadth
4.5
Depth
4.0
Ease of Use
5.0

1999 World Book Encyclopedia Deluxe Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

When purchasing a CD encyclopedia, potential buyers must first know if it will provide answers to their families' questions. World Book 1999 Multimedia Encyclopedia addressed all three of our kids' research trial questions, although not always with the amount of detail desired.

World Book provided excellent answers to out middle school student's question about the difference between mitosis and meiosis, and our high schooler's question about the history of impeachment in the US. Both answers were easy to find, factual, thorough, and clear.

World Book 1999 was less helpful on the grade-school question about ligers and tiglons. It noted that lions and tigers had mated in captivity, and that their offspring were variously called ligers and tiglons -- but provided no further information.

Ease of Install/Use
This two disk program installed without difficulty on our Windows 95 test machines, but required a substantial 39MB of hard drive space. World Book also required the user to enter a 12-character serial number from the back of the CD-holder when installing the software. Most of the information contained in the program can be found on Disk 1, while Disk 2 contains video shorts, film clips and simulations. As is the case with all the multi-disk encyclopedia, disk swapping can be annoying at times.

Of equal importance in the search for a good family CD encyclopedia is "Are the answers easy to find?" If information is difficult to access, it is fairly worthless -- especially if children are the primary users.

World Book includes a two-part main menu. "Browse" allows the user to browse the entire encyclopedia at random, or customize by selecting a category and/or content type. "Search" allows the user to navigate his or her way through the program using AND/OR/NOT entry boxes to combine up to three search terms.

SuperKids' parent and child reviewers found the layout to be clear, the text appropriate for grade-school to junior high children, and the program simple to use.

The program's User's Guide gives in-depth explanations of the program's various functions and is especially helpful in detailing five mini-programs, called 'Homework Wizards', that are designed to guide students doing research and writing reports.

Internet Connectivity
Like the other CD encyclopedia SuperKids reviewed, World Book offers users (who have access to the Internet) the option of searching the Internet for additional information. To do so, the user must first configure the program to use the computer's existing dialup connection and browser. We encountered repeated failures in our attempts to do this, unless we first connected to the Internet directly -- outside of the program.

Once connected, we discovered that World Book's Internet search option is a little different from the others we reviewed, in that it begins with a list of pre-selected sites. The advantage of this, is that World Book's presumably knowledgable editors have selected great sites. The disadvantage, is that sites can change, and/or disappear. In our search for information about impeachment, we encountered "link-rot" (links to sites that no longer exist), and several links of dubious quality/accuracy/relevance. For example, we're not sure why they chose to include a link to a "Monica Mania" page. We'd suggest that future versions of World Book stick to a simple link to a page on their own website.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
World Book has improved relative to the other programs we have reviewed in this category. It is a complete, easy-to-use encyclopedia -- ideal for a family with elementary to junior high school students and report writers. Older students and adults, however, may find the depth of information provided inadequate.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other CD Encyclopedia software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions of this program.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95/98/NT 4.0 or higher, 486DX/66 MHz or faster cpu, 39 MB hard drive space (+8 MB if Internet access desired), 16 MB RAM, 16-bit color display recommended, Double-speed or faster CD-ROM, 16-bit sound card, mouse; modem and Internet connection required for online access

Mac: Mac OS System 7.1 or higher, Macintosh Centris 650, 25MHz 68040 chip or faster, 35 MB hard drive space (+8 MB if Internet access desired), 16 MB RAM, 8-bit color display or higher, Double-speed or faster CD-ROM, mouse; modem and Internet connection required for online access

Reviewed on:

  • Pentium166 with 24MB and 12XCD
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