SuperKids' CD Encyclopedia Trial

The two most important factors in determining an encyclopedia's value are its content, and the ease with which users can find the content they are looking for.

Content. We asked our kids reviewers to give us three examples of recent problems where they could have turned to an encyclopedia for help, producing these test searches:

Ease of Use. SuperKids asked our kids reviewers to give these titles a test run. Their conclusion: all are reasonably easy to use, and selection of a favorite was a matter of personal preference, rather than superior design. Here are several key differences you may want to consider.

Groliers: Groliers has the most powerful search engine, offering the capability of doing full-text searches using Boolean logic. In other words, it will look through the full text of every article for any word or combination of words the user suggests. The user can combine words using "and," "or," and "not" constructions, just as in many powerful database search engines.

Comptons: Comptons has a very clear user interface. One nice feature is the ability for the user to search for specific media forms, like photos or videos, on any query.

Microsoft: Microsoft has a very clean layout, driven by pull-down menus.

Now jump to the reviews, or the ratings, or read about a different type of kids encyclopedia.

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