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spacer all reviews > > > social studies

The Complete National Geogaphic

Mindscape

5 to adult

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
4.0
Kid Appeal
3.0
Ease of Use
4.0

National Geographic Cover Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

Close your eyes and picture this: a complete set of every National Geographic Magazine published over the last 108 years. Yellow borders, amazing pictures, insightful articles -- and approximately 40 linear feet of bookshelf, groaning under the weight!

Then imagine this: 30 CD-ROMs, neatly packaged in decade sets, each with a complete search engine, taking up less than 10 inches of shelf space. Which would you want gracing your library? If you yearn for completeness or neatness, The Complete National Geographic is the only way to go. But if you're looking for something to read in your easy chair, sipping a cup of something warm, you may want to stick to the traditional model.

Educational Value
The Complete National Geographic has the same educational value as would a complete collection of the conventional print version, with a couple of positive differences. Searches are easier, because the index is complete; copying a picture (if you have a color printer) doesn't result in a torn up magazine; and the odds are better that you'll have a complete set - something most libraries can't claim.

Kid Appeal
The appeal of this package is also similar to the conventional version, but our reviewers felt that the differences in this category favored the print version over the CD. "It's much more relaxing and enjoyable to sit down with a paper version, than it is to stare at a computer screen," was a frequent comment. And "the text is tiresome to read," noted most of the adult reviewers. This is apparently the result of the scanning process used to capture the pages on the CDs. Rather than convert all the text into digital information, the text and pictures were captured as pixels. As a result, the photographs look great, but the text is somewhat grey.

Sample of text from The Complete National Geographic

Text sample

Ease of Use / Install
The CD set installed without difficulty on our reviewers' test PCs and Macs. Each CD includes the install utility, so you can start from any point in time.

The Complete National Geographic is also easy to use, in terms of scrolling through the pages, or finding specific issues. Each CD opens to a screen showing the covers of the issues. Click on a cover, and you enter that issue. VCR-style forward and back arrows control the scrolling, and another button allows you to zoom in for a closer look.

Date and issue-based searches are simple and foolproof. What about subject searches? Each article (and advertisement) has been indexed using a keyword system. Searches look for these index words -- if your search is for one of those words, the matching articles will be displayed. But since this is not a "full-text" search, it is possible to miss some articles which may be of interest to you.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
The Complete National Geographic will appeal to those who have always wanted a set of the paper versions. It is also a great product for libraries. But if you've ever dreamed of reading every single issue, cover-to-cover, we think you would find this to be an eye-straining task.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other Social Studies 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, Pentium90 or faster cpu, 70 MB hard drive space, 32 MB RAM , 800x600 16-bit graphics, 4X CD-ROM, Windows compliant sound device. .

Mac: PowerMac, 70 MB hard drive space, 32 MB RAM, 800x600 16-bit graphics, 4X CD-ROM

Reviewed on:

  • PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 8X CD,
  • Pentium 166 with 16 MB and 12X CD
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