This extraordinary suite contains the following titles:
- Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe is an interactive, multimedia
- Microsoft Encarta Interactive World Atlas is more than just maps
this contains detailed information about places in the world along with the people and
animals that live there. Cultural and geographical information is included here.
- Microsoft Encarta Africana allows users to explore and research the
history, culture, and geography of Africa.
- Microsoft Encarta World English Dictionary includes a newly written
English dictionary, thesaurus, quotations, computer dictionary, almanac, and quotations.
- Microsoft Encarta Researcher assists users in the creation of reports by
incorporating information from the program as well as Internet sources.
consider Microsoft Encarta Reference Suite Deluxe 2001 the
ultimate reference tool and believe that families will quickly regard this program as a
staple in their software library it can help with homework, report writing, and
At the heart of this suite, of course, is the Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 2001.
This interactive encyclopedia brings information to life with video, sounds, photos,
illustrations, interactive media and animations. Whether you are simply browsing or you
have something specific in mind, Encarta will not disappoint. It
sports an easy-to-use interface and search function. Some interesting tools are featured,
such as the Dynamic Timeline that allows users to not only explore history, but to create
custom timelines that match their interests and a Homework Center that holds the
programs handy Encarta Researcher as well as a curriculum guide.
Finding information is easy simply run a search on a topic of interest (and note
that the Microsoft Natural Language Search feature is here) to bring up articles
and media. Within these articles, youll find text as well as links to related
content in the suites other programs and to relevant web sites on the Internet. If
you simply want to browse the programs content, you can use Encarta Explorer
that contains handpicked articles and media.
Download new updates from the Internet on a monthly basis all-new content is
automatically integrated into the program. Using this program with an Internet connection
is best, as its online tie-ins are numerous and greatly expand the program's value.
Everything writers need to enhance their work can be found in the World English
Dictionary. Besides its quality content one of the best features of this program
is its accessibility. While working in a Windows application or while on the Internet, QuickShelf
is available, producing quick results without even having to start Encarta
Dictionary. All of the offerings are well-integrated so that, for example, if you
want to explore a word or phrase in detail, you can do a search on it and get thesaurus
entries, definitions, quotes including the word or phrase, and articles. If you are simply
looking for a quotation featuring the word or phrase in question, for example, you can
search only the Quotations instead of the entire collection.
Interactive World Atlas features cultural and geographical information about
different areas of the world with multimedia components. Either navigate the detailed map
of the world and click on the area of interest or use a Pinpointer text search tool to get
to the information you need quickly. Special features include a map gallery, geography
quiz, world compare (compare two countries and discover geographical standouts),
statistical center, world tours, and virtual flights.
Encarta Africana allows users to explore the history,
geography, and culture of Africa, as well as learn about people of African descent.
Multimedia features include a library of Black America (poetry, fiction, and non-fiction
by African-American authors), history timeline, music timeline, map of Africa, virtual
tours, and topic treks all of which incorporate exciting images and sounds.
Encarta Researcher is an invaluable tool for creating reports. Collect
information from the Encarta program or from the Web and save it
as notes in a project. This information can be organized using simple click-and-drag
functions. All of this information can be saved as an html or Word file, and
bibliography/footnote information is automatic!
Finding specific information on the Web can be, at best, a frustrating experience. Too
often, kids and their parents are led astray when running Internet searches, are
overwhelmed with information, and are in the position to question the validity of the
information they do find. This program contains trustworthy, quick, and relevant
information and includes handy links to pertinent websites as well. Additionally, it
supports Internet searches with its Researcher report-writing
tool. It even has a leg up on the criticism that Internet sources are more current with
its obsolescence-busting feature of monthly downloadable updates (note that these montly
downloads are available free until Dec. 31/2001).
For kids starting at about 4th grade (and for their parents who are helping
them with homework and projects), this tool is invaluable. Entering keywords into the
programs search function is certainly easier then paging through hard-copy
encyclopedias. Electronic encyclopedias have some clear benefits over their competitors --
namely hard-copy and online encyclopedias. With most set-ups, they provide information
faster than both their online and away-from-the-computer counterparts, and have the
advantage of multimedia and up to date content over books. Granted, the physicality of
paging through hard-copy encyclopedias has its inherent sensory charm. And, it should be
noted that those families that dont have significant information needs might be
content with either of these alternatives. However, the convenience, speed, and instant
cross-referencing capabilities of electronic encyclopedias are undeniable.
Note that a DVD version of this suite is available that eliminates the annoyance of
disk-swapping, contains more multimedia, and integrates all of the programs into
one experience, making the additional cash outlay well worth it.