- Platform: Windows 2000 / 98 / NT / Me / XP
- Media: CD-ROM
- Item Quantity: 1
You'll start at Encarta's homepage where searching for a specific word or phrase brings up a list of suggestions in the left hand column. Click on one of these and the item itself appears in the main window. For example, searching for Vancouver Island returns a selection of articles on the subject itself, related articles on temperate rainforests, deforestation, lumberjacks and Sir Francis Drake, as well as a key event list for Captain Cook (who visited the island in 1778). Cross-referencing is particularly strong, and as well as web-style links within the text that let you jump to other parts of the encyclopaedia, many articles list associated multimedia elements, such as sound and video clips, as well as links to those websites that have been assessed by Encarta's editors. (Where no Editor's Choices exist, you can easily do a general web search.) Articles can also be browsed in alphabetical order or by country and by clicking the Article Outline you can see the main headings of longer articles and jump straight to the sections that interest you. You can also browse maps, multimedia, statistics and around 18,000 websites in the same way.
Navigation is excellent, thanks to the familiar web browser-style controls for moving back and forth between recently viewed screens or going straight to the program's opening homepage, and there's a useful drop-down 'history' menu so you can jump straight back to any of the last 29 pages you've visited. You can also build a list of 'favourites' which is useful if you're researching a subject over a longer period of time. Encarta makes it easy to copy both text and pictures into a word package, such as Microsoft Word and adds the relevant copyright notices automatically.
This edition improves on Encarta Encyclopedia Plus 2004 in a number of significant ways; by adding a world English dictionary and thesaurus, bilingual dictionaries (French, Spanish, German and Italian) thousands of quotations, a huge world atlas, a collection of study aids to help with homework, six 'virtual' aeroplane flights over different continents, and a selection of videos from the Discovery Channel; in all, it has around three times as much content.
With its extensive content and study aids, excellent multimedia and free updates, Encarta 2004 Premium Suite CD Edition sets the standard for multimedia encyclopaedias.
Note: all the features mentioned above are also available for Encarta Encyclopedia 2004 Premium Suite CD version with the exception of the six virtual flights and extra Discovery Channel videos. --Rob Beattie
Other Features and Benefits: