Reference Library Premium 2005
Our Review: We have been
thrilled with the Encarta Encyclopedia for years, and with
the 2005 edition, bowled over. Now including a new feature,
Encarta Kids, this Reference Library is dazzling, useful,
and engaging for all members of the family.
With Microsoft Encarta
Reference Library Premium 2005, parents
can feel confident that their children and teens are finding
relevant, authoritative information for their projects and general
knowledge. And, parents can of course rely on the suite as well!
New to 2005 is an innovative feature: Encarta Kids.
Encarta Kids is new content designed from the ground up with the
specific needs of a younger audience in mind, including children
as young as seven! Bolder, larger text, easier-to-read articles,
and relevant elementary-age content makes this feature both
inviting and educationally useful for children ages 7 to 12.
Encarta Kids runs as a separate application, but if there are no
search results in the program, a link is offered to search in
Encarta Reference Library.
In addition to this new feature for children,
the latest edition of Encarta includes a new Encarta Search Bar.
By right-clicking on the time in the System Tray, and
selecting the search bar from the Toolbar, users can begin a
search at any time. New online Homework Helpers allow users with an Internet
connection to get up-to-date help with, for example, math homework.
well, the features that made previous editions outstanding are all
here as well, such as the Discovery Channel videos (with topics
like Bird Evolution and Life on Mars?), Dictionary and
Thesaurus (including translation dictionaries), interactive games (including a geography challenge
pictured at left), Homework Center, outstanding
interactive Atlas, and more.
CD-ROM edition includes 5 CDs. If you have the space, the
program can be installed to your hard drive for easy access.
It requires almost two and half gigs. The DVD-ROM edition, of course, is easier to use because it
is contained on only one disc.
suite truly makes a wonderful research
"companion". Articles contain encyclopedia
information, of course, as well as extras like a "web
center" box with links to Encarta editors' hand-picked
online links. A search for a particular city will offer
regional news, current temperatures, dynamic atlas, and so
of the features of the Encarta Encyclopedia series that
makes it stand out from the rest is its vibrant, current,
and contemporary content. Free content updates are
available until October 2005 (a sign-up process is
involved), after which users must be a paying member of Club
Beautiful to look at, filled
with multimedia and helpful content, and easy to use, this
reference library will help make any family's research efforts easier. The search feature is
fabulous, with content from all titles in the suite seamlessly
integrated together. Streaming live media and easy content updates
(they're automatic) contribute to an exceptional product that
feels alive and fresh.
Encarta is easy. One search pulls up articles, maps,
multimedia content, and more. In fact, as you type in your
keyword, lists of results begin to appear and adjust as you
keep typing. This is very handy for times when you don't
know the complete spelling of a word. Alternate spellings
also pop up for extra help.
When students stumble upon a word
in an article that they don't understand, they need only
double-click on it and a dictionary entry pops up. Doing research
for a school project is especially easy with this suite. Children
can select any text and images from Encarta contents or the
Internet, click "Add to Researcher", and the information
is cataloged and stored. Researcher allows users to organize and
edit the information they've collected ("note cards" can
be clicked and dragged for easy organizing), and then export their
work to a Word document. Citations are automatic with this handy
tool. The suite's World Atlas is
superior to those found in other leading electronic reference
suites. The atlas is dynamic and original. Users can easily customize their view of the world with
map styles and customizer tools.
children (and adults!) equate encyclopedias with
"boring", simply because of the dry,
"encyclopedic" presentations. Not so with
Encarta. The presentation is slick and modern, and the
multimedia content is strong.
The program is available on CD-ROM as
well as DVD-ROM (the DVD-ROM edition includes extra videos).
we like most about the program:
Rich with multimedia
Updatable content (until
Oct. 31, 2005) is automatic when users are online
Plenty of extras and
New Encarta Kids offers
children under 12 excellent, age-appropriate content.
For more information, user
reviews, or to buy: Microsoft Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005 CD or
Microsoft Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005 DVD
World Book Encyclopedia 2005 Edition
Sometimes less is more. World Book
Encyclopedia 2005 Edition is a fantastic starter
electronic encyclopedia for kids just beginning to do research
for school projects. Although it features less content than
many electronic encyclopedias on the market, its articles are
right on target for elementary-age children. Not only is the
reading level appropriate, the program features articles that
students are looking for.
There are three CD-ROMs in this edition. New
to this 2004 edition are over 3000 additional articles, 43 new
maps, 105 new illustrations, 530 new photographs, and 45 new
tables. The basic features and interface remain the same. This
time around, users can fully install the first CD-ROM in the
The main encyclopedia, contained on two
CD-ROMs, opens with a splash screen. Children can choose to
browse the contents in a variety of creative ways using the
various browse options, such as Just Looking and Surf
the Ages, or select "Topics" and begin a search
for the information they need.
The "Monthly Spotlight" feature is
a great place to start browsing. If the current month is
February, for example, kids can read about the February
birthstone (amethyst) and choose to read more about this
gemstone through the link to another article. They can read
about Valentine's day, or explore that month's focus
Using the program's toolkit, students can
highlight information needed from the articles. Kids can also
place Sticky Notes in articles and media. Double-clicking on a
word in the article pulls up a dictionary entry for the word.
The built-in dictionary is great for students because it
provides plenty of example sentences and the pronunciations
are presented in a straightforward, understandable manner.
Surf the Ages is a unique feature
that presents simulated web sites as if the web had
existed since Ancient times. Very creative! The Back in
Time option presents 80 years of World Book articles,
useful for exploring events described without the current
perspective. Another way to browse is found in Just Looking
which can be totally random or a more customized browsing. The
Atlas is nicely integrated and features a distance calculator.
It isn't as snazzy as the one found in Encarta, however.
We wish the encyclopedia offered help when
children don't know the exact spelling of a word. In Encarta,
for example, alternate spellings appear automatically. But
when kids know exactly what they're looking for, the program
doesn't disappoint. The articles feature nice multimedia,
which keeps interest levels high, and often point users to
valuable and related information online.
This program is ideal for elementary-age
children. Older kids and adults will want (or need) more
information, and the best choice for them will be Encarta (see
our review above). However, World Book 2005 is
delightfully uncomplicated and uncluttered. It has an
imaginative presentation that gives it a friendly feel. In
fact, gathering information can actually be a fun experience
with this program.
We think that World Book 2004 Edition,
priced at only $19.99 US or less, is a great buy.
Information is relevant and to the
Exceptionally kid-friendly product: easy
reading level, clean interface, appealing features that
For more information, user
reviews, or to buy: WorldBook Encyclopedia 2005 (2 CD Set)
Encyclopedia Britannica 2005 DVD Ultimate Reference Suite
is notable for the quality of information it contains, but it
is considerably less kid-friendly than the encyclopedias
above. Its presentation is less dynamic and somewhat dry in
comparison. We recommend Encarta and World Book (see reviews
above) for families.