U.X.L Biographies 2.0

Article excerpt

U.X.L Biographies 2.0. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 1999. (ISBN 0-7876-2883-2). Price: $400 single building incl. dial-in access and up to eight users in other buildings.

Requirements: IBM PC or compatible, 386 or higher (486 or higher recommended); DOS 5.0 or higher; Windows 3.1 or higher; MSCDEX 2.2 or higher; 8 MB RAM; 5 MB hard drive space; SVGA graphics card and 256 color display monitor or higher; 2X CD ROM player; Windows compatible mouse or pointing device. Optional: printer. Web site: www.gale.com.

The key word in describing Gale's new CD-ROM, U.X.L Biographies 2.0 is variety. From Yaa Asantewa to "Alice in Chains" (it's a grunge band--deal with it!), this collection of twenty-five hundred people or musical bands contains a very wide range of nationalities, professions, and ethnic groups. Although the database is designed to feature people who are popular with middle and high school students, there is also much for adults to discover here.

The entries range from twelve hundred to three thousand words. Many of them begin with a brief quotation; then focus on the early years, formative experiences, and careers of the individuals; and end with citations for further reading. U.X.L Biographies 2.0 also includes three thousand graphic images--color photographs, portraits and maps--as well as hypertext links to other related entries within the database.

The CD-ROM was very easy to load and requires what seems today to be minimal system requirements (see above). An online help button includes such items as a definition of a scroll bar, and an explanation of what "trails" is (your history file).

The intuitive search function categories include Name, Subject, Personal Data, Full Text, and Picture Gallery. Click on most of these categories and a box will appear above an index that scrolls or moves to the closest match as the search term is typed in the box. …