DISCovering Authors (Version 2.0)

Article excerpt

Company: Gale Research, P.O. Box 33477, Detroit, MI 48232; Sales: 800/877-GALE (4253); Technical Support: 800/457-4253 or 313/961-6021;

Price: $600--DOS/Mac for each module of a single user six-module set, $400--each additional module; $800--DOS/Mac for each module of network version (2-8 users), $600--each additional module.

ISBN: 0-8103-5104-8

Audience: high school students

Format: CD-ROM: text, photos

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Overall Rating

Installation      A
Content/Features  A-
Ease of Use       B+
Product Support   A-

Maximum rating: 5 stars

System Requirements: IBM or compatible with a 386 processor or better recommended, DOS 5.0 or higher, CD-ROM extensions 2.2 or higher, 640 KB RAM, 5 MB on the hard drive, and a double-speed CD-ROM drive. Macintosh version requires System 7 or higher, 8 MB RAM. 6 MB hard disk space and CD-ROM drive. For networks, attached workstations must have 520 KB RAM (Mac computers 8 MB RAM) and 1 MB extended memory for displaying or printing photos.

Description: The DISCovering Authors Modules include biographical, bibliographical, and critical information on 1,260 of the authors most frequently studied in high school. The package contains six different units: Most-Studied Authors, Novelists, Multicultural Authors, Poets, Dramatists, and Popular Fiction and Genre Authors. Access to all six modules is offered for a 30-day trial period (without the ability to print or download information), after which time you select the units you would like to purchase. This is the second version of DISCovering Authors, and it is far more inclusive than the previous release.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: We used this on a network, and initial installation was easy; Gale Research has resolved the difficulties present in the first release of this program. The instructions are detailed and easy to follow. After the trial period, it only took one phone call to technical support and about three minutes to "unlock" the modules we had decided to purchase. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: DISCovering Authors Modules is a well-designed, extremely comprehensive source for biographical and bibliographical information about authors. Searching can be done by author, title, subject or character, and personal data. There is an Advanced Search section that allows Boolean searching.

The trial period was an important feature, as it gave me the opportunity to see which modules would be most wanted in our particular setting and with our particular curriculum. I was sure I would not need the multicultural segment, but on the first day of installation, a student asked for information on Ricardo Sanchez. There were four pages of biography plus the criticism needed for the student to complete his project.

The entry for each author yields a comprehensive biography, an extensive collection of criticisms, information on personal background, a list of media adaptations, and a bibliography for further study. The quantity and quality of the literary criticisms are impressive. Many of the authors of these articles are themselves included in the database. There is a timeline of literary and world events, and although it is not nearly as inclusive as the various timeline books in my collection, it does give a clear picture of the author's historical era.

Printing is accomplished by a simple touch of a key. In two user-friendly and economical features, not only can students print selected portions of the text, but the display for each article includes the number of pages. …