History on the Net: Nick Henshall Welcomes Encyclopaedia Articles without Books or CD-ROMS

Article excerpt

CD-ROMS were the flavour of 1995. Books, we were told, could not compete: redundancy was round the corner. Two years on it's come true, but teetering on the edge of ruin are many CD-ROM manufacturers, not the world's libraries. The same fate is predicted in some quarters for the Internet, most of which consists of digital diarrhoea.

But the latter has now scored a hit. The big encyclopaedias used to be available electronically only as CD-ROMS, but access providers like Compuserve recently negotiated deals with their publishers. Formidable research tools like Hutchinson and Grolier are now available at the touch of a button as part of your subscription package.

The easiest way to get them is, strictly speaking, not from the Net at all but directly from the access provider's own educational services. If, for example, you are a Compuserve subscriber, click on the traffic light on their home page and type in `Hutchinson' at the `Go' sign. You will then see the Hutchinson research tool. Type `Stalin' and you arrive at the introductory screen below, with more detailed information and opinion just a further click away. …