Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia

Article excerpt

Compton's NewMedia, 800/862-2206, 619/929-2500, fax 619/929-2555, Windows, Macintosh, $79 ($45 rebate for current users)

The first of the multimedia encyclopedias, Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia has remained solidly popular as others have followed. Part of that is the name built up over the years with the 26-volume printed Compton's Encyclopedia; part is aggressive marketing by Compton's NewMedia, and also a large part is in maintaining a very good product and substantially improving it with each each new annual edition. For some there might be difficulty with the text, for others that could be the work's main benefit. It started as a children's encyclopedia aimed at the home and school; in fact the company's early ads and press information emphasized this for years. Then the word "children" became less conspicuous until now one has to search for it. Still, the writing has a "gee-whiz" quality that is cloying but at the same time clear and easy to read for both youngsters and adults.

Compton's has more than 16 hours of multimedia, an incredible leap over Encarta and Grolier. It also has 35,000 articles, again more than its main competitors. But remember that "more" in encyclopedias is the same as "more" in diamonds. …

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