Company: Gale Research, P.O. Box 33477, Detroit, MI 48232-9852; Sales: 800/877-GALE (4253); Technical Support: 800/457-4253 or 313/961-6021.
Price: $325--DOS or Macintosh; networking versions also available.
Audience: Producer recommends middle school through grade 10; reviewer recommends grades 4-8.
Format: CD-ROM: text, color illustrations
REPORT CARD Overall Rating Installation A Content/Features C+ Ease of Use A Product Support A Maximum rating: 5 stars
System Requirements: Standalone DOS version requires IBM-compatible 80286 processor or better, MS-DOS 3.3 or higher, MS-DOS CD-ROM extensions (MSCDEX) version 2.1 or higher, 540 K RAM, 3 MB free space on hard disk, VGA graphics card and monitor, double-speed CD-ROM drive. Also available for the Macintosh. Multiuser version runs under Novell, 3Comm, IBM Token Ring, or other NetBIOS compatible networks.
Description: UXL Biographies contains biographical information on 1,500 historical and contemporary figures from around the world. Each entry ranges from 1,000 to 3,000 words in length and covers the individual's early years, formative experiences, and careers. Some entries include fact boxes. Many entries include photographs or portraits. All entries include a reading list for further study. The program allows field and Boolean searching.
Installation: I installed the DOS version of the program on a Compaq Prolinea 486SX/33MHZ with 4 MB RAM, a color monitor, and printer. The program's installation procedure is included on the CD-ROM and begins with a simple "install" command. Some setup options include printer setting, saving to disk, password protection, timeout, and color choices. The manual gives clear, simple steps. Installation Rating: A
Content/Features: The strength of UXL Biographies is its coverage of contemporary ethnic minorities from around the world, although it does have the requisite group of historical figures in its 1,500-person database. African-Americans, Asian, and Canadian nationalities are, for example, represented in the database. Many entries read like articles from People magazine--not a surprise, as People turns out to be a frequently cited source. As an example of the text, the entry for Maya Angelou is 14 screens long, which translates to almost four printed pages. The article was not signed, and there was a bibliography of suggested readings by and about her.
Some entries have a hot button for related information. …