Scribner's Writers Series on CD-ROM Comprehensive Edition (Release 2.0)
Reed, Lawrence L., Reference & User Services Quarterly
Scribner's Writers Series on CD-ROM Comprehensive Edition (Release 2.0). New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan, 1997. $999 (Comprehensive Authors Edition--ISBN 0-684-80552-9); $700 (Selected Authors Edition--ISBN 0-684-80502-2).
Requirements. IBM PC 486 or higher, Windows 3.1 or higher, 17MB RAM or higher, 20MB hard disk space, SVGA monitor, CD-ROM, and optional printer.
Scribner's CD-ROM contains 550 unabridged essays drawn from the thirteen Scribner's writers sets, some of which will be found in all but the smallest libraries. The Writer's Series, long the gold standard for literary criticism, has been put on a CD-ROM. This format makes it possible to use the Netscape 4.0 Web browser to simultaneously search African American Writers (Scribner, 1991), African Writers (Scribner, 1997), American Nature Writers (Scribner, 1996), American Writers (Scribner, 1996), Ancient Writers (Scribner, 1982), Books of the Bible (Scribner, 1989), British Writers (Scribner, 1984), European Writers (Scribner, 1983), Latin American Writers (Scribner, 1989), Modern American Women Writers (Scribner, 1991), Science Fiction Writers (Scribner, 1982), Supernatural Fiction Writers (Scribner, 1985), and Writers for Children (Scribner, 1987) as well as A Handbook to Literature (Prentice-Hall, 7th ed., 1995).
Netscape and the PL Web CD interface (both included) make searching and retrieval both easy and familiar. The software supports full Boolean searching with all of the usual searching protocols and conventions, e.g., And, Or, Not, wildcards, character strings. The user can search by name, genre, sex, keyword, language, time period, and ethnicity/nationality by filling in a work form under "In Depth Search." Anyone with the knowledge to start the program should be doing productive searches in a matter of minutes. Printing the whole essay or an excerpt, or a series of excerpts, (to disk or paper) also is simple, though not intuitive. The brief booklet is clear and concise; installation (25MB) on a Pentium PC took less than fifteen minutes. While not as responsive as a good Web connection, searches were fast on the test machines, which had at least 16MB of RAM. …