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Encyclopedias have always fascinated me because of the huge amount of data that they gather in what we call knowledge. It is supposed to provide information about virtually everything. Of course, it does not include answers on subjects that no one knows for sure what the answer is, but instead, it provides facts and information. This is what you basically expect from an encyclopedia and thus, what is expected from a multimedia encyclopedia as well.
"The 1995 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia" achieves this goal perfectly and even surpasses it. It features more than 8,000 pictures including 4,000 new ones, 33,000 articles, hours upon hours of sounds, animations and videos with a total of 6 hours of multimedia.
Included are also the new features introduced by "Grolier Electronic Publishing" which are called Knowledge Explorer(tm), the Pathmakers, the Timeline and the Fact Boxes.
In Knowledge Explorer(tm), ten new essays have been added in 1995 about four main topics: Arts, History, Science and Nature. For example, you can listen and watch explanations in the Arts section about architecture, music, paintings and sculpture, while in the History area, you will have a wide selection of periods from the Origins to the present time. It is a very pleasant feature that summarizes the information about the topic.
With the Pathmakers, renowned experts give you their personal views through video interviews and commentaries about six mains subjects: Innovators and Inventors, Great Thinkers and the Frontiers of Knowledge, The Novel and the American Experience, The Artist in the Modern Era, Explorers and the Horizons of Discovery, and Great Sports Achievements of History. Among these six experts, you will find Buzz Aldrin, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
The Timeline is a graphical interface that links pictures, multimedia and text to thousands of articles. If you pick a specific period, let us say the Dark Ages from 500 A.D. to about 1400 A.D., you will have the possibility to see the era's overview for many parts of the world. For example, at the beginning of this period, Buddhism was introduced in Asia while in Europe Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 800 A.D. On each time line there are small pictures that you can click to immediately access the articles related to that subject. The Timeline is a very useful tool that instantly gives an idea about what happened in the world at that particular time.
In some articles, the Grolier Encyclopedia shows a special icon called the Fact Box. When you click on it, you will access a list of facts about the article you are reading. For example, if you were reading an article about Abraham Lincoln, the Fact Box would give you facts about his life like where and when he was born, how many children he had, who was his wife, who was inside his cabinet, etc...
The multimedia maps included in the encyclopedia are really the icing on the cake, and it is one of my favorite features. It mixes history and geography with graphical animations and commentaries. It is just brilliant and I love it. The only thing I could suggest in the next edition would be to add more of them!
For geographic fans, the program brings 325 new detailed maps with cities, rivers, mountains, regions, etc. Each map comes with links to information and geographical locations around the world, and for example, if you click on some major city, you will see the city map. Specific areas on the maps like mountains, rivers, deserts, seas and oceans provide information when you click on them.
Finally, animations about topics such as the Human Body, Technology, Natural processes and simple machines are featured and they carefully explain in a simple way how things work. You will see animations about dynamic clouds, TV broadcasting and much more!
To resume how I liked the "1995 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia", I will let you know that I spent many hours playing around and discovering pictures, sounds, animations and videos about our world and history. This encyclopedia is not just a collection of graphic and sound files, but also a reference tool where you will be able to find an article about nearly anything or at least, a reference about it.
Of course, I searched for a few uncommon subjects to establish just how good this encyclopedia is. So, just for your information, I looked up the following subjects:
Grolier Electronic Publishing Inc., GRAPHICS ------------------ 95% Sherman Turnpike, SOUND ------------------ 90% Danbury, CT 06816. MUSIC ------------------ 90% Tel: 203-797-3530 GAMEPLAY ------------------ --% INTEREST ------------------ 95% OVERALL ------------------ 93%