1999 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia
Deluxe Edition

It has more articles than the printed edition!

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Type of Product
Grolier Interactive's 1999 Deluxe Edition Encyclopedia is a comprehensive multimedia encyclopedia. The company has a 100+ year history in encyclopedia publishing. The encyclopedia has won a variety of awards and is widely used in both schools and libraries. It comes on two CDs packed with hundreds of graphics, sound and video features, Internet links, organized presentations, and fact-filled articles, 20% more than the printed edition. Your knowledge is never out of date with this package. Grolier Internet Index offers 22,000 links to World Wide Web sites and the Article Updates provide about 500 revisions each month. You also have access to two other encyclopedias online. Thus Grolier's provides a fast and easy way to tap the full potential of online research. Price: $59.99. You can check out Grolier's website for other CD titles such as 1999 Grolier Multimedia Reference Suite CD-ROM Edition, ELLE Beauty Guide and Picasso: the Man, his Works, the Legend. Grolier Interactive: http://www.grolier.com
User Level

The Grolier Encyclopedia has been designed specifically to be used by different family members who have individual informational needs. It incorporates material from three encyclopedias in one software package. It is useful for all levels of encyclopedia users: beginning, intermediate, and advanced. Because it is very intuitive; has a straightforward interface; and includes a variety of search and browse functions, both simple and advanced, it is suitable for all levels of PC users, also.

  1. The New Book of Knowledge (online)--For elementary-age children and their parents, this encyclopedia includes selected, easy-to-understand articles and basic background information.
  2. Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia (on disc)--For junior high and high school level students, this encyclopedia is excellent for completing homework and term papers.
  3. Encyclopedia Americana (online)--for high school, college and adult users, this encyclopedia provides thousands of authoritative, in-depth articles geared to more sophisticated users.
  • 58,000 disc-based and online articles;
  • 15,000 images; 400 point of interest photographs; 163 videos; and 15 hours of sound;
  • Media List Player (new);
  • Interface sounds (new);
  • Embedded article graphics/special characters (new);
  • 1,200 maps of the world, countries, oceans, states, cities and more;
  • Up to 500 article updates via the Internet each month (new);
  • Ocean Floor Maps (new);
  • More than 22,000 Internet links;
  • One hundred 360 degree Panoramas with interactive views of world locations (new);
  • The New York Times Science Questions and Answers (new);
  • Newly designed, easy-to-use interface with simple and complex search options;
  • Find a Word in an Article feature (new);
  • Information designed for different learning levels;
  • Double-click access to 250,000 word American Heritage College Dictionary (new);
  • Online access to two other Grolier encyclopedias, the Encyclopedia Americana and The New Book of Knowledge.

The program is easy to install and takes very little space on your hard drive. You have the choice of installing QuickTime for Windows 3.0, for movies, if you do not already have it. There is a short Overview section of features and a very extensive Help section for users who desire more in-depth material.

Interface. The encyclopedia screen is divided into three parts from which all the main features and functions are accessible: the List Panel, the features Panel, and the Content Region.

    1. Features Bar--The Features Bar provides easy access to all the features of the encyclopedia.
    2. List Panel--The List Panel lets you Browse, Search, or use Markers.
    3. Content Region--Articles and media are displayed in the Content Region. Tools and tabs relating to the displayed item also appear here.

Features Bar. The Features Bar includes six tabs for: Articles, Gallery, Atlas, Timelines, Guided Tours, and Interactivities.To give you an overview of how the program works, I will discuss the six tabs and what features are found under each tab.

      1. Articles. The encyclopedia contains more than 36,000 articles. The Content Region, which encompasses the right portion of the screen, displays each article with a series of tabs across the top that can be clicked to change the display in index-card fashion, from text, to related media, to outline and pictures. Also, graphical presentations of items such as diagrams, charts, and formulas, and special characters including symbols and accent marks have been placed directly in articles for a more enriching experience. This helps to explain concepts visually for younger users. Browsing the articles is easy. An alphabetical list appears in the List Panel. You can browse the full range of articles, or restrict browsing by clicking the Categories button and selecting from the subject Categories and Sub-Categories. The next time you browse articles, you can use the same Categories (default), or define new categories by clicking the Categories button. All encyclopedia articles are classified into ten Topics, and further into Sub-Topics.

      2. Gallery. The Gallery presents all the media items in the encyclopedia. An alphabetical list appears in the List Panel. An icon indicating media type will appear next to each item. You can use the scrollbar to move through the list, or type a word in the fast-type box. As you type, the list will change to reflect your place in it.You can also display media items in sequence, by clicking the Auto Run button. You may browse the entire list, or restrict browsing to certain media types or subjects by clicking the Categories button and selecting from the Media Types and Topics presented. All media items in the encyclopedia are classified into eleven Media Types, and into Ten Topics. Below are the icons and the material they pertain to.

There are more than 10,000 captioned pictures in the encyclopedia, including photographs and illustrations. Click the Related Articles tab (at the top of the Content Region) to view a list of articles pertaining to a picture. You select an article from the list to open it.

Fact Boxes combine pictures, text, and sound to present important facts and statistics covering U.S. presidents, states, countries, continents, and Canadian provinces. Most country Fact Boxes have a button to click to hear the country's national anthem.

Sounds include famous speeches, animal and bird sounds, national anthems, and other musical selections. Each sound has a caption and a related picture.

360 degree Panoramas are navigable photographs which create the sensation of being at the center of a location and looking all the way around. You click and drag on a 360 degree Panorama, moving the cursor left and right to navigate. As the cursor moves, the image will move. You may also zoom in and out of the image. The image of Stonehenge is one that can be navigated. Other panorama images include the Great Wall of China, the Roman Colosseum, and the Grand Canyon. Each image has links to articles and descriptive captions.

Based on the New York Times Book of Science Questions and Answers, this feature teaches you about science by answering hundreds of questions, many of them drawn from everyday life. From the Gallery's Media Types & Categories dialog box, select Science Q&A as Media Type, click to select one of the 15 "chapters," and then click a topic from the List Panel to see a question and its answer. (You must register the encyclopedia to be able to use this feature.)

Videos cover a variety of subjects and historical events. Each has links to related articles, and plays against a backdrop of related information.

The combination of geography and history, in moving-image cartographic presentations with voice-overs, are called Multimedia Maps. The Multiplex Videos feature shows you movies on related subjects on a single screen, with detailed background information and hyperlinks to relevant encyclopedia articles. New presentations for this year are 20th Century World Leaders, Sports Legends, Canadian Provinces and People, Natural Phenomena, and Engineering Feats. Both of these media types are used to show developments in history, and both use standard QuickTime controls. These two features make learning easy and fun.

Animations explain complex mechanical and natural processes. In some cases, you must click a button or "hot spot" to move to a different part of an animation, or click the Play button to begin. Animations have captions with background information and links to related articles.

3. Atlas. The encyclopedia's Atlas includes 1,200 maps, including the world, countries, states, and cities, and topics such as lands and resources, history, and weather. New ocean floor maps of the North Atlantic, Arctic, Indian and other major ocean floors show geographic formations such as trenches, basins and ridges. Each map links to related maps and articles, and some maps have links to photographs of "Points of Interest" on the map. As you move the cursor over a map, it will change to indicate these links. The Atlas is navigable. For example, if you click on the state of Illinois from the United States geopolitical map, you will be brought to the map of Illinois. From that map, you can click on the city of Chicago to see a map of the Chicago area. This is called the drill-down feature which allows viewers to quickly and easily narrow their focus to smaller and smaller geographic areas. For example, users interested in any of 169 city maps can click from the country, to the state, to the outlying metropolitan area, to the city center, to point of interest photographs in a matter of seconds. You can also look at different types of maps for a single geographic location, or you can look at all the locations for one type of map.

4. Timelines. Timelines presents an interactive review of important events in world history. There are Timelines for each of the ten periods in world history stretching from 10,000 B.C. to the present. Each period has a graphic time-line, a text essay, and a video essay. Timelines also include the Event List--a scrollable chronology of more than 5,000 historical events, each linked to relevant articles.

The Yearbook consists of the Year in Review timeline; the Picture Album, which shows a captioned picture covering a major news event for each month; a text essay; and an overview video essay.

5. Guided Tours. Guided Tours are networks of text and media that provide a unique way to explore a variety of topics. There are 50 topics, ranging from "The American Novel" to "Monsters and Giants." Each tour has an introduction and a list of dozens of related articles and media items. Tours are grouped in ten categories.

6. Interactivities. This feature makes researching complex topics fun and easy. Interactivities is a series of explorable networks that combine images, video, animations, and text to create in-depth views of several subjects. You can select an Interactivity from the main interactivity screen, then click any "hot spot" on the Interactivity to begin. You can navigate from section to section, or view related facts, media, and articles via the buttons on the right side of each Interactivity.

Search Features.The Grolier Encyclopedia has strong search features.You may conduct Simple and Complex searches on articles and media items by using Search, a main mode of the encyclopedia. It doesn't take hours to research a topic, nor do you have to search through layers and layers of screens and it is easy for children to work on research projects independently or with minimal adult supervision. The search tool permits topic or category searches, simple, single-word or phrase searches, and complex searches that allow the user to narrow the search parameters using Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to find specific information.Wild Cards are helpful for locating words with a common root, or when you're not certain how to spell a word. There are two types: "*" and "?".

Tools. The encyclopedia offers a variety of Tools to help you find and use information. These include the Dictionary and Online Knowledge Explorer, the Toolbar, Markers, Knowledge Tree, and Online connections, plus easy access to your word processor.

  1. Toolbar. You have the basic buttons for printing, copying, and saving. Back and History buttons enable you to retrace your steps in the encyclopedia. Back is used to return to the last item you opened. The History button shows a list of items you have opened. You also have a Mark button to add the open item to a Marker List.

  2. OnLine Knowledge Explorer (OKE) provides access to a wealth of added reference material online. It includes links to related articles in the Encyclopedia Americana and The New Book of Knowledge, relevant Internet sites, and updated and new encyclopedia articles.

  3. Knowledge Tree--This feature is excellent for more complex searches. Knowledge Tree is a classification system which enables you to explore the encyclopedia by navigating different "branches" of knowledge. It includes all articles and media items, and is accessible from all articles and most media items. As you select a topic, its subtopics will open. The left side of the screen will reflect your new location in the Knowledge Tree.

  4. Dictionary. You can look up any word in the encyclopedia with the Dictionary feature. The comprehensive, easy-to-use American Heritage College Dictionary, Third Edition, is integrated with the encyclopedia. Double-click any word in an encyclopedia article. The dictionary will open with the word on the left, and its definition on the right. You may also use the dictionary independently. Click Dictionary from the Toolbar in the Content Region, type in the word that you wish to look up, and click Look Up.

  5. Markers--This feature allows you to "collect" encyclopedia items of all types for future reference. You can browse a current Marker List; add or delete a Marker List; or use the Auto Run feature to play the items in the Marker List in sequence. Once you have a Marker List, you can add any open item to the collection. This tool is easy to use and lets you organize any material you want to save.

  6. Word Processor--You may open you word processing program from the Tools menu to quickly place notes and quotes in papers, documents, etc., via standard copy and paste commands. You must first set up this capability by selecting Word Processor from Preferences on the Edit menu.

  7. Online Connections. Online Connections makes it easy to access updated and supplemental information from the GME. There are links to the Grolier Internet Index (a collection of thousands of editorially-selected web links) and Grolier Article Updates. To use the encyclopedia's Online Connections, you must first select a web browser. This is done under Preferences on the Edit menu.
Personal Comments
The 1999 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia Deluxe Edition, is an excellent buy for any family. I looked for comprehensiveness, ease of use, and how appropriate it was for young users as well as older family members. It's intuitiveness and ease of use make it appropriate for younger users. The additional online encyclopedias are an advantage for older users who want more material. It is comparable to other encyclopedias in comprehensiveness of material. There is one encyclopedia that is more comprehensive but it is on 10 CDs. I liked the choice of going online rather than having more CDs. And it was very easy to go online. This is what you want for younger children to be able to work independently. Also video clips and other storage-intensive media elements are housed on the second CD, which helps to minimize disk swapping, and makes it easier and less frustrating to use for younger children. Another feature I liked was that you don't have to try to remember where you quit your research. The "Start Where You Left Off" feature allows you to resume to the spot you left the day or session before. Also, you can change the font size to make the print bigger on the screen so it is easier for smaller children to read.
System Requirements
Processor: 486DX/33; 486DX100 for Windows 98, 95 and NT
Operating system: Windows 3.1/95/98/NT 4.0
Memory: 8MB RAM; 16MB for Windows 98, 95/NT
Hard Disk Space: 10MB
Hardware: SVGA, 256-color monitor, 2X CD-ROM drive; Sound card.
Other Goodies
  • The package includes an book called Activities and Study Guide. It has four categories: Science and Technology; Geography, History and Current Events; and Arts, Sports and Hobbies. The activities can be done alone, or with a group of people. It helps you research a subject and tests you.
  • It also includes a 45-day free trial version of the software program Cyper Patrol. It is a security service that allows you to block your child's access to inappropriate websites.

Graphics: DeMorgan WebSpice 1,000,000 Page Design Edition
Web Page Editor: Symantec Visual Page