Europress – Encyclopedia 1999 review

the name says it all
Photo of Europress – Encyclopedia 1999
£40 (CD) or £50 (DVD)

An Encyclopaedia. There was a time when such things were given away with every PC sold – many still are – but not all such works of reference are created equal. Competing against the likes of Encarta and Britannica is this new product from Europress. Against such established opposition, any new title has to have an impressive content, combining text, graphics, videos, sound and Internet links.

So it’s worth listing what’s actually contained in this box. And I quote… “The entire contents of The Cambridge Encyclopedia plus 34 other top reference works covering natural history, archaeology, medicine, astronomy and world history”. In short, there are ten million words of text, 12,000 pictures, 50 video presentations and 1,000 sound effects. In addition to dictionary definitions, there are also articles and biographies. Go for the DVD version (as opposed to the two CDs) and you’ll also get a further two hours of MPEG video documentaries.

Those are the specifications, but more important is the way the information is presented. Using a browser-like interface with search, back, next and other buttons, the Europress Encyclopedia 1999 makes it easy to access information from one or several different sources. You can even use the timelines feature to restrict a search to a particular era in history, and there’s a feature that’s specifically geared to students, allowing them to put together multimedia projects based on the information contained within this work of reference. With little touches like tables of ‘record-breaking’ facts and figures, multiple printing configurations, a self-running documentary mode and regular updates via the Internet, this is a comprehensive and very accessible package.

Company: Europress

Contact: 01625 855000


Verdict
Some encyclopaedia titles are triumphs of style over content, while others go too far the other way, presenting information in a drab, tedious way. Europress seems to have got things just about right with this package. The bulk of the information is stored as easily-searchable text, but there are pictures, videos and sound bites there for the multimedia addicts. It's geared in part towards the education establishment, and it hits the mark pretty accurately.