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1. Microsoft Encarta Reference Library
$69.99 list($74.95)
2. Microsoft Encarta Reference Library
$29.99 $22.80 list($34.95)
3. Microsoft Encarta Deluxe 2005
list($34.99)
4. Encarta Deluxe Encyclopedia 2004
$9.99 list($69.95)
5. Encarta Reference Library 2004
$29.99 $23.75
6. Microsoft Encarta Deluxe 2005
$19.99 $18.29
7. Microsoft Encarta Standard 2005
$36.99 list($69.99)
8. Encarta Reference Library 2004
$28.99 list($34.99)
9. Microsoft Encarta Africana Third
list($99.99)
10. Microsoft Encarta Reference Library
$0.98 list($24.99)
11. Encarta Standard 2004

1. Microsoft Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005 DVD
list price: $74.95
our price: $69.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00027TJCG
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Microsoft
Sales Rank: 87
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Complete learning resource for home or school use
  • Multimedia encyclopedia and feature-rich reference tools
  • Explore science, history, cultures, geography, art, and more
  • Encarta dictionary, thesaurus, and translation dictionaries
  • Designed for students as young as 7 years old

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Encarta versus Britannica
I have bought both Encarta and Britannica for years (EB in printed edition too: 32 volumes, 32.000 pages). This is my opinion in brief: Encarta is excellent in all aspects, but Britannica's authoritative text (sometimes outdated) makes interesting to buy both.
TEXT: Britannica is a superb encyclopedia of text (not in visual aid) since 1768 (you know: an article by Einstein and so on...). Contents in electronic version differs from printed encyclopedia (very large articles have been shortened). Britannica claims that it has more entries that Encarta, but this is a joke: articles like "Mexico" are only one (with a lot of subdivisions) in Encarta, while in Britannica subdivisions are unconnected, and you must "jump" from one subdivision to another, which is slow and very annoying, especially if you want to copy it in "WORD". Very often, the text is not updated.
In the other hand, Encarta's text is not bad at all. Most articles have the name of their contributors and their professions, works...: They are not "John Doe". You can find large fragments of literary works, literature guides, a lot of sidebars and thousands of quotations. "Encarta Africana" is included. The Pop-Up (double clicking a word) Dictionary and Thesaurus has sound for correct pronunciation (by the way, it can read aloud, with a robotic and ugly voice, a whole article). The "Translation Dictionaries" to Spanish, French, German and Italian must be improved, because they are minimal. It gives you a lot of "Internet links", even if you are not connected. With Britannica you must be "on-line" and it searches in an EB Web page.
In theory you can update Britannica over the Internet free for a year quarterly (4 times), but this does not work. Encarta can be updated free EVERY WEEK with new articles and additions or corrections to the old ones (until October 2005). With Encarta updating really works. Technologically is amazing to see the changes in old items.
ATLAS Britannica has not a real atlas; only a worlds map whose maximum detail are the States of USA. Statistics are very poor. Encarta's Atlas is like another encyclopedia, with a great detail (1 inch = 10 miles all over the world) and 20 varieties of atlas presentations (statistical ones can be counted by dozens). If you look at a geographical article (city, river...) you can see in a corner where it is placed and, with only a click, open the Atlas. In articles of cities, if you are on-line, you can see in another corner the weather of this place in that moment. If it is a USA place, you can read the latest news.
MULTIMEDIA: They say that "serious" or "adult" readers do not care about "pictures"; that multimedia is only for kids. I do not agree, because I think that, sometimes, "A picture is worth a thousand words". Works of art, anatomy, historical maps, diagrams... Encarta devastates Britannica with a lot of photos, paintings, drawings, charts & tables, animations, interactivities, videos, music and sounds, pictures, 2-D and 3-D virtual tours, 360-degrees views, timeline, games... It is not only the quantity and quality. It is the easy access you have to all the multimedia, and that text and multimedia are fully integrated. Britannica is not really multimedia. It has photos and videos, but they make the program slow and sluggish. They should edit an alternative version with only text, as they did with the first edition in 1995. It performed fast and easy in old computers.
INTERFACE AND PERFORMANCE: This is the worst side of Britannica. With Encarta you only have to type a word or the beginning of a word to see all the articles and multimedia that contain it. If Encarta does not find anything, it gives you automatically alternative spellings. Even if you write the name of a small village lost in any country, you see it in the atlas. If you need to copy text or pictures, the integration with Microsoft WORD is perfect. It has additional ways to find content, including subject or multimedia browsing, "related articles" and the standard A-Z method. The "Research Organizer" is very helpful too. Encarta's TEXT FONT is very clear (Britannica's...) and you can choose 3 sizes.
Navigating with Britannica is disappointing. I will only give you an example: if you do not know the exact and correct spelling of a name or word, it does not help you with similar spellings (unless you open a window and "battle" with it). As I said before, the program's performance speed is very slow and sluggish, and it must be dramatically improved. To go "back and forward" you do not find any icon and you need to open a "menu".... One "pro" for Britannica: they say it works with Macintosh.
INTERNATIONAL EDITIONS: Encarta has a lot in different languages. The four I utilize (United Kingdom, Spanish, French and Italian ones) are adaptations of USA version, which is necessary talking about History, Geography, Literature and other topics. The MISERABLE thing is that articles that equally concern any human being (Health, Mathematics and the rest of Sciences) are a VERY RESUMED translation of USA edition that is, of course, the best of all. Why Microsoft follows such a policy? I think this is MISERABLE in all the meanings of the word.
I repeat my modest piece of advice: Encarta is excellent in all aspects, but Britannica's authoritative text (sometimes outdated) make interesting to buy both. ... Read more


2. Microsoft Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005 CD
list price: $74.95
our price: $69.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00027TDQS
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Microsoft
Sales Rank: 216
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Complete learning resource for home or school use
  • Multimedia encyclopedia and feature-rich reference tools
  • Explore science, history, cultures, geography, art, and more
  • Encarta dictionary, thesaurus, and translation dictionaries
  • Designed for students as young as 7 years old

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Encarta versus Britannica
I have bought both Encarta and Britannica for years (EB in printed edition too: 32 volumes, 32.000 pages). This is my opinion in brief: Encarta is excellent in all aspects, but Britannica's authoritative text (sometimes outdated) makes interesting to buy both.
TEXT: Britannica is a superb encyclopedia of text (not in visual aid) since 1768 (you know: an article by Einstein and so on...). Contents in electronic version differs from printed encyclopedia (very large articles have been shortened). Britannica claims that it has more entries that Encarta, but this is a joke: articles like "Mexico" are only one (with a lot of subdivisions) in Encarta, while in Britannica subdivisions are unconnected, and you must "jump" from one subdivision to another, which is slow and very annoying, especially if you want to copy it in "WORD". Very often, the text is not updated.
On the other hand, Encarta's text is not bad at all. Most articles have the name of their contributors and their professions, works...: They are not "John Doe". You can find large fragments of literary works, literature guides, a lot of sidebars and thousands of quotations. "Encarta Africana" is included. The Pop-Up (double clicking a word) Dictionary and Thesaurus has sound for correct pronunciation (by the way, it can read aloud, with a robotic and ugly voice, a whole article). The "Translation Dictionaries" to Spanish, French, German and Italian must be improved, because they are minimal. It gives you a lot of "Internet links", even if you are not connected. With Britannica you must be "on-line" and it searches in an EB Web page.
In theory you can update Britannica over the Internet free for a year quarterly (4 times), but this does not work. Encarta can be updated free EVERY WEEK with new articles and additions or corrections to the old ones (until October 2005). With Encarta updating really works. Technologically is amazing to see the changes in old items.
ATLAS Britannica has not a real atlas; only a worlds map whose maximum detail are the States of USA. Statistics are very poor. Encarta's Atlas is like another encyclopedia, with a great detail (1 inch = 10 miles all over the world) and 20 varieties of atlas presentations (statistical ones can be counted by dozens). If you look at a geographical article (city, river...) you can see in a corner where it is placed and, with only a click, open the Atlas. In articles of cities, if you are on-line, you can see in another corner the weather of this place in that moment. If it is a USA place, you can read the latest news.
MULTIMEDIA: They say that "serious" or "adult" readers do not care about "pictures"; that multimedia is only for kids. I do not agree, because I think that, sometimes, "A picture is worth a thousand words". Works of art, anatomy, historical maps, diagrams... Encarta devastates Britannica with a lot of photos, paintings, drawings, charts & tables, animations, interactivities, videos, music and sounds, pictures, 2-D and 3-D virtual tours, 360-degrees views, timeline, games... It is not only the quantity and quality. It is the easy access you have to all the multimedia, and that text and multimedia are fully integrated. Britannica is not really multimedia. It has photos and videos, but they make the program slow and sluggish. They should edit an alternative version with only text, as they did with the first edition in 1995. It performed fast and easy in old computers.
INTERFACE AND PERFORMANCE: This is the worst side of Britannica. With Encarta you only have to type a word or the beginning of a word to see all the articles and multimedia that contain it. If Encarta does not find anything, it gives you automatically alternative spellings. Even if you write the name of a small village lost in any country, you see it in the atlas. If you need to copy text or pictures, the integration with Microsoft WORD is perfect. It has additional ways to find content, including subject or multimedia browsing, "related articles" and the standard A-Z method. The "Research Organizer" is very helpful too. Encarta's TEXT FONT is very clear (Britannica's...) and you can choose 3 sizes.
Navigating with Britannica is disappointing. I will only give you an example: if you do not know the exact and correct spelling of a name or word, it does not help you with similar spellings (unless you open a window and "battle" with it). As I said before, the program's performance speed is very slow and sluggish, and it must be dramatically improved. To go "back and forward" you do not find any icon and you need to open a "menu".... One "pro" for Britannica: they say it works with Macintosh.
INTERNATIONAL EDITIONS: Encarta has a lot in different languages. The four I utilize (United Kingdom, Spanish, French and Italian ones) are adaptations of USA version, which is inexorable talking about History, Geography, Literature and other topics. The MISERABLE thing is that articles that equally concern any human being (Health, Mathematics and the rest of Sciences) are a VERY RESUMED translation of USA edition that is, of course, the best of all. Why Microsoft follows such a policy?
I repeat my modest piece of advice: Encarta is excellent in all aspects, but Britannica's authoritative text (sometimes outdated) make interesting to buy both. ... Read more


3. Microsoft Encarta Deluxe 2005
list price: $34.95
our price: $29.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00027T480
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Microsoft
Sales Rank: 296
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Easy-to-use, up-to-date info for work, home, or school
  • Research topics and get accurate comprehensive information
  • Explore science, history, cultures, current events, and more
  • New and updated articles; interactive multimedia
  • Access a world of information quickly and easily

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but better Encarta Reference Library
ENCARTA DELUXE is good, but it is better to buy Encarta Reference Library, because it has more text, more multimedia and more features (Atlas and so on). I have reviewed it if you want extra information. The PC system requirements are about the same. ... Read more


4. Encarta Deluxe Encyclopedia 2004
list price: $34.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000096L6V
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Microsoft
Sales Rank: 2938
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but better Encarta Reference Library
It is better to buy Encarta Reference Library, because it has more text and features (Atlas and so on). I have reviewed it if you want extra information. The system requirements are about the same.

3-0 out of 5 stars Reference resource
Encarta allows students to retrieve current information on thousands of topics. The reference tools are great for research papers and slide show presentations. Students can cross-reference the Internet with little effort. As well as, export information into Word and Power Point.
The software delivers reliable content through multimedia, articles, web links, images and maps. And still yet, information is given on sidebars and timelines throughout. Encarta allows students to access up to date reference materials with ease. Microsoft updates the software automatically to keep information accurate.
I feel that Encarta is one resource every secondary level classroom should have and utilize.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pay attention to what you purchase
There is no doubt that the [$] price is a good incentive to give Encarta Deluxe 2004 a try. Before you do spend a bit of time examining all the available encyclopedias and most important put time into figuring who will be the primary user. If research and detail is required consider spending a few dollars more and getting the Encarta 2004 Reference Library or consider Encyclopedia Britanica; possibly even World Book.

I mention this because Encarta does a reasonable job as an encyclopedia but as others have discussed, is brief to the point of being unsatisfying. Where Encarta makes up for the lack of detailed text is in it's multimedia content and interface.

Microsoft has done a fine job of making a Encyclopedia for the casual user and has outdone itself in areas like interactive tours. The good side of brevity is the way Encarta holds one's interest without being terribly challenging. For middle school students Encarta Deluxe 2004 is a good choice as it makes learning fun. It's negative side is important as well. Compared to Encyclopedia Britanica the articles are too brief and simply lacking for adult content. Users from High School Juniors through University students will need more details not to be found in Encarta or it's additonal web content. The links, however, are substantial and useful to those of all age and learning styles.

In conclusion, Encarta Deluxe 2004 is fun to browse and is engaging in a way Britanica is not. If you are a visually oriented user that doesn't need adult level discourse or the sometimes stuffy writing style found in Britanica. if you enjoy tooling around 2D and 3D areas of importance then Encarta is your encyclopedia.

5-0 out of 5 stars My Teen Loves It As Much As I Do!
My 10th grader wanted an update on our Encarta 2000 and I noticed that the Encarta Deluxe Edition 2004 was available from Amazon for under $20 after rebates. What a deal! This is a great reference source featuring panoramic location photos, instant bar graph country comparisons and loads of historical information. It sure beats paying hundreds of dollars for a set of dust collecting book encyclopedias and it is a heck of a lot quicker than spending hours surfing the net for basic research and background information. Microsoft uses the Collier encyclopedia for much of the information. Encarta also has a search engine feature which accesses the internet for the most current information on a topic. Old newspaper articles and other sources are also available when relevant. All and all, this is a solid product and a great value worthy of your consideration. ... Read more


5. Encarta Reference Library 2004 DVD
list price: $69.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000096L6Z
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Microsoft
Sales Rank: 2132
Average Customer Review: 3.57 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Encarta 2004 versus Britannica 2004
I have bought both Encarta and Britannica for years (EB in printed edition too: 32 volumes, 32.000 sheets). This is my opinion in brief: Encarta is excellent in all aspects, but Britannica's authoritative text (sometimes outdated) makes interesting to buy both.
TEXT: Britannica is a superb encyclopedia in text (not in visual aid) since 1768 (you know: an article by Einstein and so on...). Text in electronic version differs from printed encyclopedia (very large articles have been shortened). Britannica claims that it has more items than Encarta, but this is a joke: articles like "Mexico" are only one (with a lot of subdivisions) in Encarta, while in Britannica subdivisions are unconnected, and you must "jump" from one subdivision to another, which is slow and very annoying, especially if you want to copy it in "WORD". Very often, the text is not updated.
In the other hand, Encarta's text is not bad at all. Most articles have the name of their contributors (professions, works...): They are not John Doe. You can find large fragments of literary works, literature guides, a lot of sidebars and thousands of quotations. "Encarta Africana" is included. The Pop-Up (double clicking a word) Dictionary and Thesaurus has sound for correct pronunciation (by the way, it can read aloud, with a robotic and ugly voice, a whole article). The "Translation Dictionaries" to Spanish, French, German and Italian must be improved, because they are minimal. It gives you a lot of "Internet links", even if you are not connected. With Britannica you must be "on-line" and it searches in an EB Web page.
In theory you can update Britannica over the Internet free for a year quarterly (4 times), but this does not work: You can not find new files. Encarta can be updated free EVERY WEEK with new articles and additions or corrections to the old ones (till October 2004). With Encarta updating really works. Technically, is amazing to see the changes in old items.
ATLAS Britannica has not a real atlas; only a worlds map whose maximum detail is the States of USA. Statistics are very poor. Encarta's Atlas is like another encyclopedia, with a great detail (1 cm/ 4 km all over the world) and 20 types of atlas presentations (statistical ones can be counted by dozens). If you look a geographical article (city, river...) you can see in a corner where it is placed and, with only a click, open the atlas. In articles of cities, if you are on-line, you can see in another corner the weather of this place in that moment. If it is a USA place, you can read the latest news.
MULTIMEDIA: They say that "serious" or "adult" readers do not care about "pictures"; that multimedia is only for kids. I do not agree, because I think that, sometimes, "A picture is worth a thousand words". Works of art, anatomy, historical maps, diagrams ... Encarta devastates Britannica with a lot of photos, paintings, drawings, charts & tables, animations, interactivities, videos, music and sounds, pictures, 2-D and 3-D virtual tours, 360-degrees views, timeline, games... It is not only the quantity and quality. It is the easy access you have to all the multimedia, and that text and multimedia are fully integrated. Britannica is not really multimedia. It has photos and videos, but they make the program slow and sluggish. They should edit an alternative version with only text, as they did with the first edition in 1995. It worked fast and easy in old computers.
INTERFACE AND PERFORMANCE: This is the worst side of Britannica. With Encarta you only have to type a word or the beginning of a word to see all the articles and multimedia that contain it. If Encarta does not find anything, it gives you automatically alternative spellings. Even if you write the name of a small village lost in any country, you see it in the atlas. If you need to copy text or pictures, the integration with Microsoft WORD is perfect. It has additional ways to find content, including subject or multimedia browsing, "related articles" and the standard A-Z method. The "Research Organizer" is very helpful too. Encarta's TEXT FONT is very clear (Britannica's...) and you can choose 3 sizes.
Navigating with Britannica is different. 2004 edition is better than 2003 one, but still it is disappointing. I will only give you an example: if you do not know the exact and correct spelling of a name or word, it does not help you with similar spellings (unless you open a window and fight with it). As I said before, the program's performance speed is very slow and sluggish, and it must be dramatically improved. To go "back and forward" you do not find any icon and you need to open a "menu".... One "pro" for Britannica: they say it works with Macintosh.
I repeat my modest piece of advice: Encarta is excellent in all aspects, but Britannica's authoritative text (sometimes outdated) make interesting to buy both.

3-0 out of 5 stars Picture quality could be better
As usual, the DVD version is better than the CD version because you don't have to swap the disks. However, the picture quality of the photos, especially the 360 tour is the worst this year. Maybe Microsoft wanted to pack to much information into one DVD. Only 10 more video clips than last year and most are in poor resolution. With the development of so much technology applications, I would expect their product better each year.
Still, no homework help or research help for any foreign languages. The research organizer is a helpful tool but takes some time to learn how to use it. By joining the "Encarta Club", a free service online, you get to get access to Encarta's content anywhere in the world as long as you can get online, which is a pretty good feature. However, you must be a MSN passport member.

1-0 out of 5 stars Light on Content and Yet Still Biased
If you are looking for great presentation, lite content, and biased history, by all means by this product. I reviewed both Encarta and Britannica and found Britannica to more in depth and less biased in its history. Many of Brittanica's articles are by people Encarta only writes snippets about (i.e., you get their point of view not some political hack.) If you are looking for content and a fairer presentation of history buy Britannica.

2-0 out of 5 stars Don't buy for the dictionary...
First off, my primary reason for buying this product was the dictionary tool, so my review isn't exactly complete.

I've been using the dictionary and thesaurus tools in Reference Suite 2001 extensively since it's introduction - and it is, bar none, the best on the market. You can launch it with Windows at startup and have it run in the taskbar, because it uses little to no resources, and then it's always on demand in a flash. When the interface is open, your cursor is already where it needs to be and you can begin typing instantly. It's also quite smart, in regards to finding matches to a mistyped or misspelled word. If the program doesn't find a direct match to your input, it will display a list of words which it thinks are close, and 9 times out of time your word will be listed.

The same great attributes do not hold true for the dictionary and thesaurus tools in Reference Library 2004, however. While the interface does look much the same, that's about the only similarity. 2004 is a resource hog, for one. It's also not very intelligent. If you type a word in wrong, or are simply searching for the spelling of a word, you might as well dig out your paperback, because the paperback is going to be quicker to thumb through. Once one hits enter in 2004, if the program doesn't find an exact match, it automatically displays the first word that matches the first series of characters, beginning from left to right, as oppose to a list of words with simililarities. The real killer for me is in how slow it is to use. For instance, when you open or restore the program to the desktop, you have to navigate to the input box each and every time before you can begin typing. Therefore, if you're doing a lot of writing, and need to switch back and forth between programs, such as a word processor, these 2004 tools are a considerable hinrance, as one has to incessantly leave the keyboard to maneuver the mouse.

I bought 2004 thinking it was going to be a simple update, and perhaps even an upgrade, but instead received a semi-useless downgrade...

3-0 out of 5 stars Bintannica is better
Britannica has more information than Encarta. But Britannica has worse interface than Encarta.

If you want better contents, Britannica will be the one. Encarta has very little information on many different subjects. ... Read more


6. Microsoft Encarta Deluxe 2005
list price: $29.99
our price: $29.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002CPBUU
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Microsoft Corporation
Sales Rank: 912
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

7. Microsoft Encarta Standard 2005
list price: $19.99
our price: $19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00027TPH0
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Microsoft
Sales Rank: 3570
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Timely and accurate information with up-to-date reference materials
  • More than 30,000 new and updated articles
  • Learn about events around the world as they occur with Live Media
  • Interactive multimedia includes music, videos, audio clips, and more
  • New search bar for instantly finding information needed

Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but very much better Encarta Reference Library
ENCARTA STANDARD is not bad, but it is very much better to buy Encarta Reference Library, because it has very much more text, very much more multimedia and very much more features (Atlas and so on). I have reviewed it if you want extra information. The PC system requirements are about the same. ... Read more


8. Encarta Reference Library 2004 (Small Box)
list price: $69.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000096L6Y
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Microsoft
Sales Rank: 2258
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Invaluable
I've tried both Encarta 2004 and Britannica 2004. As other reviews here pointed out, Britannica is also good, but the interface leaves a lot to be desired and program is very very sluggish. I'm on a 1.6Mhz Pentium 4 Windows XP system, with 1 gigabyte of memory. So I was a bit surprised how slow it was.

I decided to go with Encarta because it's faster, has more multimedia, and I like how Microsoft updates it (and displays a list of what was updated/added). I haven't tried the older versions of Encarta so I cannot compare, but 2004 looks and works fine for me. Some have complained about the Visual Browser "carousel" on the main page of the program. This can easily be disabled in the program options if it annoys you. The Encarta interface is very clean and organized. Colorful detailed buttons on the toolbar make it very easy to access the most common tasks and the search function is very fast. It seems the more you dig into it, the more goodies you'll find. There are great interactivities, games, dynamic atlas, 3D and 2D virtual tours, thousands of quotations, an entire dictionary program, and lots more. If you're used to the Internet Explorer browser, the "Favorites" menu in Encarta is identical and a great way to bookmark and organize your favorite places in this vast program. It's very easy to get "lost" for hours just clicking around.

I haven't looked through an encyclopedia on CD-ROM since the early 90's when CD-ROM technology was just starting to take off. I'm pleased to see how detailed and invaluable they've become. I'd recommend this to anyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars I love this product!
I've not seen Encarta before so I have no idea about previous versions. However, this version is very impressive. I'm a computer professional and I can say that very few products have a user interface that 'flows' this well. My primary reason to get this was for my 10-year-old, but I think I'll be using it a lot more than her. The maps, dictionaries, articles, and links to related content on the web are great, but how they are all tied together is what really makes this product shine.

It does take a while to load and you want to install everything on your hard drive (about 2Gig). If you don't load everything to your disk then you'll wear out your arm swapping between the 5 CDs when you look at different articles.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but better Encarta Reference Library
It is better to buy Encarta Reference Library, because it has more text and features (Atlas and so on). I have reviewed it if you want extra information. The system requirements are about the same.

5-0 out of 5 stars Encarta 2004 versus Britannica 2004
I have bought both Encarta and Britannica for years (EB in printed edition too: 32 volumes, 32.000 sheets). This is my opinion in brief: Encarta is excellent in all aspects, but Britannica's authoritative text (sometimes outdated) makes interesting to buy both.
TEXT: Britannica is a superb encyclopedia in text (not in visual aid) since 1768 (you know: an article by Einstein and so on...). Text in electronic version differs from printed encyclopedia (very large articles have been shortened). Britannica claims that it has more items than Encarta, but this is a joke: articles like "Mexico" are only one (with a lot of subdivisions) in Encarta, while in Britannica subdivisions are unconnected, and you must "jump" from one subdivision to another, which is slow and very annoying, especially if you want to copy it in "WORD". Very often, the text is not updated.
In the other hand, Encarta's text is not bad at all. Most articles have the name of their contributors (professions, works...): They are not John Doe. You can find large fragments of literary works, literature guides, a lot of sidebars and thousands of quotations. "Encarta Africana" is included. The Pop-Up (double clicking a word) Dictionary and Thesaurus has sound for correct pronunciation (by the way, it can read aloud, with a robotic and ugly voice, a whole article). The "Translation Dictionaries" to Spanish, French, German and Italian must be improved, because they are minimal. It gives you a lot of "Internet links", even if you are not connected. With Britannica you must be "on-line" and it searches in an EB Web page.
In theory you can update Britannica over the Internet free for a year quarterly (4 times), but this does not work: You can not find new files. Encarta can be updated free EVERY WEEK with new articles and additions or corrections to the old ones (till October 2004). With Encarta updating really works. Technically, is amazing to see the changes in old items.
ATLAS Britannica has not a real atlas; only a worlds map whose maximum detail is the States of USA. Statistics are very poor. Encarta's Atlas is like another encyclopedia, with a great detail (1 cm/ 4 km all over the world) and 20 types of atlas presentations (statistical ones can be counted by dozens). If you look a geographical article (city, river...) you can see in a corner where it is placed and, with only a click, open the atlas. In articles of cities, if you are on-line, you can see in another corner the weather of this place in that moment. If it is a USA place, you can read the latest news.
MULTIMEDIA: They say that "serious" or "adult" readers do not care about "pictures"; that multimedia is only for kids. I do not agree, because I think that, sometimes, "A picture is worth a thousand words". Works of art, anatomy, historical maps, diagrams ... Encarta devastates Britannica with a lot of photos, paintings, drawings, charts & tables, animations, interactivities, videos, music and sounds, pictures, 2-D and 3-D virtual tours, 360-degrees views, timeline, games... It is not only the quantity and quality. It is the easy access you have to all the multimedia, and that text and multimedia are fully integrated. Britannica is not really multimedia. It has photos and videos, but they make the program slow and sluggish. They should edit an alternative version with only text, as they did with the first edition in 1995. It worked fast and easy in old computers.
INTERFACE AND PERFORMANCE: This is the worst side of Britannica. With Encarta you only have to type a word or the beginning of a word to see all the articles and multimedia that contain it. If Encarta does not find anything, it gives you automatically alternative spellings. Even if you write the name of a small village lost in any country, you see it in the atlas. If you need to copy text or pictures, the integration with Microsoft WORD is perfect. It has additional ways to find content, including subject or multimedia browsing, "related articles" and the standard A-Z method. The "Research Organizer" is very helpful too. Encarta's TEXT FONT is very clear (Britannica's...) and you can choose 3 sizes.
Navigating with Britannica is different. 2004 edition is better than 2003 one, but still it is disappointing. I will only give you an example: if you do not know the exact and correct spelling of a name or word, it does not help you with similar spellings (unless you open a window and fight with it). As I said before, the program's performance speed is very slow and sluggish, and it must be dramatically improved. To go "back and forward" you do not find any icon and you need to open a "menu".... One "pro" for Britannica: they say it works with Macintosh.
I repeat my modest piece of advice: Encarta is excellent in all aspects, but Britannica's authoritative text (sometimes outdated) make interesting to buy both.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good in a Very Microsoftish Way
Encarta is good. It is very easy to use. It has a web site that a registered user could access. Its world map is far superior than the Encyclopaedia Britannica's. However, its contents are sometimes not that good.

For example, I searched "John Rawls," a prominent moral and political philosopher, today. Its first line reads:

[ Rawls, John (1921-), American moral and political philosopher, whose major work, A Theory of Justice, has had a profound impact on ethics and political theory since its publication in 1971. ]

For God's sake, Rawls died on Nov 22, 2002. It's March 21, 2004 today. And Encarta, which supposedly should be updated weekly, did nothing to correct this mistake. ... Read more


9. Microsoft Encarta Africana Third Edition
list price: $34.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004U0YW
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Microsoft
Sales Rank: 3488
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

Encarta Africana is an absorbing interactive exploration of the historyof African culture. From early man's appearance 4 million years ago on theAfrican continent to Sir Mix-A-Lot explaining the technology behind making arap recording, this comprehensive CD-ROM tackles a massive amount of culturalhistory, fully utilizing its multimedia format to make the informationeducational, entertaining, and enlightening.

The program's introduction reflects the ambitious scope ofEncarta Africana; therich harmonies of Zulu choral music swell as a montage flashes across thescreen: Nelson Mandela, art from 4000 B.C., and a raised fist are among theimages. These pictures are superimposed over a patterned background that, uponcloser inspection, is actually a diagram of a slave ship, jam-packed withhumancargo.

The program itself is divided into nine sections: a library of black America;a history and music timeline; a civil rights chronology; a section entitledAfricana on Camera, in which famous blacks discuss different issues; historicsites; an interactive map; a section called Africa to Americas that tracks howAfricans were dispersed throughout the Americas; virtual tours; and TopicTreks, a feature that allows users to explore various topics in greater depth.Each of these sections (with the exception of the library) is vast, easy toexplore, and filled with articles, photos, sounds, dates, and facts. Thoughthelibrary doesn't serve up pictures or sounds, it does include the completetextsof 160 poems, essays, and novels about the experience of being of Africandescent in America.

Sound weaves itself throughout this multifaceted program. Progress along ahistorical timeline, and the soundtrack transitions from spirituals to ragtimeto hip-hop as the people and achievements grow closer to present day. Visualvignettes are present throughout as well: the familiar forms of the pyramids,asmall swatch of Asante kente cloth, a short film of Whoopi Goldberg discussingrace. Encarta's developers adeptly exploit this medium, seamlesslyblendingsound, visuals, and written information to superbly capture the powerful storyof African culture. --Anne Erickson ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars great resource
My music instructor suggested this cd rom for intro to music, from my oppinion,I think it is the best thing any student can use while in school. Since then I used it for my art presentatin, and history. Also, I think that every one should have one of this in their library.
I give this a five star rating.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Have
I attempted to locate this software at CompUSA & Best Buy. Unfortunately both failed to have this displayed for sell on their shelves. (Possibly discontinued?) However, I purchased it ... and use it daily in furthering my research on Black History. The Researcher function of the program helps to tie in resources found on the Internet as well. My daughter also has found it helpful in retrieving additional information for school projects.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Have
Certainly worth all of the pennies I paid for it and more!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Informative
I haven't seen any other software like it. Very informative with a reference section for doing papers. A MUST for researchers, students, and teachers alike!

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a great resource for students!!
I am a college student and this software not onlt helped me projects but has taught me a lot about my history -- Even on topis that I am familiar with! Samples of music, clips, Internet searches - it's GREAT!! Also, you can have the program read articles out load so you can concentrate on your notes. There is also a great reference tool. Colleges make a big deal about citing references and Encarta Africana assists with that. This is a great learning tool! ... Read more


10. Microsoft Encarta Reference Library 2004 North America Teacher's Pack
list price: $99.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000C11NV
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Microsoft
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Complete reference resource for school or home
  • Award-winning encyclopedia; research and learning tools
  • Dictionary and thesaurus, literature guides, and chart maker
  • Video content from Discovery Channel; new and updated articles
  • Visual browser with easy navigation; homework center

11. Encarta Standard 2004
list price: $24.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000096L70
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Microsoft
Sales Rank: 4047
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Invaluable
I've tried both Encarta 2004 and Britannica 2004. As other reviews here pointed out, Britannica is also good, but the interface leaves a lot to be desired and program is very very sluggish. I'm on a 1.6Mhz Pentium 4 Windows XP system, with 1 gigabyte of memory. So I was a bit surprised how slow it was.

I decided to go with Encarta because it's faster, has more multimedia, and I like how Microsoft updates it (and displays a list of what was updated/added). I haven't tried the older versions of Encarta so I cannot compare, but 2004 looks and works fine for me. Some have complained about the Visual Browser "carousel" on the main page of the program. This can easily be disabled in the program options if it annoys you. The Encarta interface is very clean and organized. Colorful detailed buttons on the toolbar make it very easy to access the most common tasks and the search function is very fast. It seems the more you dig into it, the more goodies you'll find. There are great interactivities, games, dynamic atlas, 3D and 2D virtual tours, thousands of quotations, an entire dictionary program, and lots more. If you're used to the Internet Explorer browser, the "Favorites" menu in Encarta is identical and a great way to bookmark and organize your favorite places in this vast program. It's very easy to get "lost" for hours just clicking around.

I haven't looked through an encyclopedia on CD-ROM since the early 90's when CD-ROM technology was just starting to take off. I'm pleased to see how detailed and invaluable they've become. I'd recommend this to anyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars I love this product!
I've not seen Encarta before so I have no idea about previous versions. However, this version is very impressive. I'm a computer professional and I can say that very few products have a user interface that 'flows' this well. My primary reason to get this was for my 10-year-old, but I think I'll be using it a lot more than her. The maps, dictionaries, articles, and links to related content on the web are great, but how they are all tied together is what really makes this product shine.

It does take a while to load and you want to install everything on your hard drive (about 2Gig). If you don't load everything to your disk then you'll wear out your arm swapping between the 5 CDs when you look at different articles.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but better Encarta Reference Library
It is better to buy Encarta Reference Library, because it has more text and features (Atlas and so on). I have reviewed it if you want extra information. The system requirements are about the same.

5-0 out of 5 stars Encarta 2004 versus Britannica 2004
I have bought both Encarta and Britannica for years (EB in printed edition too: 32 volumes, 32.000 sheets). This is my opinion in brief: Encarta is excellent in all aspects, but Britannica's authoritative text (sometimes outdated) makes interesting to buy both.
TEXT: Britannica is a superb encyclopedia in text (not in visual aid) since 1768 (you know: an article by Einstein and so on...). Text in electronic version differs from printed encyclopedia (very large articles have been shortened). Britannica claims that it has more items than Encarta, but this is a joke: articles like "Mexico" are only one (with a lot of subdivisions) in Encarta, while in Britannica subdivisions are unconnected, and you must "jump" from one subdivision to another, which is slow and very annoying, especially if you want to copy it in "WORD". Very often, the text is not updated.
In the other hand, Encarta's text is not bad at all. Most articles have the name of their contributors (professions, works...): They are not John Doe. You can find large fragments of literary works, literature guides, a lot of sidebars and thousands of quotations. "Encarta Africana" is included. The Pop-Up (double clicking a word) Dictionary and Thesaurus has sound for correct pronunciation (by the way, it can read aloud, with a robotic and ugly voice, a whole article). The "Translation Dictionaries" to Spanish, French, German and Italian must be improved, because they are minimal. It gives you a lot of "Internet links", even if you are not connected. With Britannica you must be "on-line" and it searches in an EB Web page.
In theory you can update Britannica over the Internet free for a year quarterly (4 times), but this does not work: You can not find new files. Encarta can be updated free EVERY WEEK with new articles and additions or corrections to the old ones (till October 2004). With Encarta updating really works. Technically, is amazing to see the changes in old items.
ATLAS Britannica has not a real atlas; only a worlds map whose maximum detail is the States of USA. Statistics are very poor. Encarta's Atlas is like another encyclopedia, with a great detail (1 cm/ 4 km all over the world) and 20 types of atlas presentations (statistical ones can be counted by dozens). If you look a geographical article (city, river...) you can see in a corner where it is placed and, with only a click, open the atlas. In articles of cities, if you are on-line, you can see in another corner the weather of this place in that moment. If it is a USA place, you can read the latest news.
MULTIMEDIA: They say that "serious" or "adult" readers do not care about "pictures"; that multimedia is only for kids. I do not agree, because I think that, sometimes, "A picture is worth a thousand words". Works of art, anatomy, historical maps, diagrams ... Encarta devastates Britannica with a lot of photos, paintings, drawings, charts & tables, animations, interactivities, videos, music and sounds, pictures, 2-D and 3-D virtual tours, 360-degrees views, timeline, games... It is not only the quantity and quality. It is the easy access you have to all the multimedia, and that text and multimedia are fully integrated. Britannica is not really multimedia. It has photos and videos, but they make the program slow and sluggish. They should edit an alternative version with only text, as they did with the first edition in 1995. It worked fast and easy in old computers.
INTERFACE AND PERFORMANCE: This is the worst side of Britannica. With Encarta you only have to type a word or the beginning of a word to see all the articles and multimedia that contain it. If Encarta does not find anything, it gives you automatically alternative spellings. Even if you write the name of a small village lost in any country, you see it in the atlas. If you need to copy text or pictures, the integration with Microsoft WORD is perfect. It has additional ways to find content, including subject or multimedia browsing, "related articles" and the standard A-Z method. The "Research Organizer" is very helpful too. Encarta's TEXT FONT is very clear (Britannica's...) and you can choose 3 sizes.
Navigating with Britannica is different. 2004 edition is better than 2003 one, but still it is disappointing. I will only give you an example: if you do not know the exact and correct spelling of a name or word, it does not help you with similar spellings (unless you open a window and fight with it). As I said before, the program's performance speed is very slow and sluggish, and it must be dramatically improved. To go "back and forward" you do not find any icon and you need to open a "menu".... One "pro" for Britannica: they say it works with Macintosh.
I repeat my modest piece of advice: Encarta is excellent in all aspects, but Britannica's authoritative text (sometimes outdated) make interesting to buy both.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good in a Very Microsoftish Way
Encarta is good. It is very easy to use. It has a web site that a registered user could access. Its world map is far superior than the Encyclopaedia Britannica's. However, its contents are sometimes not that good.

For example, I searched "John Rawls," a prominent moral and political philosopher, today. Its first line reads:

[ Rawls, John (1921-), American moral and political philosopher, whose major work, A Theory of Justice, has had a profound impact on ethics and political theory since its publication in 1971. ]

For God's sake, Rawls died on Nov 22, 2002. It's March 21, 2004 today. And Encarta, which supposedly should be updated weekly, did nothing to correct this mistake. ... Read more


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