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By Hanleigh Daniels 11 February 2010

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The competition between Encyclopaedia Britannica and Microsoft Encarta to become our definitive research companion is over now that Microsoft pulled out of the race. But Encyclopaedia Britannica 2010 Ultimate Edition still finds itself up against two other formidable opponents, since being connected means you have Google and Wikipedia at your fingertips. 
 
If you are looking for info for a history class assignment on say Henry VIII, Britannica offers a wealth of information, pictures and dates. But for info on more current topics, such as solid-state disk (SSD), you’d be stuck using Britannica, whereas Wikipedia or a search on Google would give you that info immediately. Where Britannica does have the edge over Wikipedia is that it has been put together by leading experts in their respective fields, including historians, scientists and professors. Info on Wikipedia on the other hand can be submitted and edited by anyone in the world, although a strict editing process is in place. This allows you to reference Britannica as a source, whereas most universities won't allow Wikipedia to be used in compiling papers.

Easier for kids


The Ultimate Edition of Britannica 2010 features an interface consisting of three libraries, one for children between the ages of 6 and 10, another for students between 10 and 14 years and of course the full Encyclopaedia Britannica Library. Each interface for the different age groupings is customised, making it easier for children and teens to use the software. For example the one for children sports a much more colourful and interactive interface with larger, animated subject icons.
 
Britannica 2010 provides you with over 100 000 articles, biographies, Britannica BrainStormer, Britannica Classics and a few new features. Britannica Biographies: Heroes and Villains is one of them, providing info on a collection of famous people throughout history, grouped by subject matter, for instance Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. 

Online Version
 
When you register the product you get a free six months trial of the online version of Encyclopaedia Britannica, which is worth about R300. The online version is more up-to-date than Britannica 2010 and also features many more articles (over 120 000, plus over 300 000 articles from reputable magazines and journals), with access to free content updates for each age grouping when you register, ensuring content remains current.
 
The different presentation styles for the age groups and essential online update features were the things we liked most about Encyclopaedia Britannica 2010 Ultimate Edition, available from a recommended R499.99. You could also go for the Student Edition at R199 or the Deluxe Edition at R299, but these are not as feature rich as the original. For additional information visit www.phoenixsoftware.co.za.

PROS
Comprehensive info from expert sources. Easy to navigate.
CONS
You need to update it to keep up with current topics.
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