Tuesday, September 4, 2007

eResource of the Month: Encyclopaedia Britannica

When you hear the word "encyclopedia," do you envision a long row of books with dust covering them? If you haven't cracked open an encyclopedia lately, I suggest you check out the online version of Encyclopaedia Britannica, provided free-of-charge by Fauquier County Public Library.

Available for all ages as well as a version specifically for children, the encylopedia makes it easy to find the information you need. Simply type in your query into the search input box at the top of the page and find encyclopedia articles, photos, related Web sites and articles from scholarly journals and magazines. If you just need a definitition of your search term, you can select the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as your source versus the encyclopedia. If you want to refine your search, you can choose Advanced Search and limit your search to just multimedia or Web sites. You can also browse articles A-Z or by subject if you're not exactly sure what you're looking for.

Other highlights include...

Multimedia
Extended play videos as well as short video clips are available on a variety of educational topics. These videos can be downloaded and placed in Microsoft Power Point presentations.

Statistics
The World Data Analyst allows you to create tables/charts which can be exported into Excel and the "Ranked Statistics" tool is handy when you need to compare a group of countries. You can also use the compare countries tool for a quick side-by-side comparison of different countries.

Learning Materials
Available in Britannica Online for Kids, includes standards-based worksheets, activities and exercises covering language arts, math, science and social studies curriculum.


Spotlight
Every month, the experts at Encyclopaedia Britannica pull together a collection of resources (biographies, articles, related Web sites, videos, etc.) on a specific topic, such as Hispanic Heritage or a Guide to Shakespeare.


The above are just a few of the features of this extensive resource. There are guides to writing papers, interactive timelines, even a collection of quotations. I suggest you check out Encyclopaedia Britannica Online yourself and get lost in a world of knowledge. From home, simply go to the library's Web site and select "Databases" under Find Information. You'll see Encyclopaedia Britannica (Reference Center and Kids) listed under Encyclopedias & Reference. All you need to access is your library card number.


You can also ask staff at your local library to show you the Encyclopaedia Britannica in action. Look for the eResource of the Month display or ask the reference librarian for more information.