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  Encyclopedia electronica
January 30, 1998

One of the fun things about an encyclopedia is all the stuff you learn while you're flipping through the pages trying to find what you're actually looking for., then, is a cure for those of us with wandering eyes and short attention spans: By providing direct connections to related articles, it turns detours into relevant data. For instance, the entry for Louis Pasteur features links to "Bacteria," "Pasteurization," "anthrax" and "Rabies." Click on "Related Internet sites" to put out an APB to every major search engine, from AltaVista to Yahoo, for (potentially) relevant Web pages on your subject. Based on the Concise Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, third edition – the same one Microsoft sells with its Bookshelf reference CD-ROM – this is a good one-stop source for both quick fact-checking and preliminary research. The entries in this online encyclopedia, the first one to be offered free on the Web, are generally short (which can be a virtue to time-starved authors), but the many links under each topic can help you focus on just what aspect of a subject you're researching.

-- Mike Musgrove

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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