The core of the package is the encyclopaedia. Clicking on the main link opens a slick introductory interface with a rolling slideshow of media snippets. It’s very easy to find your way around using the web browser-inspired tools. Click on the search icon to find articles by keyword or flick through categorised pages with the Just Looking feature.
There are some handy extras too. If you wan to make your own notes you can add stickies to any article, then return to them later. Highlighter fans get virtual versions to mark up the entries in glorious day-glo.
Mac users get special content too, in the form of special Librarian and This Day in History widgets. You can even copy media clips direct to a video iPod.
The software is pretty much flawless; our reservations are with the content itself. It’s supposed to be aimed at families rather than academic users, but the quality of entries is distinctly patchy. The tone varies from entry to entry and we discovered several inaccuracies very quickly. Although this is the international edition, there’s a clear American bias too. For example, in the Trivia Challenge section there are 156 questions on US history compared with 108 world history queries. Still, for younger members of the family World Book should prove a useful resource.