Encyclopedia Britannica. Britannica Online School Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved from http://info.eb.com/
Description: A familiar name in the encyclopedia world, Britannica’s Online School Edition offers encyclopedia entries with text, graphics, videos and photography. It allows students to create their own workspaces on the site, where they can collect articles, take notes on articles, and share their work with others. The first page allows young people to pre-select their level, elementary school, middle school, or high school The site includes a Merriam-Webster Dictionary and a World Atlas. It offers tips and tutorials on browsing and searching. On the home page of the high school level, readers will find a blog, with famous mysteries and historical facts collected by writers under a topic (“Ripper’s London and Thoreau’s New England” or “How Fast is Jamaican Sprinter Usain Bolt” – about the current Olympic Games). There is also a biography of the day, a “This Day in History” section, news by The New York Times’ web site, and BBC news links. More bells and whistles include statistics and summaries, revised articles, and video clips. If I go to the Gabrielle Giffords site, I see videos, links to topics mentioned that have their own pages, a section on her husband, and a link to other sites and journals outside of Britannica. There is also a Spanish translator and a citation creator, with three citation style possibilities.
The flags, maps, images, statistics and information are a real bounty for any student involved in research on a place. For biographies, too, it can be invaluable, with wonderful archival photos and neutral explanations about the person’s life. This is a great, fundamental resource for any public or school library.
Bio: Founded in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1968, Britannica has a reputation as being a scholarly encyclopedia. It is the oldest encyclopedia company still in operation. Although they are criticized for their coverage of certain topics or lack of attention to others, the company has retained its reputation as one of the most popular and esteemed encyclopedias.
With the advent of the digital age, Britannica has worked hard to retain its relevance in the era of Wikipedia.
Genre: Online encyclopedia/database.
Curriculum Ties: Can be tied to all subjects.
Reading Level/Interest Age: Kindergarten up.
Challenge Issues: None.
Why Included: It’s a very useful tool for school research.