Encarta Reference Suite 99

Sgt. Michael P. Hodshire, 25, of North Adams, Mich., was killed Oct. 30, 2005, by an explosive in Nasser Wa Salaam, Iraq.
Encarta was first introduced five years ago, bringing what was then cutting edge technology to the CD ROM encyclopedia market.

"And with Reference Suite what we've really done is started to integrate the encyclopedia, the atlas, and Bookshelf. And Bookshelf's a compilation of reference material, a dictionary, thesaurus, quotes, style guide...into one, what we think, is an essential learning tool for families and students.

Microsoft's Mark Young. The suite includes monthly downloads to keep information current and also links to other online resources...

"You'll see web links, and in our case, we pre-select all of our web links. We have an editorial team that actually searches the web on a daily basis trying to find appropriate web links. Not only appropriate content, but appropriate for our audience, which is really students ages 10 to 17."

If you have a DVD ROM drive, there's added multimedia content and it's easier to use...

"In the DVD version, which is the latest and newest version, we're able to combine five CDs of information all on one DVD."

The suite sells for under a hundred dollars. There's an online light version of Encarta you can use for free on the web at encarta.com