Platform: Windows 95+
Price: Standalone: $49
Lab/Circulation Pack: $179
ABC-CLIO,longtime publisher of books and large bibliographic database products, offerssix interactive multimedia encyclopedias on CD-ROM that are wonderful referenceresources for upper middle and high school student research. In addition toAmerican Social Issues, titles include The Environmental Movement in the UnitedStates, The Native American Rights Movement in the United States, The CivilRights Movement in the United States, The History of the American Legal System,and The Women’s Movement in the United States.
Each CD-ROM allows students to browse, look at a subjectindex, check various represented themes, or do a keyword search. For eachchoice, students may choose to view all resources at one time, or to viewbiographies, documents, events, glossaries, movements, or organizationsassociated with their topic.
The eight general themes related to 20th-century socialissues that are included in the American Social Issues CD-ROM are labor,family, sexuality, crime, environment, discrimination, education and pacifism.As an example, a student choosing to explore “pacifism” would first find anoverview of what pacifism is. From there, he or she might choose biographies. Alisting of eight leaders from history would be revealed. From that list thestudent could then click on any one and see a photo, as well as a biographicalsketch. In addition to biographies, students can access documents, events,organizations, and a glossary of terms relating to each theme. Theirexploration may lead them to explanations, photos, or even media, such asspeeches given by famous figures in history.
A unique feature of this software is an interactive timelinethat reveals key events in five-year increments from 1900 through 1999. Wheneach event is selected, an explanation with hyperlinks to the people, places,and organizations involved is provided.
American Social Issues is one of three of the ABC-CLIOencyclopedias that link to a special Web site where students are offered anadditional selection of research and learning activities. They may choose towork a crossword puzzle based on information from the CD-ROM, or they may learnhow to conduct a survey related to their topic, create a public serviceannouncement or draft a petition. The Web site also provides lesson plans,activities, and related Web sites for teachers.
Teachers will appreciate the password-protected preferences sectionof the CD-ROM. Within this section they may enable or disable printing orsaving, choose font sizes, and choose a word processor. The CD-ROM alsoprovides the student with examples of how to cite individual entries that maybe incorporated into a research paper.
While the program is limited to social issues only, itsability to link its various resources with multiple items related to each topicis a wonderful feature. Students will enjoy using this research tool. TheCD-ROM, as well as its linked Web site, is a valuable resource for teachers andstudents alike.
Library Media Specialist
Morris Middle/High School