Encarta Africana 2000 Vividly Conveys Black History

Microsoft’s Encarta Africana 2000 is a CD-ROM encyclopedia about black history and culture co-edited by Harvard University professors Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Kwame Anthony Appiah. Inspired by W.E.B. Du Bois’ dream to compose an encyclopedia of African history, the professors teamed up with Microsoft to make DuBois’ dream a reality.

Through interactive multimedia technology, the encyclopedia brings to life the rich history and culture of Africa and people of African descent. The comprehensive CD-ROM includes over 3,600 articles, 800 Web links, 200 sidebars, an interactive timeline, 8 virtual tours, and 2,900 photos, audio clips, videos, maps and other multimedia elements.

New features include a Civil Rights chronology, a music timeline, and a library of 139 publications by African-American authors. A research organizer helps students collect information for written reports, homework and presentations. A closed captioning option makes the software accessible to the hearing impaired, and for those with impaired vision, Encarta Africana 2000 will read any text aloud using integrated voice technology. Microsoft Corp., Redmond, WA, (425) 882-8080, www.microsoft.com/encarta/africana.

This article originally appeared in the 02/01/2000 issue of THE Journal.