University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
New Book of Knowledge Online
Since the year 1912, the New Book of Knowledge has been in print and has remained as an authoritative, informative and educational modern encyclopedia for children. It provides balanced, appropriate, and engaging coverage of a wide range of topics for students in grades four through six. The New Book of Knowledge has long been the leading source of accurate, accessible, and fun-to-read information for use in homes and libraries. It contains thousands of articles, written by over 1,880 authoritative contributors and also has many other special features.
The key aspects of the New Book of Knowledge Online are its appealing features, illustrations, and maps complement encyclopedia entries. The more recent 2003 edition boasts of 51 completely new articles; among them African Union; Chirac, Jacques; Grief; Giuliani, Rudolph; Mesopotamia; Snails and slugs; and Zoology. With about 1,200 new images, photographs, and works of art, the New Book of Knowledge Online devotes nearly one-third of the content to illustrations. This is a key feature which appeals to its target market of children from grades four (4) to six (6).
Several interactive features also make this edition more appealing and entertaining for the children as well. Under the NBK News section there is SummerScoops which is a fun section that currently links to the Great Outdoors, Sightseeing. com, Rainy Day Fun, Summer Reading, and more. There are also other regular features, such as Wonder Questions, Literary Selections, and Projects and Experiments, which are also found in the print set. Web Feat is a fun-and-games approach to learning and adds entertainment to education.
The strength of the New Book of Knowledge Online is the fact that the information is very thoroughly updated. The replacement article on Afghanistan is current into June 2002 and Hamid Karzai’s election as president of the Transitional Authority. Terrorism, war on is a new entry, and Bush, George W. and Terrorism were replaced. The Bush entry notes his address to the United Nations in September 2002, and the new entry on Tony Blair mentions the prime minister’s support for Bush’s plans to disarm Iraq. The post deadline Columbia space shuttle disaster made it into the entries for Space exploration and travel and Space shuttles.
These current facts make this an ideal encyclopedia not only for children but for parents as well. It is not only useful for school reports and research papers but has all sorts of information that appeal to almost all the scholarly endeavors. Another major selling point for the New Book of Knowledge is its relative ease in facilitating searcher. Each volume of the New Book of Knowledge has its own index with blue pages, which makes it easy to locate, and there is a well-constructed comprehensive index volume for the set.
It also identifies items such as pictures, maps, and in the index entries. A Subject Browse, Alphabetical Browse, and Advanced Search are available in addition to a full-text Quick Search. Being able to retrieve articles and updates in a single search is a great feature, making Quick Search very user-friendly. In both its print and online version NBK is well suited to its young audience, a group generally underserved by reference publishers. Its many appealing features encourage children to explore and to develop good research skills.