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Black History graphic

Review of Encyclopedia Britannica
Profiles Black History CD

by Sarah and Perry Abouata, and Auntie Veda

Joe's Review

Graphics and sound: 10
Play control: 7.5
Theme and Fun: 9.1
Depth: 4.5
Overall: 7.8
Age: 16

(0 is the lowest, 10 is the highest)

Graphics and Sound: These two aspects of the program were very well developed. I especiallyenjoyed the pictures with each profile. The sound clips were displayed very well and the spoken words were loud and clear!

Play control: The speed was average on a 200 MHz Performa. The abilities to save bookmarks were good.The bad things were the program kept opening as if I wanted to go on the Internet. The program should just open and then have an option to go online.

Theme and Fun: The part of this program that Iwas interested themost was the Profiles on the athletes. The C.D. contained all of myfavorite athletes: Satchel Paige, Dr. J, Deacon Jones, etc.

Depth: The C.D. was not very deep in the entertainment and information department. The mistake the developers made wasnot realizing that themultimedia and information should be on separate C.D.s. The athletes' profiles must contain their statistics for every season they played. The multimedia must contain sports clips of Michael Jordan and others. If there are sports clips of major athletes like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Walter Payton and, yes O.J. Simpson, then the overall program would be enhanced very much. Joe, age 16

Sarah's Review

Graphics and Sound: 8.5
Play control: 5
Theme and Fun: 9
Depth: 7
Overall: 7.4
(0 is the lowest 10 is the highest)
Age: 13

Graphics and Sound: The graphics were okay in some pictures, a little on the grainy side and clear in others. The sound was good. I really liked the music video clips! They helped me to picture the lives of some of the people, and understand their background better. All you need to do is get a better font on the writing part andmore pictures. This is good for children and adults, and great for school work.

Play control: I had a hard time understanding the icons in how to use this program. I kept getting lost in trying to return to the main menu, and as a result, I kept starting over; instead of using the arrows that point to a particular direction. I found this confusing and sometimes frustrating. For example, when I was looking up an individual, I could also research in-depth not only that person but also that time period; yet when I needed to retu;rn to the menu or list of the people I could research, I found the icons to do so misleading. The other icons were overall helpful in researching and viewing the information in this program. I think simple words in the icon-menu would be helpful.

Depth: I learned a lot about different people that I never knew existed and I found this program beneficial. Not all of the people had as much information about them as others, and I found this to be a little disappointing. I did appreciate the footnotes on further literature where more in-depth information aboutindividuals could be found. The ability to cross-reference people, places, and events in history, is very helpful for school work and fun for learning.

Overall: I really found this program valuable and would like to see it made to be more "user friendly" and easier for children to use.

Auntie Veda's Review

When is a multimedia CD not a multimedia CD? I expected more sound, pictures, and video integrated into the Encyclopaedia Britannica's Black History CD. For starters, the CD uses Netscape as an engine for display, giving the user the feeling they are on-line. I expected more multimedia interactivity than Netscape hot links on a CD.

The content seems adequate with a few exceptions. For example, painter and educator Lois Mailou Jones has no photo and no examples of any artworks. This is an example of poor use of the multimedia capabilities of the medium. O.J. Simpson has an empty frame where an early photo was to have been placed. There are only a few audio and video clips and they are not really integrated into the CD. They are all in one place. The selection of people for the biographies was heavy on entertainers and sports figures, then politicians, with a sprinkling of scientists, educators and others.

I don't use CDs very often, so I may have high expectations based on all the hype I've seen. This information could have been better placed in a small book. The audio and video don't really add anything to the content. The multimedia seems to have been an afterthought. With all these clips in the same location, the natural tendency is to click right through them. Once you've taken the few minutes that requires, you have essentially completed the multimedia aspect of the CD. From there on, you are reading text with some photographs.

Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of information here. Speaking as a black woman who never took a black studies course in college, I would benefit by going through the entire CD. The package provides a good overview of the topic in what amounts to a small book on disk.

Graphics and sound: 4
Play control: 7
Theme and Fun: 7
Depth: 5
Overall: 5.75
Auntie Veda Lewis, age: old enough!

So, in summary, the consensus seems to be that this is a wonderful CD for introducing children and adults to black history; however, the CD falls down with its lack of integrated multimedia. The biggest improvement would be for more graphics within each page and the incorporation of more audio/voice over/narration to enhance the multimedia aspect of the CD's potential.

System Requirements:
  • 386/25 MHz processor (486 or higher recommended)
  • 8 MB RAM or more
  • 10 MB free hard-disk space
  • double-speed CD-ROM drive
  • printer recommended
  • MS-DOS 5.0 or higher
  • Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows NT 3.51 or 4.0
  • Mouse (Windows compatible)
  • Sound card
  • Mac IIci or higher
  • 8 MB of RAM
  • 20 MB free hard-disk space and 24 MB virtual memory (24 MB virtual memory required only if physical RAM is less than 16 MB)
  • doub;e-speed CD-ROM drive
  • System 7.1 (System 7.5 or higher recommended)
  • Apple CD-ROM extension v5.0.1 or higher
  • Mouse


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