Features of the Online Encyclopedia Britannica

Most people are familiar with the multi-volume Encyclopedia Britannica from their public library. Searching through the Encyclopedia Britannica, they could find information on almost any topic imaginable, and if they were lucky, pictures and graphs would be included in the entry.

With the advent of the internet, Encyclopedia Britannica has taken their product much further with their online edition of their classic encyclopedia. This encyclopedia, which is accessible 24/7 through the library’s website, has all of the information available in the print version but is enhanced with practical help and extra information, including photos, videos, and sound recordings.
Let’s compare a search for Mark Twain in the print and online versions. A search for Mark Twain in the print version yields a thorough article including a picture of the author. The online version of Encyclopedia Britannica includes everything the print has plus more! In the online version, the introduction page for the entry on Mark Twain has all the information neatly organized into five different areas. The first area, which is located directly under the article title offers a lot of practical features that will help cite the article, translate into Spanish, and email the article in order to share with others or to keep for yourself. There are also links to print the individual pages of the article and the entire article.

 In addition to the practical information, Britannica’s online edition has a wealth of extra information to take your research beyond the basic encyclopedia article. On the far left side of the page (labeled as number two in the picture below), there is a box entitled “Content Related to this Topic” that is an index for all of the images, media, and links found within the article. This entry for Twain contains 14 photographs, 23 related links, and even one video of Mark Twain! Below that box (labeled number three) is a table of contents for the entire article that will skip to each section of the article without having to scroll through each page. Area number four of the main page of the entry is the main article. Finally, the fifth area (“Expand Your Research”) of the online encyclopedia is that it links to full-text journal articles, online searches that are geared specifically for help in researching the subject, and primary source documents, which for the Mark Twain entry will allow the researcher to view some of Twain’s short stories.

Another practical feature of the online encyclopedia is the ability to double-click any word in the article, which will bring up a box with a definition and an audio pronunciation of the word.