Franklin Hoke recently gave our readers an interesting view of the prospects and problems of the new generation of scientific journals on CD-ROM (The Scientist, Sept. 19, 1994, page 17). It is indeed exciting to contemplate the convenience of having instantaneous, fingertip access to the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Journal of the American Chemical Society, and other primary-research publications.

Of course, major reference works are also available on CD-ROM, such as the Science Citation Index and the Oxford English Dictionary. These are being joined by a growing number of encyclopedias, including Microsoft's Encarta (based on the Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia), Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, and the New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia.

"Multimedia" is the buzzword of choice for these latter publications because they boast not only articles and illustrations, as in the print versions, but also audio narrations, animations, and even video clips....

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