Microsoft Word for Windows & Bookshelf, Multimedia Edition. (Software Review) (Compute's Getting Started with Multimedia Applications) (Evaluation)
by Richard O. Mann
If you have a sound card and CD-ROM drive and plan to buy Microsoft Word for Windows 2.0, you really should consider the new CD-ROM-based version bundled with Microsoft Bookshelf. It's called Microsoft Word for Windows & Bookshelf, Multimedia Edition (Microsoft, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, Washington 98052-6399; 800-426-9400; $595).
Why a CD-ROM version of WinWord? Aside from its links to one of today's best reference sets, it uses only 4MB of hard disk space; the remainder of its files stay on the CD. (A normal WinWord installation consumes 13MB of hard disk real estate.) Access to the functions that remain on CD is slower, but acceptable. In addition, you get the entire 32-chapter User's Guide on CD, full of hypertext links. You don't, however, get the printed version unless you order it separately for $70.
The CD version adds a button to the toolbar to call up Microsoft Bookshelf directly. Bookshelf's special Send button automatically transfers the item being viewed into your WinWord document, complete with a correctly formatted footnote citing the source. Items transferred to WinWord can be text, images, or sound clips. You also can annotate WinWord documents with your own sound recordings. It's a true multimedia word processor.
But let me tell you about Microsoft Bookshelf, which is available separately for $195. Bookshelf's 1992 edition includes seven up-to-date reference books, tightly integrated, fully searchable for any text, and full of images, animations, sound recordings, and hypertext links. Honestly, this is better than having the books themselves.
The American Heritage Dictionary has over 65,000 words defined and pronounced for you, while Roget's II Electronic Thesaurus has 50,000 entries. As a writer, I particularly like this thesaurus. It gives brief multiple. definitions of the target word, each with a synonym list. The thesaurus built into my word processor is no match for this one.
The Hammond Atlas provides maps of the 50 U.S. states and 172 countries--including all the new ones in Eastern Europe--along with their flags, national anthems, pronounced names, and clickable links to the Encyclopedia or almanac. The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1992 is the familiar almanac, a joy to browse and a treasure trove of statistical information.
Bartlett's Familiar Quotations offers 22,500 quotations, primarily from history. Several dozen entries have recordings of the author speaking the words. I liked hearing JFK's Boston accent and Carl Sandburg misquoting one of his own poems. The Concise Columbia Dictionary of Quotations presents its 6,000 modern quotations organized by topic. There's an absolute wealth of great thinking collected in these two volumes.
The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia in book form is a large single-volume collection of succinct articles on a vast array of subjects. Here it's illustrated with pictures, sound clips, and animation. Be sure to watch the animated explanation of how CD-ROMs work.
I knew I'd like Bookshelf, but it's proven to be even more useful than I imagined. Combined with Word for Windows, it's a writer's and a student's dream come true.