MARVEL Resource Profile: Britannica School Edition

MARVEL’s online Britannica School Edition may be one of our most under utilized resources. All too often students who look online for information go directly to Wikipedia without checking our MARVEL resources.  Britannica School Edition offer’s three levels of information that are aimed at elementary students, middle school students, and high school students.

If you were a sixth grade student looking for information on a mammal’s habit, let’s say a dog; you would notice that if you searched the elementary level in Britannica you would find basic information on dogs. This article would be in an easy to read format, and include basic terms and  information and even some pictures of dogs. You would also notice that each paragraph would offer you the option to have the computer read it to you, using the text-to-speech feature. Now being a sixth grader, you would probably need a little more detailed information for your assignment than what is offered by the elementary level. In this case, you would want to search the middle school level.

The middle school search of Britannica School Edition offers a more in-depth look on dogs. The article includes more than the basic facts and incorporates a historical perspective of dogs and their role throughout time. The article may also include additional images of dogs as well. However, you may have noticed that the text-to-speech feature is no longer included with the article. This is a bit of a drawback, but maybe it will be added at some point.

Now the third level, Britannica High School, offers substantially more information in its articles. This is best illustrated by searching for a country. If one were to search for the Ukraine in Britannica High School, you would first receive a brief overview article highlighting key social, political and economic issues. Additional information is placed in an index format on the left of the screen. This information offers a much more detailed description of the country including economic, demographic, cultural, and geographic information. On the right side of the article users can find fast fact information such as population and land sizes. Additionally, further reading and additional information sources are linked from Britannica to other journal articles and databases.

Britannica School Edition also offers users a place to save their work. This is called your workspace, and you can access it from any article. I found it easy enough to use, however each time I went to save an article, picture or set of search results I had to log back into my workspace… after having to do this with each search I would most likely resort to saving the desired information to my Dropbox or Skydrive accounts.
Overall, Britannica School Edition is a very easy to use resource that is not consulted as much as it should be. So the next time you are looking at an online encyclopedia be sure to take a look at Encyclopedia Britannica School Edition.