Hopefully, you’re all already aware of the amazing resource we have at our fingertips: Encyclopaedia Britannica School Edition. Britannica is the gold standard for encyclopedias, and its online content (available through the Applewild library website) is the perfect starting point for any and all research projects. The site has recently undergone quite the facelift, though, so I thought I’d point out a few things.
The Home Page
It’s pretty easy to spot this change: the home page has been refined and simplified. It’s now so easy to choose a level and search from the home page. Hovering over each level reveals a search box, so you don’t even need to click through to start searching! The middle level replaces what used to be Compton’s Encyclopedia.
Search results and articles are now tabbed, so even if you selected the elementary level (level 1), you can still see what comes up for middle (level 2) and high (level 3). This is really handy, because if you’re reading the middle level entry on Halloween and finding that it doesn’t quite cover what you need, one click will take you to the more detailed Halloween entry in the high level.
There is now a sidebar that allows you to sort your results by content type. If you’re specifically looking for images, this is where you can easily narrow your search. This new sidebar also highlights a feature that was always there, but got little attention: the “Web’s Best Sites” feature. In addition to having its own content, Britannica has curated several outside websites that have good-quality content. Selecting this content type will give you a list of non-Britannica websites with content related to whatever you’re searching.
Britannica always had a built-in dictionary, but now it’s even easier to use. Simply double-click on a word, and a definition (from Merriam-Webster dictionary) pops up.
Table of Contents button
To help with navigation, each heading within the article is accompanied by a button that will display the entire article’s contents, so students can easily skip to another section.
In general, the new layout has much less “noise,” so students should have a much easier time finding what they’re looking for. All the content in each article displays on one page, so students no longer have to click through several pages to find what they’re looking for (or neglect to see the multiple pages and miss out on lots of content). The interface is cleaner and more modern, and the content really shines through.
A great improvement! Go check it out!