Reference software

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Reference software is software which emulates and expands upon print reference forms including the dictionary, translation dictionary, encyclopaedia, thesaurus, and atlas. Like print references, reference software can either be general or specific to a domain, and often includes maps and illustrations, as well as bibliography and statistics. Reference software may include multimedia content including animations, audio, and video, which further illustrate a concept. Well designed reference software improves upon the navigability of print references, through the use of search functionality and hyperlinks.

Dictionary collection of words and their meanings

A dictionary, sometimes known as a wordbook, is a collection of words in one or more specific languages, often arranged alphabetically, which may include information on definitions, usage, etymologies, pronunciations, translation, etc. or a book of words in one language with their equivalents in another, sometimes known as a lexicon. It is a lexicographical reference that shows inter-relationships among the data.

Thesaurus reference work that lists words grouped together according to similarity of meaning

In general usage, a thesaurus is a reference work that lists words grouped together according to similarity of meaning, in contrast to a dictionary, which provides definitions for words, and generally lists them in alphabetical order. The main purpose of such reference works for users "to find the word, or words, by which [an] idea may be most fitly and aptly expressed," quoting Peter Mark Roget, author of Roget's Thesaurus.

Atlas A collection of maps

An atlas is a collection of maps; it is typically a bundle of maps of Earth or a region of Earth.

Origins and development

Many dictionaries and encyclopedias rushed into CD-ROM editions soon after the widespread introduction of the CD-ROM to home computers. A second major development occurred as the internet also became widely available in homes, with reference works becoming available online as well. The conversion of previously print-only reference materials to electronic format marked a major change to the marketing and accessibility of such works. A striking case study is that of the venerable Encyclopædia Britannica, which was previously only available at prices of USD 1500 and higher, restricting it to the better libraries and the wealthy. Today, the Encyclopædia Britannica and World Book Encyclopedia retail in electronic format for around 50 USD, with cheaper OEM versions sometimes bundled with new computers. Such dramatic changes brought conventionally restricted knowledge repositories to the fingertips of an almost universal audience in a period of less than 11 years. The opportunities brought by new media enticed new competitors into the reference software market. One of the earliest and most well-known was Microsoft Encarta, first introduced on CD-ROM and then also moving online along with other major reference works. In the dictionaries market, one of the more prolific brands was Merriam-Webster, which released CD-ROM and then online versions of English dictionaries, thesauri and foreign language dictionaries. Since 2010, reference materials have begun to appear as apps on Smartphones. In the field of English as a foreign or second language, this is seen as an interesting pedagogical development and is the subject of much discussion , as language learners increasingly abandon print dictionaries for online editions and apps like the one produced by Macmillan Education . A list of online dictionaries is maintained under "dictionaries". Wikipedia and its offspins (such as Wiktionary) marked a new departure in educational reference software. Previous encyclopedias and dictionaries had compiled their contents on the basis of invited and closed teams of specialists. The Wiki concept allowed anyone and everyone to join in creating and editing an online set of reference works.

CD-ROM pre-pressed compact disc

A CD-ROM is a pre-pressed optical compact disc that contains data. Computers can read—but not write to or erase—CD-ROMs, i.e. it is a type of read-only memory.

<i>Encyclopædia Britannica</i> General knowledge English-language encyclopaedia

The Encyclopædia Britannica, formerly published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia. It was written by about 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 contributors. The 2010 version of the 15th edition, which spans 32 volumes and 32,640 pages, was the last printed edition.

The World Book Encyclopedia is an encyclopedia published in the United States. According to the company, its mission is to "enhance learning and reading for children around the world by developing trustworthy, engaging content to create products that will engage children of all ages at home, on the go, in the classroom or in libraries worldwide." The encyclopedia was designed to cover major areas of knowledge uniformly, but it shows particular strength in scientific, technical, and medical subjects.

See also

<i>Encarta</i> digital multimedia encyclopedia

Microsoft Encarta was a digital multimedia encyclopedia published by Microsoft Corporation from 1993 to 2009. Originally sold on CD-ROM or DVD, it was also later available on the World Wide Web via an annual subscription – although later many articles could also be viewed free online with advertisements. By 2008, the complete English version, Encarta Premium, consisted of more than 62,000 articles, numerous photos and illustrations, music clips, videos, interactive content, timelines, maps, atlases and homework tools.

A CD-ROM encyclopedia is an encyclopedia delivered as reference software on a CD-ROM disc for use on a personal computer. This was the usual way computer users accessed encyclopedic knowledge from early 1990s until the late 1990s. Later DVD discs replaced CD-ROMs and from mid-2000s internet encyclopedias became dominant and replaced disc-based software encyclopedias. Some examples of CD-ROM encyclopedia are Encarta, Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, and Britannica.

The following tables compare reference management software. Readers using the table to choose reference management software should note the product's "latest stable release date". An older release date suggests that the product is not currently supported and users may encounter technical issues and receive little to no technical support.

Related Research Articles

Encyclopedia type of reference work

An encyclopedia or encyclopædia is a reference work or compendium providing summaries of knowledge from either all branches or from a particular field or discipline. Encyclopedias are divided into articles or entries that are often arranged alphabetically by article name and sometimes by thematic categories. Encyclopedia entries are longer and more detailed than those in most dictionaries. Generally speaking, unlike dictionary entries—which focus on linguistic information about words, such as their etymology, meaning, pronunciation, use, and grammatical forms—encyclopedia articles focus on factual information concerning the subject named in the article's title.

Reference work book or serial publication to which one can refer for confirmed facts

A reference work is a book or periodical to which one can refer for information. The information is intended to be found quickly when needed. Reference works are usually referred to for particular pieces of information, rather than read beginning to end. The writing style used in these works is informative; the authors avoid use of the first person, and emphasize facts. Many reference works are compiled by a team of contributors whose work is coordinated by one or more editors rather than by an individual author. Indices are commonly provided in many types of reference work. Updated editions are usually published as needed, in some cases annually. Reference works include dictionaries, thesauruses, encyclopedias, almanacs, bibliographies, and catalogs. Many reference works are available in electronic form and can be obtained as application software, CD-ROMs, DVDs, or online through the Internet.

<i>Encyclopedia Americana</i> encyclopedic dictionary

Encyclopedia Americana is one of the largest general encyclopedias in the English language. Following the acquisition of Grolier in 2000, the encyclopedia has been produced by Scholastic.

Electronic publishing includes the digital publication of e-books, digital magazines, and the development of digital libraries and catalogues. It also includes an editorial aspect, that consists of editing books, journals or magazines that are mostly destined to be read on a screen.

An online encyclopedia, also called a digital encyclopedia is an encyclopedia accessible through the internet, such as Wikipedia. The idea to build a free encyclopedia using the Internet can be traced at least to the 1994 Interpedia proposal; it was planned as an encyclopedia on the Internet to which everyone could contribute materials. The project never left the planning stage and was overtaken by a key branch of old printed encyclopedias.

Merriam-Webster American publisher

Merriam-Webster, Inc., is an American company that publishes reference books and is especially known for its dictionaries.

Educational software is a term used for any computer software which is made for any educational purpose. It encompasses different ranges from language learning software to classroom management software to reference software, etc. The purpose of all this software is to make some part of education more effective and efficient.

Compton's Encyclopedia and Fact-Index is a home and school encyclopedia first published in 1922 as Compton's Pictured Encyclopedia. The word "Pictured" was removed from the title with the 1968 edition. The encyclopedia is now advertised as Compton's by Britannica.

Grolier publisher

Grolier is one of the largest U.S. publishers of general encyclopedias, including The Book of Knowledge (1910), The New Book of Knowledge (1966), The New Book of Popular Science (1972), Encyclopedia Americana (1945), Academic American Encyclopedia (1980), and numerous incarnations of a CD-ROM encyclopedia (1986–2003).

Electronic dictionary dictionary whose data exists in digital form and can be accessed through a number of different media

An electronic dictionary is a dictionary whose data exists in digital form and can be accessed through a number of different media. Electronic dictionaries can be found in several forms, including software installed on tablet or desktop computers, mobile apps, web applications, and as a built-in function of E-readers. They may be free or require payment.

In Japanese, encyclopedias are known as hyakka jiten (百科事典), which literally means "book of a hundred subjects," and can trace their origins to the early Heian period, in the ninth century. Encyclopedic works were published in Japan for well over a thousand years before Japan's first modern encyclopedias were published after Japan's opening to the West, during the Meiji Period (1868–1912). Several encyclopedias have been published in Japan since World War II, including several children's encyclopedias, and two major titles are currently available: the Encyclopedia Nipponica, published by Shogakukan, and the Sekai Dai-Hyakka Jiten, compiled by the Heibonsha publishing company. A Japanese Wikipedia is also available.

Microsoft Bookshelf software reference collection

Microsoft Bookshelf was a reference collection introduced in 1987 as part of Microsoft's extensive work in promoting CD-ROM technology as a distribution medium for electronic publishing. The original MS-DOS version showcased the massive storage capacity of CD-ROM technology, and was accessed while the user was using one of 13 different word processor programs that Bookshelf supported. Subsequent versions were produced for Windows and became a commercial success as part of the Microsoft Home brand. It was often bundled with personal computers as a cheaper alternative to the Encarta Suite. The Encarta Deluxe Suite / Reference Library versions also bundled Bookshelf.

Biblical software or Bible software is a group of computer applications designed to read, study and in some cases discuss biblical texts and concepts. Biblical software programs are similar to e-book readers in that they include digitally formatted books, may be used to display a wide variety of inspirational books and Bibles, and can be used on portable computers. However, biblical software is geared more toward word and phrase searches, accessing study bible notes and commentaries, referencing various modern translations, cross-referencing similar passages and topics, biblical dictionaries, original language texts and language tools, maps, charts, and other e-books deemed relevant to understanding texts from a philological approach.

Focus Multimedia Ltd is a multi-faceted publisher and retailer of video games, consumer software and mobile apps. Founded in 1995, the company is headquartered in the town of Rugeley in Staffordshire, England, and has about 30 employees.

Encyclopedias have progressed from the beginning of history in written form, through medieval and modern times in print, and most recently, displayed on computer and distributed via computer networks.

<i>The Random House Encyclopedia</i>

The Random House Encyclopedia is an English language one-volume encyclopaedia published by Random House. Its first edition was published in 1977 and revised edition 1990. It was divided into two sections: Colorpedia, which is made of lengthy articles and Alphapedia, which has short alphabetically arranged ones. There was an electronic format made of the encyclopaedia from its 1990 edition. It was made for the MS-DOS 3.3 operating system and was distributed on sixteen 5 ¼-inch floppy disks and also by eight 3 ½ floppys. It has more than 20,000 articles.