Using Print and CD-ROM Encyclopedias


A good place to start to gather information on an unfamiliar topic is an encyclopedia. There are two encyclopedia formats available to you: print encyclopedias and CD-ROM encyclopedias.

Tips for Using Print Encyclopedias


Tips for Using CD-ROM Encyclopedias

Advantages of Different Encyclopedia Formats


  • Because of the multivolume format, several researchers can use a single set at the same time.
  • Programs on computer do not depend as heavily on a user's alphabetizing skills.
  • Book format allows the reader to view the entire article without scrolling.
  • Articles and pictures retrieved can be printed out.
  • Books can be used without electricity and can be moved anywhere, including being checked out for use at home.
  • Articles often include multimedia information such as sound, video, and/or animation.
  • Books can sometimes be used more quickly because they are not dependent on being turned on and loaded on a machine.
  • Boolean searching allows a user to search for more than one keyword at the same time.
  • Print encyclopedias usually contain more information.
  • Most libraries can update these encyclopedias more often because of the lower price.


Make sure that you cite the source when you take notes from any encyclopedia. If you are using MLA format, your citations should look like this:

Print Encyclopedia
   Boritt, Gabor S. "Civil War." The World Book Encyclopedia..

CD-ROM Encyclopedia
   Vandiver, Frank E. "Civil War, U. S." 1996 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia.
    Vers. 8.03. Danbury, CT: Grolier, 1995.