Mindscape Australian Infopedia 3.0
- Easy to use interface, ten separate packages in one
- Out of date, poor multimedia offering, not enough detail
The Australian Infopedia isn’t very good, but it’s certainly cheap
Price$ 14.95 (AUD)
Australian Infopedia 3.0 should in theory be a great product. It brings together a plethora of useful reference tools into one easy to use package. There's an encyclopedia, dictionary, thesaurus, atlas and even a medical guide. Better still, this is an "Australian" encyclopedia, so we were hoping to leave behind the irritating Americanisms that so often plague reference works such as Encarta.
Unfortunately there is one major flaw that leaves the Australian Infopedia as all but useless: it's terribly outdated. The fact that the encyclopedia comes on a single CD-ROM should immediately set off alarm bells. For a multimedia product such as this, it is virtually impossible to squeeze an acceptable number of images and video onto one CD-ROM. Worse still is that some areas of the product have not been updated since 1992. The world has changed a great deal since 1992, yet if you were to use this product as a reference guide you would never know.
The Australian Infopedia is split into ten basic components: Compton's Encyclopedia, a trio of Macquarie volumes, Compton's Atlas, the 1997 World Almanac, Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary, Holt's Encyclopedia of History, Compton's Internet Directory and finally, the Columbia University Home Medical guide. An easy to use search tool provides simultaneous access to all the products and can also filter out videos or images. This initially sounds very promising, especially given the bargain price tag. Yet each product is flawed in such a way as to make the whole package of little use.
We have several issues with the encyclopedia. Firstly, it hasn't been updated for nearly ten years. For a supposedly "complete" reference collection this is a huge flaw; anyone hoping to browse recent events will be sorely disappointed. However, even the older articles simply aren't up to scratch. The information provided just isn't in great enough detail. We looked at a random selection of articles and compared them to articles from the freely available Wikipedia. Without exception the Compton's articles offered far less depth and minimal analysis. Wikipedia also offered a far broader range of related articles than Compton's. While Compton's has the benefit of being reliably sourced and properly edited, we'd pick Wikipedia any day.
Macquarie Dictionary, Thesaurus and Quotations
We were hoping that the inclusion of these Australia-specific volumes might save the package from obsolescence, but unfortunately they too proved to be thoroughly mediocre. The main problem here is not so much their outdated nature but the lack of content. The publishers have chosen to use the concise version of the Macquarie Dictionary meaning that many definitions are not included. Similarly the thesaurus and book of quotations suffer from a lack of entries. This is a shame as their inclusion would have been worth the price tag alone.
Other Packages and Multimedia
The remaining packages are similarly disappointing. The Atlas offers far less detail than we would have liked. Using free online alternatives such as www.multimap.com.au or Google Earth would prove far more useful. The World Almanac, Geographical Dictionary and Encyclopedia of History again prove to be too outdated and not detailed enough to be of much use. The Internet directory aims to provide a database of Web sites that is searchable by category, but like most of the package, these are outdated and many no longer even work.
The final package, the Home Medical Guide offers entries that may transcend time but we still felt the package could have been better implemented. There is little help to self-diagnose ailments and, once again, the content can all be found for free online. Our final complaint to round off a thoroughly unimpressive package is the poor multimedia showing. The distribution on CD-ROM severely limits the Infopedia's possibilities. A paltry 68 videos are offered with a miniscule viewing window and grainy footage. Many of the videos are also accompanied by American voice-overs, which seems odd considering the package's Australian credentials. The 5000 or so images are also small and of low resolution. Once again Wikipedia was able to match or better the multimedia efforts of the Infopedia.
Overall we can't recommend any single part of the Infopedia on its own. Put together, however, you may feel the collection of substandard packages is worth the relatively small asking price. Two wrongs don't make a right, but perhaps ten do.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 2 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
- 3 Huawei GR5 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 4 Ring Video Doorbell review
- 5 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- AMD Radeon Pro Graphics powers Amazon Web Services AppStream 2.0
- Trend Micro Strengthens its Security Offerings in Trend Micro Security
- Billions of devices at risk as Bluetooth-bourne vulnerability exposed
- Here's the Apple macOS High Sierra release date
- Adobe and Microsoft expand productivity partnership
PCW Evaluation Team
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
- LG G6 Plus: Full, in-depth review
- First Look: The Evil Within 2
- Huawei Y5 (2017)
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - Online PokerNSW
- FTSolutions ArchitectsOther
- FTPortfolio Manager/ Process Methodology Manager.Other
- FTProject Coordinator/AdministratorOther
- FTSenior Digital ProducerNSW
- FTAnalyst Programmer - Contact Centre ApplicationsOther
- CCDataStage DeveloperNSW
- TPBusiness Intelligence AnalystQLD
- FTRESTful services - Senior Tech LeadACT
- FTBilling Consultant - TelecommunicationsOther
- FTOracle DeveloperVIC
- FTSenior Software Engineer - C++ and NodeQLD
- FTProject Support Officer (Part Time)SA
- FTSenior Project AnalystOther
- FTDigital Program Manager - Web & eCommerceOther
- FTJunior Business Intelligence Analyst - Power BIOther
- FTSenior Oracle DeveloperOther
- FTMulesoft Integration DeveloperOther
- CCApplications PackagerNSW
- FTSenior Business AnalystOther
- FTDeployment Project CoordinatorOther
- CCThe job "Automation Test Analyst Guidewire " is now ExpiredQLD
- TPSenior .Net Developer - 6 months contractQLD
- CCSenior DevOps ManagerVIC