Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite 2010 Review

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PROS / Britannica Ultimate has a large variety of detailed topics.

CONS / It can be easy to get lost in the system at times.

VERDICT / Britannica Ultimate is the perfect resource for anyone who wants to learn.

Encyclopedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite 2010 by Encyclopedia Britannica is the only software in this review that we gave a perfect score, which helped it earn our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award. This encyclopedia software package provides everything to satisfy inquiring minds including 106,000 articles, 34,000 plus pictures and multimedia, including video and music clips.

Hone in on the information you're looking for with a user-friendly toolbar. Then use the report wizard and research organizer to help write a paper for school or work. Moreover, the Ultimate Reference Suite comes with Encyclopedia Britannica's first-class customer support.

Icons at the top of the screen facilitate navigation between the dictionary, atlas, timelines and other worthwhile tools. Quickly move between the advanced, student and elementary libraries by clicking the appropriate tabs.

A convenient dropdown bar at the top of the screen displays extra tools and a link to the Britannica homepage.

Ease of Use

Icons at the top of the screen facilitate navigation between the dictionary, atlas, timelines and organizer. Quickly move between the student and elementary libraries by clicking the appropriate tabs.

A convenient dropdown bar at the top of the screen displays extra tools and a link to the Britannica homepage.

Feature Set

The Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite has all of the information of the Britannica print set at 1/30 of the cost. It also comes with a selection of three different libraries for children, students and for the advanced user.

The advanced library, which is geared toward adults and college students, has a detailed list of information on almost any topic you can think of. It includes historical and up to date articles covering main topics and subcategories with reference to your topic.

The advanced library also includes more pictures than the other two. When looking up a subject, a column comes up on the left hand side, which contains articles with the stated topic, images and multimedia information.

Also available with the advanced library is an atlas and a timeline. The atlas shows a map of the world and allows you to click in on nations, countries and cities and states. When you click on a certain country, city or state an article will appear with information about that area. It will tell you things such as what era the area originated in, how it was colonized, struggles it has overcome and what its current day status is.

The timeline is simply that; a timeline. You can look up subjects according to genre such as; art, lifestyle, architecture, literature, exploration, medicine and many, many more. In each of these genres a timeline will appear which will tells the history of that subject. You can trace the progress of medicine from the very beginning to the present day and learn about the many advances humans have made.

The second library available through Britannica Ultimate 2010 is the Britannica student library. This library has more color to it and is geared toward students around their teenage years. The student library includes most of the same features as the advanced library, but the subjects are not as detailed.

The student library also includes features such as the homework helpdesk and learning games and activities. These are unique applications which make learning easier and more fun. The homework helpdesk has a learning games and activities section where you can do activities to increase your skills in math, science, language arts or social science.

In each section there are subcategories according to age and level. In each of the subcategories you can look at a study guide or go in and do some work. To do any of the learning activities, you must be connected to the internet because the activities will direct you to a page on the Britannica website.

Other categories in the homework help center are “explore articles” where you can look at articles referencing to any particular subject. You have access to a reference center where you can look words up in a dictionary or thesaurus, look at historical timelines, a world atlas and more.

There is also a section called the How To section where you can get help with writing a research paper, book review and science report. You can also get help with your science fair project or oral presentation.

With its many features, Britannica makes dreaded school reports easier to research, organize and write. You can efficiently browse through material that relates to your topic with Britannica Brainstormer. Then use the report wizard and research organizer to write a scholarly article on your topic.

The third library is geared toward children in their elementary years. This library has bright colors and cartoon characters that keep the children’s attention throughout their Britannica experience. The children’s library is much like the student library in that it has a homework help and a learning games and activities section.

The children’s library has a search section similar to that of the student and advanced libraries, the only difference being that when an article is opened the language of the article is more simple, to make it easy for children to understand. The children’s library also has slightly less subjects than the other two libraries.

Search Capabilities

The search bar helps you sort through an array of information to find the facts you need. Uncover a broad range of information with a regular search or locate exact phrases, partial terms, entire terms, matching titles or even matching text with the advanced search feature.

During a topic search, the program creates a list of everything it can find on that topic, including all of the encyclopedia entries, images and multimedia files—then you can choose what you want to investigate further.

You can also conduct a search through the A-Z quick search section. Here a list of all categories is posted and you can look through them and see if there is something which might interest you.

Ease of Installation

We had no problems during the installation and setup of this product.


Britannica provides a phone number and email address so you can contact customer service. For quick reference, you can refer to the knowledge base or FAQs page and there's also a quick link to the product homepage.


Every family that enjoys learning or has students in the home should have a reference library and if you want the best, Encyclopedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite 2010 is it. Britannica has combined the sophistication and all-inclusiveness of their print set with quick-search capabilities and media files to create a truly Ultimate Reference Suite.