Out of Africa

A remarkable new CD-ROM delivers a vivid, multimedia encyclopedia about black people

When the delivery guys drop stacks of the latest CD-ROMs in my office each day, my first reaction is usually a groan. It's hard to get excited about the latest Barbie disc or Wheel of Fortune for the PC. But last week, after I checked out Encarta Africana, a two-disc, multimedia reference work by Microsoft on the history and culture of Africa and people of African descent, I wanted to kiss the FedEx guy. This remarkable new work blends old-fashioned scholarship and storytelling with color videos and stereo sound to bring its subject alive, starting with a video lecture by poet...

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