"The new 1996 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia (GME) is a treasure trove of information to experience and explore." So states the publisher's introduction to the cd. I don't disagree.
The 1996 GME is a significant advance beyond last year's release. The interface is cleaner (though still not quite as intuitive as Encarta) and the product continues to add important content. This is consistent with my observation on GME '95 that the "focus on content rather than technology [is what] distinguishes it from Encarta."
As a freelance writer, I find GME '96 handy enough that I keep it in its own cd transport. Several times this week I needed a date or name. If you need a bread-and-butter cd-encyclopedia, GME '96 is hard to beat.
The most interesting feature of GME '96 is the integration of CompuServe online information through internal hyperlinks. Linking to secondary and more detailed sources via digital networks represents the wave of the future, and Grolier intends to be a player. The multimedia is still sparse due to the data limitations of the modern cd, but that's to be expected of all single-cd reference resources. As with the American Heritage Dictionary, audio resources may be capricious for Windows NT 3.5 users.