As you may have heard, Microsoft plans to pull the plug on the Encarta Web sites and software later this year. Bummer! I can't say I used the service all that much, but I'm saddened to see the demise of such a well-known reference resource.

Of course, there are alternatives--lots of them (which may help explain Microsoft's decision). Here's a list of four other places you can learn about Ghandi, the Revolutionary War, the Eiffel Tower, and other encyclopedic subjects:

Britannica You can browse loads of content here, but expect a lot of pop-ups entreating you to sign up for a Premium Membership ($69.95 annually). Thankfully, there's a free 7-day trial.

Encyclopedia.com A search engine that culls from over 100 sources, including The Columbia Encyclopedia, The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English, and A Dictionary of Food Nutrition. Search results can be a little busy, but you can't argue with the price: It's all free.

Wikipedia A-doy. I have to admit, this is usually the first place I turn when seeking information, despite frequently being disappointed with the results.

World Book Online Unlike Britannica, WBO offers 3-day and 1-month subscriptions in addition to the annual option; prices are $3.95, $9.95, and $49.95, respectively. Alas, you get very little free material, so subscribing is all but mandatory.

Where do you go when you want to look stuff up? If you know of a better online resource, let me know by leaving a comment below!

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