Britannica 2007 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD is essentially an upgrade of last year's edition with a few tweaked areas that make it easier to load and search. The first thing we noticed was how much quicker it was to install, which may be a small point, but it means you won't find it as resource-hungry, so it'll run on even the most basic of laptops. To make the most of the package you'll need to be connected to the internet, as the software links with online databases to help widen the search possibilities.

You'll find the suite is broken into three sections, the most advanced for adults, an intermediary for secondary school students, and entry-level for junior users. Whichever you choose the interface is the same, with a search engine as well as an alphabetical list of entries on the left-hand side of the page. Naturally, search results are filtered and suited to the user type.

Perhaps the main problem with this suite is that it tries too hard to be streamlined, meaning you don't find yourself wandering about sections. This is something Microsoft Encarta almost encourages, as it allows you to read around a subject more freely.

If it's content you're after, then you won't be disappointed, as you'll find 23,500 photos, maps, videos, sound clips, and animations to accompany the entries. This may sound like a lot, but when you think there are more than 100,000 entries, it soon becomes quite a text-heavy search. Among other resources within Encyclopaedia Britannica 2007 are its rebuilt pop-up dictionary and thesaurus.

If you can't find what you need on the disk, there is also a database of over 150,000 trusted websites that can be connected to in order to help you find information.

Along with the DVD, you'll also get a year's worth of online updates, which can be set up to download automatically. You can also check the website to see if there are any other updates which may not be included in the scheduled download. Encyclopaedia Britannica 2007 isn't a bad tool for a family to have, as it certainly helps with even basic homework topics.