Geography magazine going on CD-ROM National Geographic to put all 108 years on computer disks

July 01, 1996|By BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS

It may finally be time to clean out the garage.

The National Geographic Society is putting all 108 years of its magazines onto computer disks that can fit on your bookshelf.

The CD-ROM versions are being produced by National Geographic Interactive, a for-profit arm of the venerable not-for-profit educational organization. The company also is unveiling an Internet version of the magazine, which went online in mid-June.

"We're taking every page of every magazine for the past 108 years and putting them on CD-ROM," said Lawrence Lux, vice president of National Geographic Interactive. That works out to about 168,500 pages.

Lux said a full decade's worth of the magazines from the 1880s to the 1940s will fit on a single disk. Two disks are needed for each decade after that because of the addition of color photography, which demands more data storage room.

Lux said the project grew out of a survey in which customers overwhelmingly said they would like to have the magazines available on disks, along with an index for all 108 years.

The reason behind the demand won't surprise anyone who has boxes of the yellow-trimmed magazines gathering dust.

"Every person, when we probed it, said they wanted to clean out their garage," Lux said.

National Geographic is one of the world's most widely distributed magazines with a circulation of 9.2 million, including 7.5 million in the United States.

The CD-ROMs, due to go on sale in the middle of next year, will be available in a boxed set containing all 108 years and on a decade-by-decade basis. The National Geographic Society hasn't decided on the price yet.

Each disk will have an Internet link to the online version of National Geographic, and the index for all the magazines will be available online. The online version will feature Web pages based on magazine articles and TV shows produced by National Geographic.

"We're not doing the magazine online by any stretch of the imagination. We're doing something completely different," Lux said.

For example, the first online edition features an interactive search for a 17th-century Spanish galleon that sank on a coral reef off the Dominican Republic.

Online visitors can tour the wreckage through graphics and even "chat" with explorers at the site. The online edition will also include tips from National Geographic photographers.

The online address is http: //www.nationalgeographic.com.

Pub Date: 7/01/96

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