Infonautics' Homework Helper now available on Prodigy; Starting Feb. 15, children can launch complex online research by asking questions in plain English.WAYNE, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 14, 1995--Starting today, children will be able to use Infonautics' Homework Helper to perform sophisticated online research simply by asking a question in plain English Plain English (sometimes known, more broadly, as plain language) is a communication style that focuses on considering the audience's needs when writing. It recommends avoiding unnecessary words and avoiding jargon, technical terms, and long and ambiguous sentences. .
Prodigy is the first online service to offer the Homework Helper, a complete family reference library that makes online research easy and fun. As part of a launch promotion to encourage its subscribers to try the new service, Prodigy is offering two free hours on the Homework Helper.
Using the Homework Helper, students can pose a question in everyday language and launch a comprehensive search through millions of pages of content in dozens of databases, retrieving text and images from such leading sources as Simon & Schuster Simon & Schuster
U.S. publishing company. It was founded in 1924 by Richard L. Simon (1899–1960) and M. Lincoln Schuster (1897–1970), whose initial project, the original crossword-puzzle book, was a best-seller. , Gannett, Reuters, World Almanac almanac, originally, a calendar with notations of astronomical and other data. Almanacs have been known in simple form almost since the invention of writing, for they served to record religious feasts, seasonal changes, and the like. , The Los Angeles Times Los Angeles Times
Morning daily newspaper. Established in 1881, it was purchased and incorporated in 1884 by Harrison Gray Otis (1837–1917) under The Times-Mirror Co. (the hyphen was later dropped from the name). , USA Today USA Today
National U.S. daily general-interest newspaper, the first of its kind. Launched in 1982 by Allen Neuharth, head of the Gannett newspaper chain, it reached a circulation of one million within a year and surpassed two million in the 1990s. , The Economist, Journal Graphics and Compton's NewMedia. Sources include full text encyclopedias, international news wires, more than 150 full text newspapers, more than 400 magazines, and guidebooks, maps, photo libraries, textbooks, basic reference works and major works of literature.
Within seconds of asking a question, the Homework Helper searches all databases simultaneously and provides a list of pertinent articles and images ranked in order of relevance. For example, a search for "Who said 'Et tu Brute'?" will yield citations to an encyclopedia article about Julius Caesar Julius Caesar: see Caesar, Julius. , the full text of Shakespeare's play and common references and allusions from newspapers, magazines and other sources.
If children are intrigued by something they read in a Homework Helper article, they can highlight the word or phrase and click on "new search" to delve deeper into the topic or to send the Homework Helper off in a new direction. And if students stumble upon an unfamiliar word, they can highlight the word and click on the dictionary or thesaurus icons to get a definition.
Unlike most online research services, the Homework Helper has built-in intelligence. If a child asks it "What is the smartest animal?" the Homework Helper knows to look for articles on "clever creatures" and "intelligent beasts" as well. There is no need to worry about the complexities of Boolean logic The "mathematics of logic," developed by English mathematician George Boole in the mid-19th century. Its rules govern logical functions (true/false) and are the foundation of all electronic circuits in the computer. or arcane database access languages -- a real advantage compared to other database information services See Information Systems. .
With the Homework Helper, students can narrow the database search to specified dates, authors, subjects or publications. Students also can ask the Homework Helper to retrieve only materials appropriate to their age or reading level.
Lloyd Morrisett, chairman of Children's Television Workshop Children's Television Workshop: see Cooney, Joan Ganz. and president of the Markle Foundation, believes the Homework Helper will transform how education occurs in the home. "The Homework Helper builds curiosity and a true sense of information exploration," he said. "This research and information tool is fun and could empower students to become academic achievers." Infonautics President Marvin Weinberger says he wants children to enjoy exploring the Homework Helper's vast libraries of information. "We hope the Homework Helper will turn even the most jaded student into a passionate Infonaut It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles. ."
The Homework Helper works on any Windows compatible computer. Initially available on the Prodigy online service, monthly subscriptions to the Homework Helper cost $9.95 for two hours of usage. Additional hours are available at Prodigy's "plus" rate of $2.95 an hour. (For subscription information, call 1-800/PRODIGY.) As part of a launch promotion, Prodigy is offering its subscribers two free hours of Homework Helper.
Infonautics Corp. was founded in November 1992 to create a new class of accessible and affordable electronic information services. The Homework Helper is its first product. As part of its mission, Infonautics is committed to facilitating universal access to information by pioneering new business models, developing breakthrough technology and exploring new ways to deliver a vast wealth of content. The company is based in Wayne.
CONTACT: Edelman Public Relations public relations, activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most , Mountain View, Calif.
David Harrah or Marivi Lerdo, 415/968-4033