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Encyclopædia Britannica Is Online; More Melissa Viruses Strike

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RALEIGH — Encyclopædia Britannica is now online, and Melissa, the computer virus that struck in March, has sisters that are back and infecting more machines.

You will pay more than $1,000 for a conventional set of Encyclopædia Britannica, and there is a CD-ROM version for only $60. Now, the venerable publication offers itself free online.

However, the response has been so great that all you get when you try to log in is an apology. Millions of Net users tried to access the company Web site Wednesday, jamming the servers.

Thirty-two volumes and 44 million words will be available. You can still subscribe to an online version for $5 a month.

This is a terrific history resource as evidenced by browsing through the special section on the invasion of Normandy.

Britannica has been losing money for years, a victim of computer-driven encyclopedia such as Microsoft's Encarta.

If the free online version is this good, it will be a site many people will want to bookmark.

Beware of Melissa! The macro virus has three sisters on the loose: Melissa MP, U and U Gen1. They arevariants of the old Melissaand spread through e-mail.

They trigger when an infected document is opened. The cure is to download the latest version of your virus protection software, and keep it updated.

TheCollectible Memorabilia Network AuctionpushesNASCARmemorabilia to helpChildren's Miracle Networkhospitals.

There's a good deal on a used tire from Joe Nemechek's car and several metal models.

It is a neat idea, but there has been little movement on this site so far.