National Geographic Society Not So Environmentally Conscious

I know I’m complaining here, but National Geographic seems to have done this wrong. I purchased The Complete National Geographic — 110 Years of National Geographic on CD-ROM a few years ago. The collection of 36 CDs is an archive of every page of every issue published from 1888 through 1998. It was a joy to explore that archive, but let’s face it, I wasn’t spending every night doing it. Today I got the notion to reinstall it to search for something, but discovered that the application is far out of date and no bug fixes are available.

Let me be clear. I’m not looking for updates of the magazine content, I’m looking for updates to the application that allows me to view and search the magazine content. The NGS’s position is that I must now purchase the entire collection again:

There have been four previous iterations of the National Geographic Complete package (108 Years, 109 Years, 110 Years and 111 Years), and each was released by different companies. All are incompatible with each other and act as stand-alone products. Some were 16-bit (and thus incompatible with our current 32-bit version), others were just constructed differently by the companies contracted to produce them over the past few years.

Unfortunately the only solution for this is to purchase National Geographic: 10 Legendary Years. This will bring any version you own up to the year 2000. However, this too will be a stand-alone program (the 10 Legendary Years). It will not be accessible via your older National Geographic program.

So for example if you have the National Geographic 108 Years — it ends at 1996. For any years up to 1996 you could use your original program, but to view the years 1997-2000 you would need to open the 10 Legendary Years program separately. And yes, since the 10 Legendary Years product also includes the years 1990-1996 there will be some overlap.

The only way to have a complete and fully integrated product is to purchase the current full set, National Geographic 112 Years. We apologize for any inconvenience.

It seems NGS won’t even offer me a way to pay for an upgrade to the application that will work with current OSs. So now I have now options but to throw three pounds of CDs into the landfill.

8 thoughts on “National Geographic Society Not So Environmentally Conscious

  1. Hi
    I purchased the 110 years version years ago and was given the runaround trying to get a key to view the photos.
    I have never been able to see part of what I paid for.
    Do you by any chance have a key that works that you could email to me?


  2. I bought the DVD set (goes through 1997). If memory serves, it required a 16-bit version of Quicktime (PC) and was completely incompatible with a modern (Windows 2000+).

    But this isn’t landfill material. The set (4 DVDs) consists of program files, cross-referencing databases, etc. but in essentially everything is crammed into a single huge directory called “IMAGES”, and each issues has a subfolder (with counterintuitive name, but the last 2 digits of the year is in the name) and each one of those subfolders has a big JPG file that contains an image of a page.

    I right now doing a class project on Nicaragua and lifted (without too much effort) articles spanning from 1909 to 1985, all with interesting photos.

    So although it’s a bit inconvenient, my DVDs are still useful. In fact, since it is all stored in such a ridiculously primitive manner, I’ve got a lot more control over how I can use these materials. (Ie. I can lift images easily to paste into documents.) The pity is that the pages are complete digital pixel scans so the text isn’t in any ASCII usable format.

  3. i bought national geographic comploete from 1888-1996 but i have lost the cd key is it possible for anyone to mail me the working cd key

  4. I have the 108 year set. Do any of you fine folks know how to put the entire set on ONE (1) hard drive? Having to take each cd out each time you want to look at something is not good when you have kids. I still think it’s the coolest thing to have.

    [tags]How can you put the full set on One (1) hardrive????[/tags]

  5. I have this 1888-1997 DVD collection, my father paid for it about 200$ and it isn’t working well since beginning. Troubles all the way. It wasn’t working well on win 98 and it isn’t working at all on Xp. So what now? Buying a newer version is not a option.
    — For those keys, I think you can find ‘em on on the right side of the Cd/dvd, or contact me @

  6. I bought the 112 years for my Mom (1888 to 2000 – 32 CD’s [not DVD’s]). Unfortunately CD # 2,8,16,18,24,28,30 and 32 have ‘Wavy’ lines through them and won’t play well, and #8 and 32 won’t play at all. Is there anybody willing to copy those 7 CD’s (I’ll gladly pay you for them!). My Mom is ecstatic abut the product but nobody sells them anymore…thanks.

  7. I have the same problem. There is supposed to be a 16-bit Quicktime to downland, but that is also causing problems. I bought my set at COSTCO, at the time I was buying a new 32-bit computer. I don’t think Costco knew what it was buying. I certainly did not!

  8. I recently purchased the Complete National Geographic (CNG) on DVD. I had some issues upon installing, so uninstalled the program. Now when I try to re-install I get the following;
    “Your version of CNG is current.. You don’t need to re-install”. I do need to re-install if there is nothing there.
    I also found that when one uninstalls, it does not remove everything entirely, what doesn’t it remove?

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