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Help with CDs, USB Flash Drives and Digital Downloads

The Nautical Research Guild publishes a variety of products that are delivered on CD-ROM (disc), USB Flash Drives, and Digital Downloads.  These include archives of the Nautical Research Journal, Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder, as well as some model building practicums.

Below you'll find information on the system requirements and other useful information for using these products.

System Requirements

To use one of our products on CD, USB Flash Drive, or Digital Download, you'll need:

    • A computer
    • Either a CD drive (for CD products), or a USB port (for USB Flash Drive products)
    • A web browser installed on your computer
    • Software for viewing PDF files

Any normal computer (desktop or laptop) will work.  You can use Windows or Mac.  For best results, a modern computer works best, but most products should work just fine even on older computers.  These products do not work with smart phones or tablets.

You'll need a web browser installed, as some content may be delivered as web pages that are saved on the CD or USB Flash Drive.  However, you do not need an internet connection.  The web browser is just used for viewing content locally.

For Digital Download products, you will need an internet connection to download the product.  Once downloaded and saved to your computer, you can use the product without an active internet connection.

Some products make use of PDF files.  These are standard digital documents that can be viewed on almost any computer.  For more information on viewing PDF files, click here.

Products with Digital Download

When you purchase a product using the Digital Download option, you'll be able to download the product as soon as your order is processed.  You can save the download to your computer and access it any time.  When you purchase a Digital Download product, you will NOT receive a physical copy in the mail.

Products on CD

To use products delivered on CD, you will need a working CD drive on your computer.  These were very common on older computers, but many modern computers (such as Apple computers) do not have a CD drive.  If you're unsure if your computer has a CD drive, look for a tray or slot on your computer that opens up.

Products on USB Flash Drive

USB Flash Drives are sometimes referred to as "thumb drives".  These are very small devices that plug into your computer using a USB "port" and can contain any kind of data.  Compared to CDs, they are smaller, faster, more reliable, and store much more information.  

Nearly every computer made since the late 1990s has one or more USB ports.  You likely use a USB port to plug in your keyboard or mouse.

To use a product on USB Flash Drive, you'll need a free USB port you can plug the drive into.  There are different kinds of USB ports, but only two are common on desktops and laptops.  

  • USB-A is what most people think of as a USB port.  It is rectangular and only plugs in one way.  These are most common, and are found on most computers built in the 1990s or later.  This is what you'll need for NRG products on USB Flash Drive.
  • USB-C is a newer style port, that has only been used in higher-end computers made after 2016.  These ports are smaller, a little rounded on the sides, and can be plugged in either way.  These are mostly found on Apple computers.  Computers that only have USB-C ports will need an adapter to use the NRG's USB Flash Drive.

The USB drives used by the NRG are the standard, widely available USB-A type.

Choosing Between CD and USB Flash Drive

If you're not sure which version of the product to order, consider the following:

    • Do you have a CD drive?  If not, get the USB Flash Drive version.
    • Do you have a free USB port?  If you have a really old computer without USB, or if all your USB ports are in use, get the CD version if you have a CD drive.
    • Do you have lots of other CDs?  If you've already got a collection of CDs, you might want to simply add to that collection with the CD version.
    • Want the most future-proof option?  Get the USB Flash Drive if you plan to get a new computer and want to ensure the product will work on your computer.  Many new computers don't have a CD drive, but USB will be around for a very long time.
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