By: Editorial Staff A VIETNAM WAR encyclopedia produced by New York Times Co., CBS News and Apple Computer Inc. is scheduled for release late this year as interactive multimedia software on compact disc. Apple's StarCore software unit will publish and distribute the CD-ROM, which will contain more than 700 New York Times news articles, film and videotape from CBS News, photos (including a library of both sides' weap-ons), maps and audio recordings. The encyclopedia's chief correspondents will be Times Washington bureau chief R.W. Apple and CBS Evening News managing editor Dan Rather, both of whom reported extensively from Vietnam and served as Saigon bureau chiefs. Apple and CBS News executive producer Joel Heller will develop the disc's editorial content. Users will be able to pick any point on a timeline to call up pictures and text related to events in Vietnam and the United States. Maps with overlays will allow users to follow the order of battle during various stages of the war. The disc also will contain information about political and military leaders and Medal of Honor winners, lists of U.S. soldiers killed and missing in action, documents from the war and a comprehensive bibliography.