OEDSOffice of Equity and Diversity Services (George Mason University; Fairfax, VA)
OEDSOhio Education Directory System (Ohio Department of Education)
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References in periodicals archive ?
That's part of the answer, not least because the OED's history is one of agonizingly slow emergence into physical form.
You can get a sense of the OED's intellectual capaciousness just by turning the pages in any of the enormous volumes and casting your eye down the extraordinarily detailed entries.
A dictionary, wrote the French man of letters Anatole France, is "the universe in alphabetical order." Perhaps above all others, the OED encourages the idea that it contains everything that has ever been thought or said by anybody speaking English, and is hence a record of the language's culture and history.
Understandably, lovers of the OED find it alarming that this record of human labor, which stretches over so many years and records such a vital aspect of our culture, might sublimate into a form without physical dimension.
Auden was a lifelong lover of the OED, and visitors to his flat in New York City often remarked on the battered copy of the dictionary that took up so much space on his shelves.
In June subprime made its way into the OED for the first time, with the current meaning attested from 1993.
The new OED may be a revision-minded editor's dream, but it's trickier for readers seeking a truly definitive definition.
So the electronic OED enables comparatively easy correction of past errors on the one hand, and swift addition of new words and usages on the other.
What's more, we can begin to assess the nature of the primary information from which the OED was constructed--its quotations--and the inevitable biases of selection and interpretation that went into its making.
Does a more comprehensive understanding of the OED compensate for the loss of those handsome volumes?
Nevertheless, I think the trade is worthwhile, if not for all books then certainly for the OED. Anyone who knows and loves this work, one of the greatest of human endeavors, must agree that the more fully and intensely we can engage with its contents, the better.
Digitization of the OED has been an extraordinary gift, enabling us to better understand both the strengths and the weaknesses of the dictionary, as well as to look up lots of words quickly.