August 30, 2010

Interesting news about the OED

I found this interesting. Apparently OUP are considering the not unsurprising possibility of not printing a physical copy of the next "edition" of the OED.

Aside from questions about the utility of printing a work that in printed form spans several volumes and still requires a magnifying glass in order to be read, I find two things interesting:

- in today's climate, the editors still aoparently see the dictionary as existing in discreet "editions" rather than a work that continuously evolves over time;
- the task of formatting and printing a work (albeit a long one) that exists in electronic format is still seen as an arduous task.

The description of the OED as "the authoritative guide to the English language" is also intriguing. It is *a* dictionary produced by *one* set of human dictionary editors. I'm always perplexed by this image of certain people somehow being in direct communication with a mystical "God of Language" to which other mortals do not have access...

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