Monday, 30 August 2010

OED not dead, just digital

There have been a number of reports and blogposts (for example on NPR, the Washington Post, Fast Company) about the imminent demise of the print version of the Oxford English Dictionary.  Some of the headlines paint this as a sad loss. Librarians on the whole, however, don't mind.  The behemoth print OED in all its volumes is massively heavy, takes up a lot of shelf space, and is daunting to the average reader. Some libraries - and people who want the OED but don't have the room - decided to get the wacky 2-volume "Compact Edition", which shrinks the size of the OED by the simple method of making the font so tiny you need a magnifying glass to read it (the magnifying glass is included). 
The electronic version, by comparison, takes up no room.  The first electronic version had a clunky cumbersome interface that was no joy to use, but several years ago was completely revamped and the electronic version is now very user-friendly with a supple, intuitive interface. 
Let's face it, reference books are just plain better when they're digital.
But you don't have to take my word for it: Pitt's subscription to the OED is here.

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