Takoma Park Maryland Library · 101 Philadelphia Avenue · Takoma Park Maryland 20912 USA · 301.891.7259

July 29, 2013


OED editor James MurrayWhat are the desert isle reference books? Encyclopaedia Britannica? The World Almanac and Book of Facts? Certainly the Oxford English Dictionary would be included in the shortest of short lists..

The standard text version of the OED was too large and expensive for such a small library, although at one time we had the tiny-type version with the huge magnifying glass.

But now we have subscribed to the OED online for you. The complete OED. Fully searchable. Browseable.

Look for the sign in area in the upper right corner. One of your options will be library card login.

The word "crowdsource" may be new, 2006 is the date of the earliest reference so far unearthed by the quotation finders, but the concept certainly isn't. Generations of volunteer readers have been creating the OED since the mid 19th century. Many of them were, well, curious (in multiple senses) folks. Unusual and Brilliant.

The small professional staff has always been as interesting as the quote-gathering readers. J. R. R. Tolkien worked for the OED, as did other future writers.

Now that the OED is digital, it will not be printed again, it is updated quarterly. The new parts are seamlessly integrated into the work. Not only is "crowdsource" there, so are "Captcha" and "blue state".

We also have two books here in the library, written by Simon Winchester, about the incredible history of the OED.
423.092 The professor and the madman : a tale of murder, insanity, and the making of the Oxford English dictionary.
423.09 The meaning of everything : the story of the Oxford English dictionary.

And to make you feel guilty, Ammon Shea's 428.028 Reading the OED : one man, one year, 21,730 pages.

William Chester Minor quotation slipWhat else can you do?

Check the word of the day. (Today's is the ever relevant globaloney, n. 1943)

Daydream about joining the core of eccentric contributors. These are the current appeals.

Get lost in the Historical Thesaurus.

Look at the list of most frequently referenced sources. They include the (London) Times and Shakespeare, as you would expect, but continue on in cheery diversity with Mark Twain, the New Yorker, and usenet.

Consider the missing words controversy.

Read the blog.

Please explore and have fun.

(BTW Here is a four minute reference book quiz for you.)

Posted by library at 07:54 PM