When it comes to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), when it’s said that there’s a lot of hard work that goes into creating it, that’s an understatement. Work on the third edition went underway nearly as soon as the second edition was published, with a team of 80 lexicographers behind the wheel, way back in 1989. And, as of right now, it’s only 28% complete. With that in mind, the Oxford University Press is giving some serious thought into not publishing the dictionary in a printed format.
Much like the Stanford Engineering Library, this is just one ancient piece of physical print history that seems ready to give way to the constant pressure of the digital age. Nigel Portwood, the Chief Executive of the Oxford University Press, notes that the printed dictionary market is disappearing, and it’s going at too fast a rate to think that, rationally, the OED will make it to market in a printed format. He goes on to say that it will likely take another decade before it’s even completed.
However, quick to note that the University Press hasn’t made a decision quite yet, a spokesperson said that a decision has yet to be made. However, if you’re a fan of printed dictionaries, then you’ll be happy to know that the Press doesn’t plan on giving up on them entirely, saying that people still buy them, so they’ll be happy to keep publishing them. Just looks like the Big Guy won’t be making it to the show any time soon, or in a format you can flip through pages on.
[via The Guardian]