Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The OED asks for help

The image above shows the Oxford English Dictionary's first editor Sir James Murray in the Old Scriptorium during the compilation of the first edition c. 1900. From the time creation of the OED began in 1857, the editors have appealed to the public for help in collecting citations for words from periodicals, pamphlets, works of literature, and scientific and philosophical treatises. As described in the interesting book The Professor and the Madman, obsessive American surgeon Dr. William Chester Minor sent in thousands of carefully handwritten quotations over the years. As part of the dictionary's first comprehensive revision since that first edition, a team of bibliographers led by Veronica Hurst checks every citation for for accuracy. Hurst recently found that a book entitled The Meanderings of Memory is quoted as the first source (1852) for the appearance of 49 words, including the verbs "chapelled" and "revirginize" - but can't be found in any catalogs or databases. The OED is hoping that a librarian or lexicographical sleuth will help them locate the obscure work, which may have been self-published and narrowly distributed. Katherine Connor Martin, head of U.S. dictionaries for Oxford University Press, remarks. “We like to say the OED has been crowdsourcing since before there was a word for crowdsourcing."


1 comment:

  1. "As part of the dictionary's first comprehensive revision since that first edition, a team of bibliographers led by Veronica Hurst checks every citation for for accuracy."

    Unintentional humor?

    ReplyDelete

You may add your comments here.

HALLOWEEN-Click for captions

Loading...

Labels