15
Dec10

Oxford English Dictionary Is a Polished-Up Jewel

Posted by: G. Karen Merguerian

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The new Oxford English Dictionary Online is now available through the NU Libraries.

If you love the OED, don’t be alarmed by the word “new”! All the content, the words, pronunciations, etymologies, definitions, and everything else you love and trust is still there, unchanged.

But for this new edition, Oxford has added new content, new ways of appreciating the English language, and new technical features.

New content

From a productivity standpoint, for my money the most important content addition is the integration of a thesaurus. Each definition of the word has a prominent “Thesaurus” link that allows you to see a few alternatives. The dictionary is also integrated with the Historical Thesaurus to the OED, which places your word in an outline form with related words.

In fact, overall, Oxford has placed a high value on historical content and there’s a lot more word history to explore. For example:

*Links to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography give you more information about the authors of the example quotations. (For full biographies from this resource, see Snell Library’s print edition.)

*A list of most-cited authors and texts, updated each quarter, shows you what the OED uses for sources.

*Essays by OED staff historians have also been added on the history of the English language.

*A fun time-killing feature called “Timelines” leverages the incredible amount of information packed into the dictionary by allowing you to analyze it more like a database. Choose a broad topic like “Military” and see when new military words were added to the language. Sort them by region (Ireland, Australia, etc…) to see in what part of the world they originated. Link to lists of those words for browsing.

New functionality

An updated design and some great new technical features allow you to navigate the site more easily and appreciate the incredible richness and history of our language.

*When you do a search with many results, the first screen gives you a peek into each word so you know which one you want.

*Once you select a word, a scroll bar along the definition allows you to navigate more easily.

*A text enlargement feature is built into the definition page.

*The pronunciation symbols are explained in a pop-up box for every word.

*You can save instead of just printing and emailing.

*”About this entry” tells you when the word first entered the dictionary, what other words link to this word, and other facts.

*Each word has a “Cite” button that gives you the correct citation for MLA and Chicago for your bibliography, for download to Endnote, ProCite, RefWorks, and Reference Manager software.

*During your session, the dictionary remembers the words you searched so you can go back to them.

*”My Oxford English Dictionary” is a new feature for saving your searches, creating folders to organize your favorite words, and setting preferences such as how much information you want to display on each page.

How did we even tolerate this dictionary before this update? It’s hard to imagine! Enjoy the beautiful polish and shine on this online dictionary, a true jewel of the English language.

Posted in: English as a Second Language, Foreign Languages and Literatures, Library News and Events, Research Online

4 Comments

  1. Rebecca Bailey, December 15, 2010:

    This looks great! I can’t wait to play around with it some more. :)

  2. Amanda Rust, December 15, 2010:

    Where else can you find that scoundrelry means “scoundrels, collective”, and synonyms are roguery, rascaldom, and loselism?

  3. Daniel Schaffer, December 21, 2010:

    Hi,

    How do I find the OED online in NU Libraries?

  4. Rebecca Bailey, December 21, 2010:

    Hi Daniel,
    There’s a direct link in this blog post, but you can also just go to the library home page, http://www.lib.neu.edu, and click on Dictionaries & Encyclopedias under the FIND heading (center of page). Then scroll down to find the OED.

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