What Would Dr. Murray Have Made of the OED Online Today?

  • John Simpson The Oxford English Dictionary
Keywords: dictionary, online, digital, visualisation, language


During the final years of the twentieth century the text of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) was transformed from a print resource to a digital one. Surprisingly, the way in which data was structured in the print version lent itself fairly easily to this transformation. This paper looks briefly at the publishing history of the OED, and then at continuity and change in editorial policy across the two media, and finally at new options (such as data visualisation through graphs, charts, and animations, as well as linking through to other sources) that are opened to users of the dictionary as a result of its availability as a digital resource. The paper concludes that although Dr Murray, the dictionary’s original editor, would have been pleased by the way his text has migrated from the print to the digital medium, the real significance of the development is that the modern user can now begin to analyse language change, and not just the history of individual words, through the functionality of the OED Online web site.


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Simpson, J. (2014): What Would Dr Murray Have Made of the OED Online Today? Slovenščina 2.0, 2 (2): 15–36.
How to Cite
SimpsonJ. (2014). What Would Dr. Murray Have Made of the OED Online Today?. Slovenščina 2.0: Empirical, Applied and Interdisciplinary Research, 2(2), 15-36. https://doi.org/10.4312/slo2.0.2014.2.15-36