Thursday, August 13, 2009

You might be a wordster if

If you get excited when you find out that the Hill Freeman Library and Spruill Learning Center is now subscribing to the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary, you just might be a wordster.

If you are, you're not alone! Library director Michael Martinez told me he's received more feedback from the Reinhardt faculty about this addition than about any other database we've purchased.

I have to admit, I'm an OED geek myself--as you may know if you've ever approached me at the circulation desk and asked me to help you find the definition or etymology of a word. I will usually--and gleefully--take you straight to the 20-volume set we have in the reference section. Of course, now you can simply follow the link from our home page.

One of my joys in using the dictionary (okay, I admit I may be a little weird) is simply browsing through it. After I've found the word I needed, I'll often get distracted and read the adjacent entries. Well, I can do that in the online OED as well. There's also a word-of-the-day feature (today's word: chap, 1. Either of the two bones (with its covering of muscles, skin, etc.) which form the mouth; a jaw; also either half of the bill of a bird, or you can click the "lost for words" button and get a random word and its definition (I got sandboard, hexameter and couch).

I'm so excited I believe I'll celebrate by rereading the fascinating nonfiction book The Professor and the Madman: a tale of murder, insanity, and the making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester. You can find this book in our collection under the call number PE1617.O94W56 1998.

Have fun, wordsters!

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