The Oxford English Dictionary’s Digital Future

Storied lexicon may abandon traditional print format.

According to the UK Telegraph, the next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, the classic 20-volume tome found in research libraries around the world, will most likely never reach the presses— in the literal sense. As new technologies for consuming print media continue to evolve (and multiply), continuing with the print version might simply be financially unsustainable for the company.

“The print dictionary market is just disappearing, it is falling away by tens of per cent a year,” Nigel Portwood, the chief executive of OUP, told the Sunday Times. Asked if he thought the third edition would be printed, he said: “I don’t think so.”

Although the 3rd edition has been 21 years in the making, there is still at least a decade’s worth of work to do before the project is complete. Perhaps, there is still a glimmer of hope that the iconic set might eventually be printed:

A spokesman for the OUP said a print version of OED3 could not be ruled out “if there is sufficient demand at the time.”

UK Telegraph: Oxford English Dictionary ‘will not be printed again’

[via Kevin Dugan]

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