The future of the more than 130-year old Oxford English Dictionary (OED) may be moving to cyberspace. The sheer number of English words put into use since the 20-volume, second edition was published in 1989 could make version 3.0 too big and too expensive to print. The next edition is expected to be at least twice the size of the last. Because of this, it may be published digitally only.

The decision hasn’t been made yet, and Oxford University Press is quick to point out that the concise and compact versions of the Oxford English Dictionary, commonly on sale at bookstores, aren’t in danger of going out of print. The decision whether to print the third edition of the complete OED – the multi-volume version more often used at libraries, at universities, and by scholars – is at least a decade away. This news came to us from CBS News in their article, “Stop the presses: Is the dictionary dead?”

Melody K. Smith

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