3.94 New-OED conference (77)

Sat, 3 Jun 89 00:10:10 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 94. Saturday, 3 Jun 1989.

Date: Thu, 1 Jun 89 23:36:13 EDT
From: walker@flash.bellcore.com (Donald E Walker)
Subject: Conference on Dictionaries in the Electronic Age


Fifth Annual Conference of the University of Waterloo Centre for the New OED

Jointly presented by Oxford University Press
Oxford University Computing Service
University of Waterloo

St. Catherine's College, Oxford, England -- 18-19 September 1989

(For associated workshops on Dictionary Assessment and Criticism and on
Developing Lexical Resources, see below.)

"The complete Oxford English Dictionary ... likely to be very
manageable indeed when compressed into the electronic microstructure
of a chip."
- Christopher Evans, "The Mighty Micro", 1979

Once it had become clear that computers could be used in the
composition, analysis, and transmission of written texts, it was
a natural step to try to yoke them together with dictionaries, the
most complex of texts both to compile and to analyse. Pioneering
early efforts were made during the 1950s and 1960s, when storage
was limited and data entry was by punched card. The first dictionaries
actually compiled in the form of a computer database appeared in
the late 1970s. By this time professional analysts of language
such as linguists and computer scientists had begun to realize that
the dictionary was a ready-made mine of language. If it could be
electronically analysed they would be freed from much of the labour
of collecting or introspecting linguistic patterns. During the
1980s a fruitful symbiosis has grown up between lexicography,
computing, and linguistics. Increasingly, dictionaries are designed
as computer databases and compiled with the assistance of textual
corpora. The lexicographer's desk has been reinterpreted as a
multi- functional workstation. Linguists are exploiting the full
resources of machine-readable dictionaries in order to build
comprehensive models of linguistic data. Computer scientists are
able to take over the information network built into the dictionary
as a kind of ready-made expert system.

In 1984 the "Oxford English Dictionary" became the first large
dictionary to be converted from printed format into a machine-readable
database. In March this year the second edition of the OED was
published, the offspring of a successful marriage of lexicography
and computer technology. To mark this achievement this Fifth Annual
Conference is being held at Oxford rather than at Waterloo. The
publication of the new edition of the OED, together with the
development, at the University of Waterloo Centre for the New OED,
of programs for the rapid searching of large textual databases like
the OED, and the appearance of a CD-ROM version of the first edition
of the OED, are pointers towards the fulfilment of Evans's prediction.

[Conference programme, fee schedule, etc. deleted]

[A complete version of this announcement is now available on
the file-server, s.v. NEW_OED CONFRNCE. A copy may be obtained
by issuing either an interactive or a batch-job command, addressed to
for information about how to issue such a command. Problems
should be reported to David Sitman, A79@TAUNIVM, after you
have consulted the Guide and tried all appropriate alternatives.]