Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 456.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002 06:25:32 +0000
From: "Norman D. Hinton" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: 15.453 metaphors of education and research
Willard, your story of the encyclopedia shows much of the way I feel
about the matter: the 4th edition of the American Heritage Unabridged
Dictionary is on line and available for free through Bartleby. It's a
good reference work with two invaluable (well, to a historical
philologist, anyway) appendices on Indo-European word roots and on
Semitic word roots.
I so sue the on-line once in a while, but I ws very happy buying my own
copy of the book, for much the same reasons ars your friend. I don't
use a dictionary just to find out one thing about one word -- some of
the most useful things I know about language come from paging through
the book looking for the word I want, and I can never put a good
dictionary down without browsing both in the vicinity and by flipping
pages at random.
Apparently the folks who programmed the AHD don't get it. I can look up
a word and get the info --even the I-E material. But that's all.
I also own the Middle English Dictionary, and similarly, while I can
look up a word on-line in t he MED, I'd much rather pick up my own copy
of the relevant fascicle, for the same reasons.
The one advantage the on-line MED has is the ability to search for all
instances of a given word, not only in main entries, but anywhere in the
work. That's wonderful. But I see no reason to clear off the two feet
of shelf space the print MED takes, and I would lose a lot of randomly
accessed information if I did that.
In fact, search capabilities are the ONLY reason I can imagine for
having any book in electronic form.....
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