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The trend towards digital seems to be moving even faster than I thought.

My Kindle hasn’t arrived yet, but I am already resolving myself to the fact that my future book purchases will be digital or audiobooks.

I have so many print books around the house – some read, some unread – that I have no more space on my shelves.

And the ability to carry thousands of books on a device that can download a book from wherever I am within minutes is incredibly attractive. But I digress….

Look It Up

Oxford University Press produces The Oxford English Dictionary, the go-to compilation of the English language. The last print version was produced in 1989 and it may be the last. They have maintained and update the online content, but when considering the future, the print edition may just be obsolete.

Digital Book DictionayDo Dictionaries Need to Update?

The simple answer is yes. Consider the ever-evolving language around us. Words like ringtone (Pronunciation:/ˈriNGˌtōn/, noun – a sound made by a mobile phone when an incoming call is received) and cybersquatting (pronunciation:/ˈsībərˌskwätiNG/, noun – the practice of registering names.

Especially well-known company or brand names, as Internet domains, in the hope of reselling them at a profit) have been added to the online edition and would have to be added to the print edition as well. It is much easier to keep online content current than print.

Define Me

In a decidedly unscientific test, I challenged my kids to a duel. We chose a word and looked it up. My son looked online and I used a print dictionary. Keeping in mind that in a real situation the computer would have a dictionary site open, he started from a browser. In that instance, I was faster.

When in a Word document, he was faster – using the built-in dictionary feature to define a word that was in the document. With the dictionary site already open, he was much faster in coming up with a definition. Honestly, the results were negligible in the long run.

I admit that if I am sitting here wondering if I am using the word “inevitable” correctly?

Inevitable Progress

With the ever evolving nature of language and technology, it makes sense that dictionaries go digital. I admit that if I am sitting here wondering if I am using the word “inevitable” correctly? I will look at an online resource before reaching for my print dictionary. Will you?

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