Saturday, 2nd May 2015

by Joshua Gaskell

The Oxford University Press, established in 1478, is one of the largest and most prestigious university publishers in the world. Yet its online Oxford Reference library still feels the needy need to ask, at the bottom of every entry, ‘Was this useful?’

If ‘this’ refers to an entry – about nominalisation, the East India Company, the country party, etc. – then the answer is usually ‘Yes’, inasmuch as one can make use of it in the knowledge that it is probably accurate. But if ‘this’ refers to a box asking ‘Was this useful?’ then the answer is always ‘No’. No, it was useless.