The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

by Joshua Gaskell

Tag: Oxford Reference

Saturday, 2nd May 2015

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.

Monday, 3rd November 2014

Slang is ‘The special vocabulary used by any set of persons of a low or disreputable character’ (OED). Ironically for such a subject, the standard reference work is so costly that it’s beyond the reach even of persons of a middling and semi-reputable character (like me). I often want to consult Green’s Dictionary of Slang, but it’s not available on Oxford Reference Online with an ordinary library card subscription, and the cheapest copy currently on Amazon is £230.66. This is positively ‘dryfucking adj. (orig. US) infuriating, disappointing and other negatives, relevant to context. [(GDoS)] … Oxford Reference requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of titles within the service.’

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