Friday, March 11, 2005

Contribute to the OED

I wrote last year about the OED's pilot effort to collect words on specific areas of interest. They started out with science fiction words. They wanted help tracking down the earliest reference of words they already had and other words common in science fiction that they hadn't tracked down yet.

The OED's Jesse Sheidlower maintains the Web site that is collecting and displaying all these words, their meanings and their uses.
The idea for a collaborative site began when Sue [Surova, a researcher] posted a message on a Usenet discussion group looking for early examples of the SF usage of mutant 'a person with freakish appearance or abnormal abilities as a result of a genetic mutation'. The earliest example the OED had for this sense was 1954, but OED editors knew the word must have been used earlier. A 1938 example was quickly found, and a plan for further research was formed. And here we are.
The site has undergone a facelift.
The biggest change is that the OED's database of citations of SF words is now made (mostly) available via the website. The OED does not usually make its work available in this way, but OED has agreed to publicly open up this part of its database to acknowledge the great contribution volunteers have made to this project.
(Link via Languagehat.)


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