BCR Offers Trial, Group Subscription
to Web Edition of Oxford English Dictionary
(April 2000 Action for Libraries newsletter)

By James Speed Hensinger

As of March 2000, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is available for the first time on the World Wide Web. In conjunction with its online debut, BCR is offering subscriptions to this authoritative resource, the principal dictionary of record for the English language throughout the English-speaking world.

To learn how easy OED Online is to use and how comprehensive and integrated this new Web-based dictionary is, libraries will want to sign up for the free trial BCR has set up with the dictionary's publisher, Oxford University Press. But hurry, the trial only runs through April 30. Then take advantage of BCR's affordable offer to subscribe not only to OED Online, but also to the Web edition of the American National Biography (ANB ), ANB Online.

The American National Biography provides portraits of more than 17,400 men and women who have shaped this nation. Published in 24 volumes in 1999, the biographical resource won the American Library Association's Dartmouth Medal as the best reference work of the year. The online edition is updated quarterly with hundreds of new entries and revisions. It also features thousands of illustrations, more than 80,000 hyper- linked cross-references, links to select Web sites and powerful search capabilities.

OED Online provides the complete contents of the 20-volume Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary and the complete contents of the three Additions volumes published 1993-1997. The online edition will be updated quarterly from the current revision and update project, originally authorized in 1990 and so comprehensive it is not anticipated to be completed until 2010. Users will be able to search both the new and unrevised texts and compare them.

Interest in the new OED Online has been extensive. News of the online debut has been in a number of newspapers and news programs, including National Public Radio's March 14 Morning Edition (see NPR's Web site to hear an audio tape) and the March 15 edition of The New York Times.

BCR's group subscription will run from July 1, 2000, to June 30, 2001, with new subscriptions accepted year round and prorated to end with the BCR group subscription. Early subscribers will have free access until the July 1 subscription start date. Annual subscription fees are based on the institution's total number of FTEs. The Oxford University Press is providing special pricing consideration for the following types of institutions: two-year academic institutions, specialized institutions, tribal colleges and universities, middle and high schools, public libraries, state libraries and nonprofit organizations. See BCR's Web site (www.bcr.org) for more details.

The final pricing for BCR's OED Online subscription cannot be set until the total number of FTEs are aggregated for all orders. But in no case will the final price rise above the ceiling price posted at the beginning of the enrollment period, and it could be reduced considerably. For libraries ordering through BCR, the ceiling price for the current year's subscription will not exceed $.24 per FTE plus an order service fee of $100 per library. All enrollees will be charged the final price(s). In the future, prices will be redefined annually after the renewal subscriptions are tallied. BCR has been guaranteed that Oxford University Press will not raise prices more than 10 percent plus costs per year.

To sign up for the trial, go to BCR's Web site. Click on Reference Databases and then on Oxford University Press and complete the online form. Separate forms are available to subscribe to OED Online and ANB Online. For more information check out the Web site's OED Online Frequently Asked Questions pages.