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 ),
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.