The Oxford English Dictionary


In 1989, the Oxford University Press published the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition . As a joint venture with the Press and funded primarily by NSERC , the University of Waterloo designed an on-line dictionary database that is suitable for editors charged with maintaining the OED, lexicographers working on other dictionaries, and researchers who wish to consult the OED interactively.

The project adopted the philosophy of modern text markup systems (such as XML ) that a computer-processable version of text is well-represented by interleaving "tags" with the text of the original document, still leaving the original words in proper sequence. In its simplest interpretation, by suppressing the tags we are left with the original text, and by converting the tags to formatting instructions we can produce one or more suitable presentations of the text.

To go beyond simple uses of the OED, it is beneficial to understand the principles behind the Dictionary and the structure of the Dictionary's entries.

  • The prefatory material for the online OED and for the printed Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition (Oxford University Press, 1998) includes a key to its conventions, which summarizes some of the features of the Dictionary and includes examples of the most significant elements.

The PAT Text Search System was designed and implemented at the University of Waterloo to support efficient search to structured and free-form text.

Unfortunately PAT is no longer operable, and so local search to the OED is not available at this time.

Other useful links:

†The OED image and OED data are copyright ) Oxford University Press 1998. See Oxford University Press's Official OED site . The OED is licensed for University of Waterloo faculty, students and academic staff for their personal scholarship and research.

PATTM is a registered trademark of Open Text Corporation , and the PATTM Text Search System is licensed for University of Waterloo faculty, students and academic staff for teaching and research.

These pages are maintained by Frank Tompa DC 1313, ext. 4675,