Looking for people with experience with electronic version of OED (3.1)
Thread poster: Jonathan MacKerron

Jonathan MacKerron  Identity Verified
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Jan 29, 2005

Has anyone had experience with the electronic version of the Oxford English Dictionary? The 3.1 version has just been issued and I'd like to buy it, but would appreciate any experience -both good and bad - that others might have had with the electronic version.
Thanks in advance,
J. MacKerron

[Edited at 2005-01-29 10:23]


Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:57
Swedish to English
+ ...
Linguistically brilliant, powerful searching, user interface bit disappointing Jan 29, 2005

I have version 3.0 OED, and I am thinking of upgrading to 3.1 - they have sent me an order form. This answer may not be exactly what you want, but I hope these comments help.
As a dictionary, it is superb, giving very detailed and comprehensive definitions, together with history, examples, dates and etymology. An example - I had often wondered why English private schools like Eton were called "public" schools, when that is exactly what they are not. The OED supplied the answer. It is an endless and fascinating resource for logophiles, though sometimes the definitions are as abstruse as the word you're looking at. So it is not for beginners, but as someone who translates into English, I find it remarkably useful, remarkably often.
Having said that, there are some aspects of the user interface that I find a bit clunky by today's standards (no easy way to go back to a previous word, etc), and no mention of such improvements in the leaflets about 3.1. But those are minor inconveniences set against the wealth of information.


Jonathan MacKerron  Identity Verified
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Thank you Peter Jan 30, 2005

Yes, very helpful to hear your comments. Two specific questions:
1. if I understand correctly the program has to be re-registered online every few months, what does this entail?
2. how do you find the search features? Is it easy to find exactly what you're looking for, or do you need to be a computer whizz to navigate your way through?
Ebay in the US is offering the update to 3.1 for $70, and the entire program for $199.
Again, many thanks for your help,


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