The Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel reports that donations of more than $600,000 have poured in to support the Dictionary of American Regional English, whose existence was threatened by the US budget sequester (as reported on this blog back in April). The University of Wisconsin, foundations and individuals all pledged their support, with contributions ranging from $5 to $130,000. Editor and DSNA member Joan Houston Hall reports that the dictionary is now on solid ground for the next few years. You can read the full story here.
The Division of Preservation and Access of the National Endowment for the Humanities will be accepting applications for grants in its Humanities Collections and Reference Resources (HCRR) program. These grants support projects to preserve and create intellectual access to such collections as books, journals, manuscript and archival materials, maps, still and moving images, sound recordings, art, and objects of material culture. Awards also support the creation of reference works, online resources, and research tools of major importance to the humanities.
HCRR offers two kinds of awards:
1) Implementation Grants-- $350,000 maximum, for up to three years. Eligible activities include:
· arranging and describing archival and manuscript collections;
· cataloging collections of printed works, photographs, recorded sound, moving images, art, and material culture;
· providing conservation treatment (including deacidification) for collections, leading to enhanced access;
· digitizing collections;
· preserving and improving access to born-digital sources;
· developing databases, virtual collections, or other electronic resources to codify information on a subject or to provide integrated access to selected humanities materials;
· creating encyclopedias;
· preparing linguistic tools, such as historical and etymological dictionaries, corpora, and reference grammars
· developing tools for spatial analysis and representation of humanities data, such as atlases and geographic information systems (GIS); and
· designing digital tools to facilitate use of humanities resources.
2) HCRR Foundations Grants -- $40,000 maximum, for up to two years. To help in the formative stages of initiatives to preserve and create access to humanities collections or to produce reference resources,Foundations grants will support planning, assessment, and pilot activities that incorporate expertise from a mix of professional domains. Drawing upon the cooperation of humanities scholars and technical specialists, these projects might encompass efforts to prepare for establishing intellectual control of collections, to develop plans and priorities for digitizing collections, to solidify collaborative frameworks and strategic plans for complex digital reference resources, or to produce preliminary versions of online collections or resources.
New guidelines for HCRR have now been posted, along with sample proposal narratives, FAQs, and other resources. The application deadline is July 18, 2013, with projects beginning May 2014. All applications to NEH must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov; see guidelines for details.
Prospective applicants seeking further information are encouraged to contact the Division at 202-606-8570 firstname.lastname@example.org. Program staff will read draft proposals submitted six weeks before the deadline.
Please note that the Division is also currently accepting applications for three other grant categories, all with a deadline of May 1: “Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions,” “Research and Development, “and “Education & Training.” Details on these programs, as well as on the full slate of funding opportunities in Preservation and Access, can be found on the Division’s website.
DSNA member John Simpson is retiring after 20 years as the chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary.
Oxford University Press has announced his retirement from his post effective October 2013. John joined the OED editorial staff in 1976, and became co-editor with Edmund Weiner in 1985. He was appointed chief editor in 1993, the seventh OED editor since Sir James Murray’s appointment in 1879. Under John’s editorship, over 60,000 new words and meanings have been added to the OED.
For more than 35 years John has contributed to one of the world's largest and longest-running scholarly projects during a time of great change. During the 1980s the entire OED text, comprising the First Edition (1884-1928) and its Supplement (1972-86), was digitized as an integrated single text. This work laid the foundations for the publication of the twenty-volume Second Edition in 1989 and the launch of OED Online in 2000.
Effective 1 November 2013, Michael Proffitt, the current editorial project director, will serve as chief editor of OED, responsible for leading decision-making on style, policy, and strategy. Philip Durkin, currently principal etymologist, will become eeputy chief editor alongside existing Deputy Chief Editor Edmund Weiner
My headline comes from an interview with John published in Time, which you can read here.
That's the sub-heading in the conclusion to an article from the 15 April 2013 Publisher's Weekly. Journalist Gwenda Bond concludes her article, "The Changing World of Reference," by interviewing DSNA President Orin Hargraves. Here's an extended quotation:
At Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, publisher Bruce Nichols agrees that the digital future for reference is bright. "Unlike with commercial fiction, it's not going to e-book so much as other forms," Nichols says. "Our print sales are still strong enough to merit new titles, but are declining. Electronic licensing is doing really well." ...
HMH also purchased Webster's New World reference titles and CliffsNotes from Wiley late last year. A major new edition of Webster's New World College Dictionary will be released next year, and the publisher is currently exploring options to expand upon the popularity of the CliffsNotes Web site, which brings in significant advertising revenue. Nichols is concerned, however, about the potential impact of one long-term trend in the field. The drop in profitability of print editions of dictionaries in particular has resulted in fewer on-staff positions for lexicographers throughout the reference world. What that could mean for the quality of dictionaries in the future is an open question.
Author and lexicographer Orin Hargraves, current president of the Dictionary Society of North America, agrees that it's a concern, though the effects of the decline aren't being felt just yet. "Many things a[r]e still drawing on legacy resources," he says. "When the time comes that they are truly crowdsourced, quality will decline. Very few people instinctively know how to write a good definition." But with the average age of English-language lexicographers "well over 40," fewer openings to train new lexicographers for, and perhaps 100 remaining in the world (which Hargraves believes is actually enough), it could well become a problem to find qualified, dedicated professionals to provide the dictionary content of tomorrow and ensure changes to the English language are accurately captured and quantified.
"It's a dilemma," says Hargraves."Lexicography is a useful skill when you're putting together dictionaries. But what about if a day comes when no one is?"
The Wisconsin State Journal is reporting that "editor Joan Houston Hall said she’s issued layoff notices, effective July 1, to the staff of the respected dictionary, which includes more than 60,000 words compiled by UW-Madison researchers during the past 48 years." Among the factors: A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities came in at $50,000 less than expected due to the federal funding cuts known as sequestration, while private giving has slowed because of the recession, the Journal reports.
Editor Hall continues to seek funding support for DARE; a digital version of the dictionary will be published later this year by Harvard University Press.
Linguist Geoff Nunberg observes that, in the context of "gay marriage," "As a tactical move, thumping the dictionary has replaced thumping the Bible..." Read or hear his entire essay, broadcast on National Public Radio's Fresh Air, here.