Macmillan Dictionaries will no longer appear as physical books. The final copies are rolling off the presses at this very moment, and from next year, Macmillan Dictionary will be available only online.
Is there a future for the paper dictionary or, like the encyclopedia, will it soon become a 20th century relic? Beyond this, will dictionaries in any form survive, as digital natives increasingly use the Web as their primary source of lexical information?
What is your answer? …. (clue: look what happened to encyclopedias)
The CD-ROM dictionary was first produced about twenty years ago, followed by other handheld devices. But the Web has now taken a more central role, generating significant ‘external’ effects and creating a completely new, and still emerging, paradigm.
Liberated from space constraints and taking advantage of multimedia and hyperlinking, the electronic dictionary’s range is infinite, affording the possibility of a multilayered approach to defining words that demonstrates to the user the many ways in which it can be encoded. Online dictionaries, replete with pronunciation aids, sound effects and games, have the capacity to offer the user a far more holistic experience than their paper counterparts. Furthermore, online dictionaries can be effortlessly current, staying really up to date (not once in 5 years o more)
What do we lose? …..
- Users Dictionary as ‘authority.
- Too much information? Needs careful management.
The future is already here … but is it for everybody?