Re: Dictionary

Subject: Re: Dictionary
From: Isaac Rabinovitch <isaacr -at- mailsnare -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 15:24:06 -0800

Oja, W. Kelly wrote:

I felt this thread has been fairly productive. As you might have
guessed, I do not put much stock in dictionaries. Granted, I am not
going to go and buy "Bob's Dictionary" but I cannot see dropping a lot
of green either. I have used my trusty (1995) New American Webster Handy
College Dictionary since about 1998 or so.

Sounds servicable enough. If you just want a reference (and a dictionary is the most indispensible reference; not just for word usage either), it's probably as good as any. But if I wanted an authoritative dictionary for some formal purpose -- like enforcing consistent spelling and usage for technical publications -- I'd go with something else.

After reading some posts, I
decided to see who is behind it. It was prepared and edited by The
National Lexicographic Board and published by Signet.

Ooooh, the National Lexicographic Board! Sounds impressive, don't it? But I suspect they're nothing but a bunch of people who work for the publisher. Google certainly turns up nothing on them, except for a bunch of bibliographic references to -- yes, dictionaries and thesauruses.

> Not sure if that
is good or bad. Along those lines, I also have used Roget's 21st Century
Thesaurus for a number of years. It was published by Dell, a division of
Random House.

Well, a thesaurus is less of an issue than a dictionary. It's just something you use when you can't think of just the right word. I myself prefer the old-fashioned taxonomic thesauruses, not the "dictionary form". But beyond personal preferences like that, I doubt if thesauruses differ much. Except that some haven't been revised in about 100 years, and contain all kinds of quaint terminology.

That being said, "Roget", like "Webster" is a public domain word, which anybody can use. Having it on the cover a book says nothing about its quality.

I am a big fan of B&N, both the stores and online, maybe because I get a
corporate discount, but anyway, I have bought quite a few of the B&N
published books for myself and others. I simply assumed they were like
book club editions, a little light on quality, but still the same
(content) if you bought the regular edition.

B&N bookstores are great for casual browsing, but their computer sections are usually a mess. And I will absolutely not use the B&N online bookstore -- bad experiences with tech support. Much prefer Amazon.

And yes, I know about the software patent issue. Which I don't think can be affected by boycotts. And that's as far as I'll go on that topic.



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