Paul Frank paulfrank at POST.HARVARD.EDU
Mon Nov 1 15:31:17 UTC 2010

I am glad that North American libraries offer their patrons access to
the OED. Public libraries are national treasures. As Justice Oliver
Wendell Holmes famously put it, we ought to pay our taxes gladly
because with them we buy civilization. Unfortunately for me, I am
neither a university-based academic nor an independent or any other
kind of scholar nor a resident of a North American city, but simply an
ordinary lover of the English language and an admirer of the OED, of
which I have a paper copy that I consult and treasure. I shouldn't
complain, and I won't anymore. Being able to kibitz on your scholarly
discussions and to learn a thing or two every day from you is a
privilege I very much appreciate. I presume that the OED has carefully
thought out its pricing strategy and has good reasons for not wanting
lots of private individuals to subscribe.


Paul Frank
Chinese, German, French, Italian > English
Espace de l'Europe 16
Neuch√Ętel, Switzerland
paulfrank at
paulfrank at

On Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 4:07 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at> wrote:

> In my present financial (and academic) state, I was gratified to find
> out that the local library had a connection to the mega-local library
> that had the OED subscription. It required an electronic ID and dealing
> with proxies, but that's a far smaller price to pay than individual
> subscription. And the same source also includes the archives for one of
> the local papers (Boston Globe), a partial NYT archive, and EAN + other
> historical US info. Many local public libraries have similar
> arrangements and their electronic resources are severely underutilized.
> So it's a good deal for the OED (they still get their pound of flesh),
> relatively good deal for the local libraries (the cost burden is
> distributed through the entire chain and is not as heavy as it would
> have been for individuals), and independent "scholars" are happy. Of
> course, once you get outside the US, things are not so simple and the
> subscriptions are largely restricted to selected academic institutions.
> Â  Â  VS-)

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