Final proof of my being middle-aged came on Tuesday when I found myself filling in a form on the OED site complaining about the lack of a mobile interface for the dictionary and the term ‘webometrics’ missing from the dictionary. The reply came this morning: they have no plans for a mobile interface…“However, there are plans to provide APIs which would enable third parties to develop different interfaces for querying the OED.” I couldn’t have asked for more!
I am a heavy user of the OED, in fact it is the only subscription service that I inevitably use every day. It is not only that I am an appalling speller (which I am and have always been), but the dictionary is an essential tool for any academic. Unfortunately the lack of a simple mobile interface has meant that I don’t consult the dictionary as often as I should. Despite being provided with a subscription from two different universities and two public libraries the lack of a mobile interface means a long and awkward signing-in process before you even start to look at specific entries.
Whilst a decent mobile application/interface will be of greatest interest to me, an API will enable a wide range of novel applications to be built around the world’s greatest dictionary.
nb. Webometrics has now been added to their files as a ‘hint’ to the new words team.