Greetings Papercutters! It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for this week’s Reference News Roundup.
I know, this is the first one, so you didn’t know that Fridays and round-ups of reference news were linked. Well, they are, or at least they will be on most Fridays around here. So if this is your kind of thing, read on and, of course, tell your friends.
Note: This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of reference and reference-related news from the past week. Rather, the items contained herein are those that struck my fancy and/or say something important about our world and the role reference books play within it.
Thanks for tuning in and, if you feel like discussing any of the contents below, then leave a comment!
I. Current Events
The Oxford English Dictionary is considering fast-tracking a host of new Trump-related words into its hallowed pages.
How much power does an American president have? Enough, apparently, to issue executive orders considered unsound by ethicists. And enough to alter the language we use, as evidenced by dictionary updates centered on heads of state past and present.
Dictionary Searches for “Betrayal” Spike After Spicer’s Comments on Sally Yates Firing
After the White House press secretary refused to define the word, Merriam-Webster responded with a lengthy definition.
Many looked to the dictionary for help on Tuesday to define “betrayal,” a word that played a large part in White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s news conference about the firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates.
Merriam-Webster gets a little bit cheeky
If dictionaries are supposed to be dry, and to the point, Merriam-Webster has officially broken the mold.
Merriam-Webster’s Twitter account has delighted the masses in the last few years by jumping into hot-topic issues with a dosage of the truth — or the definition at least.
We covered this in our first post. Check it out. (More articles on that page.)
II. Enclyclopedia News
A “subjective encyclopedia”, described by its creators as a “freak of publishing nature” designed to save a struggling Norwegian bookshop from closure, has proved a hit after a host of well-known names including Jarvis Cocker, George Saunders and Jonathan Lethem contributed entries.
The Inner Workings of Wikipedia
Fifteen years ago, the idea of a free, digital encyclopedia, compiled and edited almost entirely by volunteers, and available at no cost to everyone, seemed like an idealistic fantasy. Today, Wikipedia offers millions of articles in hundreds of languages, and continues to grow every day. And it is easier than you might think to contribute to that growth.
Today, encyclopedias are almost forgotten for all but a small number of nostalgics. Bookshops are rarely selling them anymore, old bookshops aren’t valuing them anymore, and even charities have a hard time giving them away.
Into the history books: Encyclopedias virtually ‘worthless’
They were once a huge investment for the family home and a vital part of any school library, but encyclopedias have now passed into history and can barely be given away.
All I’m going to say about these encyclopedia are worthless articles is that I used one for yesterday’s post.
III. New Additions, Words of the Year, and the Like
Cultural concepts, such as words used to describe the nature of foods in traditional Chinese medicine, are now part of the English language.
Dumpster Fire, Brexit, Fake News
Started in 1990 by a small group of linguists, Word of the Year has spread like a video of an anarchist punching a Nazi that’s been set to music.
HSP enters dictionary
The rise in popularity of the Halal Snack Pack (HSP) has seen the fast-food item voted Macquarie Dictionary’s people’s choice word of the year for 2016.
IV. Slang and Newly Coined
Merriam-Webster and the ACLU have teamed up to solve a long-running spelling debate: is it spelled “whoa” or “woah”?
If you’re struggling to understand co-worker from Tallaght, or you just want to brush up on your Dublinese, here are some of our favourite phrases in translation.
Calamity, a name and a disaster
Several versions are given on the origins of calamity. Many dictionaries say of this word “a disaster”. If we go back far enough, we find that the word comes from the Latin calamitas. My Macquarie says it refers to great trouble, adversity, misery or a great misfortune or a disaster.
Historian Gerald Smith Shares Favorite Tales From The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia
University of Kentucky’s history professor and Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar in Residence Gerald L. Smith with colleagues, professor emeritus at Kentucky State University Karen Cotton McDaniel and professor of history at Western Kentucky University John A. Hardin published a 550-page tome of historical treasures, The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia, in 2015.
Survival and preparedness dictionary
If you are new to the preparedness or survival mindset you may come across a lot of terminology and acronyms that you aren’t familiar with yet. Don’t be discouraged. The purpose of this article is to list some of those survival and preparedness terms and define them for you.