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Dictionary of Old English: 2003 Progress Report


Joan Holland, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto


It is with much excitement that we announced, in July 2003, the publication of the Dictionary of Old English: A to F on CD-ROM. The development and publication of the CD-ROM has been the major editorial and computing focus for our team throughout the past year. We feel that it is a major milestone for us, as this publication represents the first electronic version of the first seven letters of the Old English alphabet. The electronic Dictionary incorporates a revised and updated bibliography of the more than 3000 texts that comprise our corpus; over the past year, much editorial effort was spent on this revision, along with the updating and standardization of texts in the Dictionary itself. We would like to express our gratitude to Professor Peter Baker, University of Virginia, for his generosity in allowing us to use his Junicode font (a Unicode font for medievalists) as the basis for our display. We would also like to thank our Specialist Readers around the world for their responses to our queries about the F entries. We now look forward to feedback from users of the CD-ROM, and we welcome suggestions about future improvements. Please send comments to: support@doe.utoronto.ca. We ourselves have discovered that one of the diacritics was incorrectly positioned on its letters. A patch can be downloaded from our website. The CD-ROM is distributed by the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto. Their website is http://www.pims.ca. In October, we hosted a party at the Dictionary to celebrate the launch of the CD-ROM; it was attended by faculty, administrators and students, mostly from the University of Toronto, and by many friends. Although we believe the electronic version of the Dictionary to be a significant advance over our previous micro-fiche publication, we will be distributing F on microfiche in the New Year for users who, for various reasons, are unable to use or access the electronic version. The drafting of entries for future letters is progressing well: we are currently writing entries for G, H, I and Y and plan to publish G in about a year's time.


Technological Advances

In the technological aspect of the project, we have made extraordinary advances and overcome various challenges as we prepared for the publication of the CD-ROM. Our systems analyst, Xin Xiang, has worked intensively on developing a search engine in a Windows environment and on refining searches for the electronic Dictionary as well as inserting hotlinks in the Dictionary. We continue to work on future improvements to enhance performance. Last year we mentioned that the project was part of a University of Toronto team, within a consortium of six Canadian universities, which applied successfully to the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for the creation of a Text Analysis Portal for Research (TAPoR). As a result of this grant, we will have access to a powerful server which will facilitate our goal of eventually moving the Dictionary to the Web. At that point users will have at least two ways of accessing the electronic Dictionary of Old English as they now have two ways of accessing the electronic Corpus: on CD-ROM and on the Web.


Grants and Gifts

We continue our search for funds to ensure the completion of the Dictionary. We are happy to report that in the course of this year we were awarded grants by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the British Academy. These grants, along with gifts from the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists as well as from colleagues and friends, allowed us to complete the federal matching requirement of the NEH grant in June. We were very pleased that our Program Officer from NEH, Barbara Paulson, was able to visit us informally in June, just as we were preparing for the publication of A to F. We are always aware that without the generosity of our funding agencies and individual donors, the Dictionary could not be completed. A list of gifts to the project in the past year is appended.


Dissemination and Outreach

We were delighted that two members of our International Advisory Committee visited the project this year—Professor Roberta Frank of Yale University and Professor Simon Keynes of the University of Cambridge. Professor Keynes gave two talks. One was the Janet E. Hutchison Lecture on "King Alfred in Art." The second was entitled "'God help us!' Thorkell's Army in England (1009-12)". Our research collection is always accessible to scholars who need to consult it for their own research. In the fall, Professor Tom Klein of Idaho State University worked at the project for an extended period. Our Editor, Antonette diPaolo Healey has represented the project at conferences during the past twelve months. In May, she participated in the Advisory Board meeting at the Richard Rawlinson Center for Anglo-Saxon Studies and Manuscript Research at Western Michigan University and attended the 38th International Congress on Medieval Studies, where a number of papers were read in honour of Professor Donald Scragg, Director, Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies. In August, she gave a Power Point presentation at the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists meeting at Arizona State University, where she demonstrated some of the features of the newly-published CD-ROM of the Dictionary. In December, she attended the meeting of the MLA in San Diego, where she gave a report on the project to the Old English Executive Committee.



EDITOR: Antonette diPaolo Healey


DRAFTING EDITORS: Dorothy Haines, David McDougall, Ian McDougall



Catherine Monahan, Xin Xiang (Systems Analyst), Elaine Quanz



Roberta Frank: Yale University

Helmut Gneuss: University of Munich

Simon Keynes: University of Cambridge

Andy Orchard: University of Toronto

Fred C. Robinson: Yale University

Eric Stanley: Pembroke College, Oxford

DIRECTOR OF COMPUTING:Richard L. Venezky: University of Delaware

RESEARCH ASSISTANTS: Sarah Downey, Damian Fleming, Rob Getz, Patrick McBrine, Connell Monette, Mark Sundaram

STUDENT ASSISTANTS: Raliza Stoyanova, Lauren Greenwood, Paul Franz (Mentorship student), Anne-Marie Zapf-Bélanger (Mentorship student)

EDITOR, Toronto OE Series: Andy Orchard

EDITOR, Publications of the DOE: Andy Orchard



• The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (formerly the Canada Council): Grants in Aid of Research, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975; Major Editorial Grants, 1976-81, 1981-86, 1986-91, 1991-96; Grants from the Federal Matching Funds Policy, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991; Special Presidential Grant, 1993; Consortium Support Programme 1996-98, 1998-2000, 2000-2003, 2003-

• The British Academy

• Connaught Fund, U of Toronto, 1986- 1991

• Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2002-2003

• Early English Text Society

• Marc Fitch Fund

• Foundation for Education and Social Development, Boston

• Jackman Foundation

• Macdonald-Stewart Foundation

• McLean Foundation, 1992, 1995, 1998, 2000

• Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 1985-90, 1994-99, 2000-

• National Endowment for the Humanities, Research Tools Program, 1991-93, 1993-95, 1995-98, 1998-2000, 2000-2002, 2002-

• President's Committee, University of Toronto

• Salamander Foundation, 1998-2001, 2001-

• Salus Mundi Foundation

• University of Toronto

• Xerox Corporation University Grants Committee