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Dictionary of Old English: 2004 Progress Report


Joan Holland, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto


It is with great sadness that we mark the loss of two dear friends of the project, Dick Venezky and Bill Kingsmill, each associated with us from the very start. Dick Venezky planned the initial computerization of the Dictionary files with our founding editor, Angus Cameron (1970-83). The LEXICO system which Dick devised allowed us to create the DOE Electronic Corpus and from it to generate two concordances: in 1980 A Microfiche Concordance to Old English (Venezky and Healey) and in 1985 A Microfiche Concordance to Old English: The High Frequency Words (Venezky and Butler). From 1987 until his death in June of this year, Dick served as our Director of Computing. His interventions at certain turning points were crucial for the well-being of the project. We will miss his astonishing erudition and his self-deprecating humour. Bill Kingsmill, the husband of Allison Kingsmill, the project's former bibliographer, was a committed supporter of the DOE and always deeply interested in the progress of our research. From the earliest days of the project, when he ingeniously developed sorting racks to help us organize the Dictionary slips to his last visit in celebration of the publication of the electronic DOE: A to F, Bill's lively curiosity was always at work for the good of our project. When he died in October, we lost an exceptional individual and a most cherished friend.

- Toni Healey

We are pleased to report the publication, in the Summer, of the letter F on microfiche. This publication was intended primarily for users who are unable to use or access the electronic Dictionary of Old English: A to F, published last year. However, since there is a growing concern among creators of electronic databases and research tools about the long-term maintenance of these electronic resources, the DOE has decided to continue publishing on microfiche as well as electronically for the foreseeable future. Unlike the letters of the Dictionary previously published on microfiche (A, Æ, B, C, D and E), the letter F is our first microfiche publication to go directly from the electronic files to microfiche without the production of a paper copy as an intermediary stage. It has been a busy and productive year on both the technological and editorial aspects of the project. We have updated and corrected editions of several large texts, including new scholarly editions of the A, C, D, E and F versions of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Using these updated files, we published a 2004 version of the Corpus on CD-ROM in mid-December. In the New Year, the University of Michigan Press will make this updated Corpus available on the Web. For the editorial team, the writing of the entries has progressed well for the letters G, H, I/Y and L, with G to be published in 2005. This year we also reached a significant milestone: we have now written more than half the total headwords of the Dictionary.


Technological Advances

In the technological aspects of the project, we have accomplished a number of tasks. We have redesigned the Dictionary of Old English website (http://www.doe.utoronto.ca), giving more information about Dictionary publications and site licenses, and providing links useful to scholars working in Old English and related languages. We are excited by a "Word of the Week" feature, which displays each week a new and unpublished entry of the Dictionary. As we have mentioned in previous reports, our project is part of a University of Toronto research team, within a consortium of six Canadian universities, which has been funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for the creation of a Text-Analysis Portal for Research (TAPoR). This grant provides us with software and hardware, most notably giving us access to two powerful servers. Our former systems analyst, Peter Mielke, has been working part-time for TAPoR since November on creating an interface to the Web to allow eventual Web distribution of the Dictionary. We anticipate that this will meet the needs of colleagues using systems other than Windows, such as Mac and Unix. Web access will probably not be ready for the publication of G next year, but will be available for H. We continue to be gratified by the scholarly response to the first electronic version of the Dictionary, published last year, and we welcome suggestions about future improvements. Please send comments to support@doe.utoronto.ca.


Grants and Gifts

Our search for new sources of funds to ensure the completion of the Dictionary continues. We are delighted to report that in the course of the year we were awarded another two-year (2004-6) grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities. A one-year grant from the British Academy and gifts from three private Foundations, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, New York, the Salamander Foundation, Toronto, and the Salus Mundi Foundation, Tucson, Arizona, together with gifts from the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists, as well as from colleagues and friends, allowed us to meet in full the matching requirement of our 2004 NEH grant. We are, as always, immensely grateful to our funding agencies and to individual donors, whose generosity allows us to carry on with our research. A list of gifts to the project in the past year is appended.


Dissemination and Outreach

This year, as ever, we were happy to welcome scholars and students from around the world to our offices who consult our collection for their own research. Most notable among the visitors was our long-time friend and colleague, Professor Matti Kilpiö of the University of Helsinki, who spent more than a week with us working on a draft entry for the verb habban 'to have' and gave a well-attended talk on the verb. We were delighted to have visits from two members of our International Advisory Committee -- Professor Roberta Frank of Yale University and Professor Eric Stanley of the University of Oxford. Our Editor, Antonette diPaolo Healey, has participated in a number of conferences during the year. In May, she attended the 39th International Congress on Medieval Studies where she chaired two sessions in honour of colleagues in the field, Professor George Hardin Brown of Stanford University and Professor Donald Scragg, Director, Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies and where she took part in a panel discussion on the online Old English Newsletter. She also attended the meeting of the International Advisory Board at the Richard Rawlinson Center for Anglo-Saxon Studies and Manuscript Research. In June, she was invited to two conferences in Korea, giving a plenary lecture at the Academy of Korean Studies in Pangyo in Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the English Language and Literature Association of Korea. As well, she was a discussant, at Korea University in Seoul, at the 2004 International Conference on English Linguistics: In Commemoration of Otto Jespersen's Scholarship, organized by the English Linguistics Society of Korea. In August, she organized two sessions at the 19th Triennial Conference of the International Association of the University Professors of English at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, one session of which was focused on the applications of the research tools of the DOE. In December, she attended the meeting of the MLA in Philadelphia, where she gave a report on the project to the Old English Executive.

- Joan Holland



EDITOR: Antonette diPaolo Healey



David McDougall

Ian McDougall

EDITORIAL STAFF: Catherine Monahan Picone

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


Damian Fleming

Rob Getz

Patrick McBrine

Connell Monette


Anne-Marie Zapf-Bélanger (Mentorship student)

Ma'ayan Anafi (Mentorship Student)

EDITOR, Toronto Old English Series: Andy Orchard

EDITOR, Publications of the Dictionary of Old English: 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, 197681, 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, 19982000, 2000-2003, 2003-

• The British Academy

• Connaught Fund, University of Toronto, 19861991

• Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2002-2003, 2004-2005

• 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, 199499, 2000-

• National Endowment for the Humanities, Research Tools Program, 1991-93, 1993-95, 1995-98, 1998-2000, 2000-2002, 2002-2004, 2004-

• Presidents' Committee, University of Toronto

• Salamander Foundation, 1998-2001, 2001-2004, 2004-

• Salus Mundi Foundation, 2002, 2004

• University of Toronto

• Xerox Corporation University Grants Committee