Monday, March 1, 2010

"'a modern classic. . . . impervious to technical change'"

"OUP has taken to touting the [now] heavily discounted sixty-five-volume hard-copy ODNB as 'a modern classic . . . impervious to technical change'".

Arthur Freeman, reviewing the Oxford companion to the book, in "Rare, cheque and bath:  the end of a daunting project that escapes the curse of Wikipedia," Times literary supplement, February 5, 2010, p. 8.  The language he reproduces is here (http://www.oup.com/oxforddnb/info/print/), under "Why buy a sixty-volume print set when the dictionary is available online?":
The DNB is one of the most famous books in English. The new Oxford DNB will take its place as a modern classic. In book form it will remain your permanent archive, impervious to technical change, and will be seen as a historical landmark for the next hundred years.
(This ignores the bitter criticism to which the ODNB has been subjected, and in the TLS above all.)
OUP stands, of course, for Oxford University Press, and ODNB, for the Oxford dictionary of national biography.
The TLS subtitle derives from this:  "nothing in [the Oxford companion to the book], as far as I can see, is simply parroted from an unverified or unacknowledged source--the curse of Wikipedia and most online cribs, which also affects OCEL" (the Oxford companion to English literature).

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