The online database of the second edition of the OED, combined with tools developed at the University of Waterloo, gives researchers a unique opportunity to explore the dictionary in depth and in ways that would either be impossible or too time consuming to contemplate by manual means. However, the OED database is an unusually complex reference text. It makes use of many technical terms and abbreviations, and employs numerous structural and typographical conventions to alert users to elements within entries. The author discusses the history and structure of the OED database as well as tools developed to manipulate the database. Four sample searches are discussed in an appendix to the article.
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