Dictionary of American Regional English

Leyburn Library just received what is likely to be the final printed volume of the remarkable Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) — which actually began in the 1960’s.

The occasion was noted recently in this fascinating New York Times article. Favorite factoid: the editors have collected about 170 American synonyms for the term “dust bunny.”

Amazingly, there still is no online access to this database, but, as the article mentions, it may be available next year. For the moment, you may view a few samples.
We can hope that product will be as vibrant and dynamic as the online Oxford English Dictionary. One also hopes all those synonyms for “dust bunny” will show up in the digital form, because they are not in the printed Volume 2 (D-H).

Electronic Books?

We receive inquiries from time to time about our plans for providing electronic books to the Washington and Lee community. Many of these questions are prompted by news accounts of public libraries and other institutions providing access to popular fiction for hand-devices and similar products.

Since we are an academic library, we focus our book-buying efforts (and budget) on materials that are directly relevant to our curriculum and research. In addition, reflecting our perception of our users’ preferences, we have concentrated our e-book development on acquiring reference works, such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, guides, and similar resources — works which generally do not involve cover-to-cover reading.

Most of these works are distributed for the educational market by a fairly small number of online publishers and providers. You can view the collections in which we are fairly heavily “invested” in the Electronic Reference Books Collections section of our Web site.

All these materials should be available online to all current W&L students, faculty, and staff from any location offering access to the W& computing network.

Here are a few examples of recently-acquired e-books:

Oxord Encyclopedia of the Books of the Bible

Elgar Guide to Tax Systems

Comparative Guide to American Elementary and Secondary Schools

Oxford Reader’s Companion To Conrad

Chinese Literature: A Very Short Introduction

If you have comments or questions, please contact Head of Technical Services Laura Turner or Senior Reference Librarian Dick Grefe.