BOSTON — Imagine an alternative to unshelving that dusty, unwieldy hardcover every time you need to reference the dictionary.
The first "digital" dictionary is just that. The Encarta World Dictionary - accessible by Microsoft CD-ROM - was created via e-mail and special software by 320 experts worldwide. What's more, the goal was to assemble standard terms from all English-speaking regions - not just the United States. Words from Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean are listed.
The expanded vocabulary is sometimes amusing: "bagman" (Canada) is much more apt than "fund-raiser" (America). And the South Asian "biodata" says it better than "rsum" with those pesky accents. Here's a source that can literally promote international understanding.
The new dictionary is attractive, informative - even readable. The type is large, multiple definitions are highlighted, illustrations are clear, usage notes are contemporary but a little conservative, and displayed notes or nuggets brighten many pages.
The dictionary was produced under the executive editorship of Anne Soukhanov, The Atlantic Monthly's "Word Watch" columnist, and is published by St. Martin's Press.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society