Sunday 1 November 2009

“The demise of the paper product”

It was Robert McCrum in the Observer, tipped off by commenters on his blog, who finally broke the deafening silence south of the border on the subject of the Chambers closure and its implications. Now the Observer’s sister paper the Guardian has finally weighed in. An actual opinion piece about dictionaries, would you believe, not specifically about the Chambers closure but prompted by it. And it’s by someone who, if not quite a lexicographer in the normal sense, has at least worked on a reference publishing project so will have met some dictionary people. It may not exactly be expert comment or analysis, that’s still too much to hope for, in fact it’s really just a vague, ill-informed rant about how electronic dictionaries are no fun and should not be allowed to replace printed ones. But at least it’s people (journalist and commenters) discussing dictionaries, however subjectively and irrationally, in the light of the shocking news of the closure of one’s Britain’s oldest and best-loved reference publishers.

As you can see, I’m trying hard to be positive for once.

PS: The petition to “Keep Chambers in Edinburgh” is still available at

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