The Library and Oxford University Press sponsored a panel lecture on October 1, 2008 to celebrate the 80th birthday of the OED, the comprehensive dictionary of the English language. The speakers were Fred Shapiro, Simon Winchester, Jesse Sheidlower, and Ammon Shea, and each brought unique and engaging insights to this discussion of the history, function, and future of the dictionary.
The OED was formally launched June 6, 1928, and it took 70 years to compile the initial 10 volumes, which contained almost 415,000 words. Former British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin called the creation of the OED “the greatest enterprise of its kind in history.” Today, the OED fills 20 volumes and weighs 137 pounds. It has also been available on the Internet since 2000 as the OED Online.
You can listen to and download the netcast for free via Yale iTunes U web site.