Wiktionary online

23rd September 2005 at 01:00
The web has become a valuable resource for dictionary editors, and has at the same time spawned its own amateur dictionaries of slang, new words, and technical terms, written by enthusiasts and varying in quality.

The most ambitious of these web dictionaries is Wiktionary. Like its sister project Wikipedia, a free web-based encyclopedia, it is the creation of hundreds of web volunteers who submit entries and review one another's work. A vast collaborative effort, Wiktionary began in 2002 and now has more than 85,000 entries - twice as many as Johnson's dictionary. It allows the average dictionary user to become a lexicographer and to compile entries, or edit other people's definitions. (A wiki, from the Hawaiian word for "quick", is an editable web page which allows anyone to update the content of an entry.) The Wiktionary website gives a fascinating insight into dictionary creation, with practical advice on maintaining a neutral point of view and "staying cool when the editing gets hot". Visitors to the website are invited to review and update existing entries as well as contribute new ones: editorial changes can be viewed, making transparent the hidden processes that go into producing authoritative dictionary text. The project has 43 Wiktionaries being compiled in other languages. Jimmy Wales, the founder of the not-for-profit organisation behind the projects, aims ultimately to provide dictionaries in all languages that have more than 1,000,000 speakers.

* en.wiktionary.orgwikiMain_Page

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