Rosemary Pleva Flynn 2016-07-11 12:37:07
Compiling the forthcoming Dictionary of Archives Terminology can be a consuming endeavor, but it just got a little more manageable thanks to some recently acquired software from IDM Innovates, which allows the nine members of SAA’s Dictionary Working Group (DWG) to collaboratively work in an environment specifically designed for dictionaries. IDM, by the way, powers the OED, so we are in very good company! As we continue with implementing the new software, DWG’s goal is to have the dictionary available online by the end of 2016. This July marks the second anniversary of the launch of Word of the Week, a weekly email produced by DWG that defines new archives terms and updates entries from A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology (SAA, 2005). A huge thanks to the more than 1,200 subscribers. (What? You’re not yet a subscriber?? Sign up at archivists.org /word-of-the-week. Bonus: You can now find all of the previous Word of the Week entries at archivists.org/word-of-the-week/previous.) One of the frequently asked questions we field is, “How do you decide what words to include in the dictionary?” Honestly, deciding what words to include is not an easy task. Members of DWG do a great deal of reading in order to define our professional terminology. Some of the words we are defining are new to the dictionary (we have more than 700 new words we are considering for inclusion), but we are also looking at words that appeared in the 2005 Glossary. Word usage and meaning changes over time, and the Dictionary of Archives Terminology needs to reflect these changes. More than 300 entries found in the 2005 Glossary are in various stages of updates and many more terms now have citations showing their usage by archivists. Do you have a new word for DWG to consider? Or do you have updates on a term already in the 2005 Glossary? Please consider submitting suggestions to DWG using the online form at archivists.org /dictionary/suggest-a-term. We’re thrilled that our professional colleagues have taken up the call and are exploring the archival lexicon in new ways. For instance, take the term muniment, which was the Word of the Week for January 19, 2016. A subscriber had come across muniment while reading. Not familiar with the term, she looked it up in the 2005 Glossary and then sent us the citation from the book she was reading. We updated the definition and notes based on this citation as well as a few others. Although chiefly used in the U.K. and India—and not the most common of words—it is a legal term for a type of record still used in some states in the U.S. as part of state probate laws. Another question we are frequently asked is, “Who is the intended audience for the dictionary?” At this time, the Dictionary of Archives Terminology is geared toward an American audience. However, national borders are porous when it comes to the archives profession, and there are many terms that have come to the U.S. from other archival traditions and are then used as is or are modified. DWG will address these variations when such terms are presented. As a volunteer-led effort, the Dictionary will unlikely ever address archives terminology from all over the world. Even so, the Dictionary can aid understanding and an exchange of ideas and information among international archivists. Please keep the questions and feedback coming! The Dictionary Working Group would love to hear from you. Contact us at email@example.com.
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