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Thank you for participating in National Library Week


Thank you to everyone who participated in the free access period to Oxford Reference and the OED for National Library Week. Both the OED and Oxford Reference offer some additional free content for the public and are both available for 30 day free trials for libraries (Libraries can email free trial requests to library[dot]marketing[at]oup[dot]com).

Oxford Reference  is the home of Oxford’s reference publishing bringing together over 2-million entries, many of which are illustrated, into a single cross-searchable resource.

Free content on Oxford Reference includes:

  • Oxford Reference timelines — Exploring history
  • Oxford Essential Quotations — Find out who said what and when they said it
  • ‘Did you know?’ feed — Sign up to get interesting facts delivered to you daily
  • Feature Articles — Find out what the journalist and former politician Matthew Parris thinks about the importance of words in politics, or what Garrett Oliver, brew master of The Brooklyn Brewery and author of Oxford Companion to Beer thinks about the evolution of the encyclopedia and compelling nature of reference content.


The OED is one of the largest dictionaries in the world and the accepted authority on the evolution of the English language, tracing the use of more than 600,000 words over the last 1,000 years through 3 million quotations. The OED defines:

  • how a word has been used
  • where it came from
  • when it first entered the English language
  • how its meaning has changed over time and around the world


It illustrates these definitions by quoting from more than 100,000 modern and historical texts, from classic literature such as Shakespeare’s plays to film and television scripts such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as wills, cookery books, blogs, and more.

Free content on the OED includes:


Subscribers to the OED can also access the Historical Thesaurus of the OED on www.oed.com. This unique resource allows you to explore the riches of the English language by theme, and to chart the linguistic progress over time of a chosen object, concept, or expression.

Examples of questions you can answer with the OED:

  • Is a particular word from London or Australia?
  • What were the new words to talk about horseracing in 1700?
  • Which words do we trace back to Shakespeare?
  • Which decade sees the most words relating to football first recorded?
  • What are the 93 nouns that have been used for rain throughout the history of English?
  • Who contributes the earliest known evidence for more English words, Chaucer or Milton?
  • How are social changes reflected in language, from the 250 words related to motoring dated from 1900-09, and the number of film-related words from between 1920-1939?


Thanks again for everyone for helping us celebrate libraries this past week. See who won our National Library Week Photo Contest on Tumblr.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April.

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