About this Site

This site is maintained by Jesse Sheidlower, Editor at Large of the Oxford English Dictionary. The content side of things is handled by Jeff Prucher and Malcolm Farmer.

The project grew out of regular work that was being done for the OED's reading programs. Briefly, research for the OED takes two main forms: general reading, in which a variety of texts are read for any interesting words that are encountered, and targeted research, in which particular terms are specifically analyzed. This can consist of doing searches in electronic databases, sending general researchers to a library to see what they can find, or asking specialists for help in their subject fields. The purpose of this site is, in effect, to bring together SF enthusiasts with detailed lists of what we need their help with. In the process, the site has developed--is developing--into a general resource for the vocabulary of SF, instead of a mere catalogue of OED needs.

The site was started under the guidance of Mike Christie, an OED volunteer, and Sue Surova, a freelance researcher for the OED. The idea for a collaborative site began when Sue posted a message on a Usenet discussion group looking for early examples of the SF usage of mutant 'a person with freakish appearance or abnormal abilities as a result of a genetic mutation'. The earliest example the OED had for this sense was 1954, but OED editors knew the word must have been used earlier. A 1938 example was quickly found, and a plan for further research was formed. And here we are.

The site is run by Jesse Sheidlower; please direct any comments about the site's functionality or design to him. The infrastructure is entirely based on open-source software. Thanks to Danijel Milicevic for the redesign.

Catalyst Logo