I started reading a non-fiction book called "The Professor and
the Madman" today, and was struck by the strange prescience of
this passage from its preface:
"...Dr. James Murray, the editor of the Oxford English dictionary.
On the day in question he had traveled fifty miles by train from
Oxford to meet an enigmatic figure named Dr. W. C. Minor, who
was among the most prolific of the thousands of volunteer
contributors whose labors lay at the core of the dictionary's
For very nearly twenty years beforehand these two men had
corresponded regularly about the finer points of English
lexicography, but they had never met."
Sound like any projects any of us have been involved with
The amazing thing is that this is taking place in the waning
years of the 1890's. We have the beginnings of the Open
Source movement in Victorian England -- and even virtual
cooperation (though through normal, rather than electronic,
mail). How amazing!
Just thought I'd share a bit of Friday night reading with
you. Apologies to the uninterested.