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136Reviews Computing Dictionary. Fourth edition. Ed. Ronald D. Kobler, Trevor Meers, and others. Lincoln, NE: Sandhills Publishing. 1999. Pp. 288. $9.95. The technology underpinning computer science continues to expand at an astounding rate, as does its vocabulary. Microscopically small hardware and fantastically complex software, mainstays of science fiction and cyberpunk as late as the 1980s, are now the mainstays of computer science . The computing industry, including the global information and commerce network known as the Internet, affects the way our society functions and fuels an expansion of our lexicon. The addition of brand new lexemes (such as brouter) and of senses to existing lexemes (such as cookie) stemming from these technologies has kept lexicographers busily occupied. Given the increasing level of computer-related information that the average citizen encounters daily, it is no surprise that numerous publishing companies have developed dictionaries to address the vocabulary needed to understand even basic newspaper articles, let alone computer manuals. However, the pace of new computer technology and of the new applications of such technology is so swift that, unless the publisher of a computer dictionary pursues an aggressive schedule of thorough updates, such a reference work will rapidly become obsolete. After all, consumers of such a product are turning not to a general purpose desk dictionary, but to one specifically geared toward this particular subject, and they expect to find the answers they're looking for. These consumers can turn to computer-related dictionaries on the Internet for information about this lexicon, dictionaries more easily updated than their printed counterparts. While searching a web-based dictionary of computer terms seems perfectly natural, it is still not practical for most people to do so routinely. Thus consumers will continue to want a printed reference work, but preferably one that also exists in an online version, thus allowing them to have the best of both worlds. Such a work is in fact available: ComputingDictionary (henceforth CD), a joint product of PC Novice and Smart Computing, published by Sandhills Publishing. Since 1996, CD has been published annually in what might be best described as a catalog or magazine format. It is paperbound, like a 1/2" thick telephone directory (8-1/8" ? 10-3/4"). In earlier editions, the front matter was printed on coated paper and the A-Z section was uncoated; for the 4th edition (1999) all of the pages are uncoated, a more ecofriendly choice, and one that reduces publication costs. The paper is uncoated groundwood of good quality; it's thicker, heavier, and brighter than telephone book paper. The illustrations are very vibrant, and it's printed with soy ink. CD also includes advertisements on the inside cover, back cover, and on three pages that are targeted toward a computer-literate audience and sparse enough to be unobtrusive. Neither the A-Z section nor any individual article or presentation is interrupted by advertising. Reviews1 37 Prototypically, a dictionary is probably thought of as a book, often a large book that sits on one's desk. However, CD's magazine format makes sense for a special-purpose reference work covering a lexicon that arguably needs to be updated each year. The magazine format is much more flexible than even the traditional paperback book, and text can be reflowed with each version. That is to say, instead of cutting existing text in order to fit new material onto a page, the page makeup is allowed to flow onto the next page so that material can be added without compensatory deletions. Although CD gives consumers updated information from an editorial staff whose expertise is computing, CD is much more thanjust a dictionary. Its comprehensive A-Z section, covering more than 4,200 entries, isjust two-thirds of the 288-page publication. The extensive front matter provides an abundance of relevant, up-to-date, topical information on computer technology, past, present, and future. The first two pages list the table of contents and the staff. The table of contents lists each section, the names of each article in each section, and the initial page of each letter in the A-Z section. Twenty-two people are listed as members of the editorial staff; the first...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 136-142
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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