"Homo." Green's Dictionary of Slang. Accessed January 31, 2017. https://greensdictofslang.com/entry/rxocyza.
"[A]n e-book. Back then no one quite knew what the term meant. For me it was everything that print couldn’t be: It was to be a website on which would be uploaded a facsimile not of the static hardback, but of my dynamic, constantly evolving research database." – Jonathon Green on his online Dictionary of Slang
Lexicographer Jonathon Green launched the online version of his Dictionary of Slang – the largest historical dictionary of English slang in the world – just four months ago, after nearly
Green knew early on that his "e-book" would take the form of a website, he just didn't have the contacts. He considered getting a publisher (none of which were proving successful in the e-book market), an academic institution ("too poor"), or a business backer (too concerned with revenue). He ended up seeking a patron. A young programmer (David Kendal) volunteered his services for free, just because he was interested in the work. Green's process mirrors that of many scholars seeking to engage digital humanities in their work – a little bit of luck and a lot of effort. This dictionary qualifies as a digital history project because of its dynamic engagement with historical content, thoroughly demonstrated by the creator’s commitment to merge historical scholarship and digital technologies in creative and useful ways.
Unfortunately, both the bibliography and advanced search functions (which allow for searching by definition and history) are not available for free. Individuals can subscribe for about $60 per year, while institutions can submit a request for access. This monetary dilemma demonstrates the practicalities of so-called open access to information and scholarly work. While the funds are meant to help support and maintain said information online, how much does this stratify our intellectual/technological circles? In the case of Green's Dictionary, at least we still have access to the main content.
"The Timelines of Slang." Tumblr. Accessed January 31, 2017. http://thetimelinesofslang.tumblr.com/
The scholarship appears sound and is updated regularly; however, the free version is entirely uncited. Relegating the bibliography to the paid version, while incentivizing, likely affects the (un)credited scholars more than it encourages subscription. The website design and interface is straight forward, though laggy when searching for terms. I especially liked the alphabetical scrolling in the browse feature. The Timeglider timelines, however, are embedded awkwardly in the Tumblr posts (the short dimensions make them difficult to use) and are not at all mobile-friendly. Zooming in and out can be slow and a few of the timelines look very crowded. The search option and the tag count were difficult to find due to so much screen space being taken up at once. Overall, the wealth of data is exciting and Timeglider is a great (albeit aesthetically outdated) tool.
My major issue with the Timeglider timelines is their lack of entry information. Besides each term and its year, no corresponding definition is available. Obviously, adding this information to each individual item would be time-consuming, and Green might not have the resources to accommodate site improvements. Users must refer back to the dictionary site to search the terms themselves. The multi-genre components of this single digital history project feel a bit disjointed because they are not linked. I would argue it is best to consolidate one’s body of work on a single platform/site – with different elements embedded or linked from one location.
In the case of Green's Dictionary of Slang, the creator might do well to link the site itself, his Timeglider timelines and Tumblr posts to one another and/or all in one place. As of now, it was up to me as the user to search on Google and
"Male Homosexuality." Timeglider. Accessed January 31, 2017. http://timeglider.com/timeline/253c5149a0b4d28b.
scour Slate articles for said components. Webbed word maps to indicate etymologies/origins would also be helpful, depending on how related the slang terms in Green's dictionary really are. Timeline entry definitions and linking issues aside, this project (much of which is sex-related) is wonderful and exciting for anyone interested in the history of language, identity and sexuality.