To learn more about how the OED was created read The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester. It details the way the OED was created, by contributions from many different people, focusing in particular on one contributor, Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, who was submitting his contributions from his quarters at an asylum for the criminally insane where he was an inmate. It also highlights the efforts of Professor James Murray, who spent many years of his life dedicated to creating the OED.


The open source comparison (and the distributed computing) are both good….


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-----Original Message-----
From: []On Behalf Of John Taylor-Johnston
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 2004 4:48 PM
Subject: Re: [oss4lib-discuss] Readings


Am I too much of a free rider? I don't htink so. But I should qualify, I tend to think too much of the alterego free as in beer . However, ... show me the OED code :)

> > I agree. In fact, the more I read on the OED the more I think it was one
> > of the first successful Open Source projects, though it isn't software.
> Excuse me if I am neophyte. Where is it freely available to browse? is a pay
service. Free to contribute maybe.

I found some interesting excerpts from Weber here:
"The point is that open source software is not simply a non-rival good in the sense that it can tolerate free riding without reducing the stock of good for contributors. It is actually anti-rival in the sense that the system positively benefits from free riders. Some small percentage of free riders will provide something of value to the system, even if it is just reporting a bug out of frustration. The more free riders in this setting, the better. This argument holds only if there are a sufficient number of individuals who do not free ride -- in other words, a 'core' group that contributes to the creation of the good. We have already seen a set of motivations and incentives that taken together in different proportions for different individuals might inspire their active contributions."