by Wesley Morrison
Wesley Morrison, an English major at the University of Central Florida, wrote this reflection for an internship during the Fall 2021 semester.
Samuel Johnson was a writer in the 1700’s who is primarily responsible for the creation of the first dictionary for the English language. Personally, I think putting this dictionary accessible online for everyone to use will be beneficial for writers and readers all over. I was first interested by the project because as a Fiction writer I have a tendency to always want to write period pieces. I haven’t tackled the 1700’s yet but the prospect of having access to the language with definitions straight from the time period is very exciting. Often, I find myself trying to google phrases to make sure they aren’t relatively new. I think including terms from the time period will help not only the reader be put into the time period but help the writer develop their characters and conflicts.
I contributed to the sequencing and pairing for a couple of letters from the images, scanned from the original dictionary, this past semester. The sequencing involved making sure the numbered terms in a Google spreadsheet correlated to the order of words found in the dictionary. There are some moments where the words do not show up in alphabetical order, either due to error, combined terms, or any other reasons, within Johnson’s Dictionary. The spreadsheet automatically organizes words in alphabetical order, so I went through the spreadsheet and matched the numbers to their placement in the dictionary so that the order of the spreadsheet and original dictionary would match. I also paired the letter W’s dictionary images with their placement in the spreadsheet. Many of the definitions are cut off, include other words, or are the wrong words, I would look through the saved images from the dictionary and make sure they were legible with the correct definition. I imagine this assisted with some of the copywriters having the correct definition but also the website uses the images from the dictionary with the definition and this would ensure that the entire image is visible.