Working in Community

In spring 2021, PI Dr. Beth Young taught a class in which undergraduates helped us get ready for our April 15 launch.

Students wrote reflections at the end of the semester, looking back on the meaning that they took away from the experience. To acknowledge their contributions, to add to our “behind the scenes” look at how the dictionary functions, and to show how this kind of digital humanities work can be meaningfully used in the classroom (during the pandemic, no less!) we will publish a series of excerpts written by our student team members about their experience with Johnsons Dictionary Online.

We begin by highlighting a theme that several students touched on in their reflections — the satisfaction of working in community with other students, dictionary team members, and even Dr. Johnson himself!

Ashley Artigas:

“My favorite aspect of this course was realizing how talented other students could be. Where I struggled, other students in the same department seemed to flourish and grow. I was inspired by them to keep trying when it felt like I couldn’t possibly do something like this anymore. Their posts were very informational, and even humorous at times. When I got bored of my words, I would go to discussions and read about what other people had found.”

Justin Smith:

“It’s been inspiring to work on the Johnson dictionary site. Whenever I had the chance to humble brag about it, honestly, I would. But it was much less about me, it was more about the chance that I was getting to do work on behalf of one of the greatest lexicographers in modern history. My pride in working on this project came from the fact that this is one of the most important texts to the English language ever. That being said, some people could see my part on the site as small, maybe miniscule, but really, I see it as being just another person helping along in the tedious work to create such a masterpiece, like the people Johnson had alongside him in constructing his first edition.”

Stay tuned for more!