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Dictionary of the Scots Language - relaunch

Ann Ferguson

The big event for SLD in the past few months was the launch of the upgraded version of the online Dictionary of the Scots Language (DSL) (www.dsl.ac.uk), originally created in 2004. DSL is the online version of the two great dictionaries of Scots - A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST) and the Scottish National Dictionary (SND). It was always envisaged that there would be a second phase of the project to address issues that were beyond the scope of the first phase; however, this did not proceed at the time due to lack of funding.

Once SLD had secured core funding from the Scottish Government, we were able to tackle an upgrade which not only improved how DSL works but clothed it in a redesigned web interface which is clear and easy to use.

The launch

DSL launch event
Some of the 50 or so attendees
The upgraded version was launched on 12th September at a well-attended event at the University of Glasgow, and the packed hall demonstrated the high regard for the project. One highlight of the proceedings was the welcoming address given by Glasgow University's Professor Murray Pittock, Head of the College of Arts. Professor Pittock delivered his address in Scots (he is a native of Aberdeen), which was much appreciated, and amply demonstrated the continued richness and power of the spoken language. He finished by inviting everyone to 'rax for your tassies...and tak a scoup tae the dictionar o the Scots leid'. Professor Pittock has kindly agreed that the text of his speech can be shared with SLD members and friends, and you can read it here – try using DSL to look up any words you don't know.

After an introduction by SLD's Convener Professor Jeremy Smith, Ann Ferguson, who co-ordinated the project, gave a short presentation about the new site. It was then demonstrated by Brian Aitken of Glasgow University. Brian, exhibiting tireless patience throughout, designed the front end of the upgraded version in accordance with mock-ups provided by SLD, and implemented it on a web server at the University of Glasgow. The event was rounded off by a vote of thanks by SLD's Director Chris Robinson to the Glasgow University for their generous hospitality in hosting the launch; and finally SLD'S President Dr Margaret Mackay thanked the project team for their work - making particular mention of SLD's programmer Peter Bell who restructured the data and improved the dictionary's functionality.

The future

Thanks to the new structure of DSL we will now be able to carry out changes easily; improvements will be announced on DSL's home page as they are introduced.