The Oxford English Dictionary has announced that it will not print new editions on paper. Instead, there will be Web access and mobile apps.
According to the article in the Telegraph, “A team of 80 lexicographers has been working on the third edition of the OED—known as OED3—for the past 21 years.”
The trajectory toward digitization has been long for the OED. In the 1990s, the OED’s desire to produce a digital version (remember books on CD?) stimulated search engine innovation. To search the OED intelligently, the search engine would have to understand the structure of entries, so that it could distinguish the use of a word as that which is being defined, the use of it within a definition, the use of it within an illustrative quote, etc. SGML was perfect for this type of structure, and the Open Text SGML search engine came out of that research. On the other hand, initially, the OED didn’t want to attribute the origins of the word “blog” to Peter Merholz because he coined it in his own blog, and the OED would only accept print attributions. (See here, too.) It got over this prejudice for printed sources, however, and gave Peter proper credit.