NEW YORK, Oct. 1, 1998 — Microsoft Corp., St. Martin’s Press Inc., Bloomsbury Publishing Plc and Pan Macmillan Australia today announced their plan to publish the world’s first English dictionary to be derived from a single database of world English and to be published in both American and British editions around the world on the same day.
The dictionary is scheduled to be published simultaneously in electronic and print forms. A worldwide publication date has been scheduled for August 1999.
This is the first time that Microsoft® Encarta® , the world’s leading electronic consumer reference trademark and brand, will be used on a print product. The Encarta World English Dictionary marks the beginning of a long-term relationship among these companies to develop content for print and electronic reference works.
The Encarta World English Dictionary establishes a new standard in dictionary publishing: More than 250 lexicographers and expert advisers working in 10 countries have produced the world’s first global dictionary. With over 3 million words of text, it reflects the use of English as the language of the world, the language in which most of the people of the world communicate and in which over 80 percent of the world’s computer-based communication takes place.
Microsoft’s flagship consumer electronic reference product, Microsoft Encarta is an award-winning multimedia encyclopedia that combines current, comprehensive content with the most up-to-date technology to provide users with a unique and engaging way to learn. Microsoft has licensed more than 20 million copies of Encarta Encyclopedia on CD-ROM worldwide since 1993.
Created by using computer and database technology in a ground-breaking way for compilation, editing, research and communication, the Encarta World English Dictionary will offer many innovations that will make it authoritative and easy to use.
“This will be the dictionary of tomorrow,”
said Robbie Bach, vice president of the learning, entertainment and productivity division, Microsoft.
“We are committed to applying technology to build projects that enhance and improve people’s ability to learn and communicate. As recently as five years ago, a project of this sort could not have been completed digitally on a worldwide scale. We are delighted to be working with Bloomsbury, St. Martin’s and our other co-publishers on this exciting long-term project.”
The dictionary is intended to become one of the most widely used reference works ever. The planned initial print run will exceed 500,000 copies, and it will become part of Microsoft’s worldwide online products and popular line of reference products.
Bloomsbury, one of the United Kingdom’s leading independent publishers, has been working on this project with Microsoft, St. Martin’s Press and its other partners for three years. At the heart of its activities has been the worldwide team of lexicographers headed by U.S. General Editor Anne H. Soukhanov.
“The project is a major development for Bloomsbury and underpins the strategic growth of our reference division into an international content provider for print and electronic media,”
said Nigel Newton, chairman and chief executive, Bloomsbury.
St. Martin’s Press will publish the Encarta World English Dictionary in the United States and Canada.
“With the launch of this groundbreaking work we will dramatically expand our presence in consumer reference publishing,”
said John Sargent, CEO, St. Martin’s Press.
“It is very exciting to be entering the market with a product that will revolutionize the way we think about and use the dictionary. We will offer consumers quality and innovation and plan to become a leading publisher in this field. In Anne Soukhanov we have one of the country’s greatest lexicographers spearheading the project.”
“Language changes, sometimes hourly, in a world no longer nationally defined but international in character,”
said Soukhanov, formerly the executive editor of the American Heritage Dictionary and currently the
columnist for Atlantic Monthly.
“For the first time in history, dictionary editors around the world, linked by computers and special software, have developed a record of world English, the communications medium of the 21st century.”
Pan Macmillan Australia is the publisher of the dictionary in Australia and New Zealand. Ross Gibb, group managing director said,
“We are extremely excited about this project, which further enhances Macmillan’s position in the reference market. We are creating a modern, truly international dictionary suited perfectly to the requirements of Australia in the new millennium.”
The International Publishers
Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Bloomsbury is one of the leading medium-sized independent book publishers in the United Kingdom. It publishes books of the highest literary and commercial quality in the areas of fiction, nonfiction and reference. The company was set up in 1986, and in June 1994 the company floated on the London Stock Exchange. The 1997 Annual Report and Accounts identified the reference division as an area of major expansion for the company. Bloomsbury originated the dictionary project, which it licensed to its partners around the world.
St. Martin’s Press Inc.
A member of the Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH, St. Martin’s Press is one of the seven largest trade publishers in the United States. Based in New York, it publishes over 1,800 new titles per year through its five publishing divisions. The Encarta World English Dictionary will eventually be published, in its various formats, by the Scholarly & Reference, Trade and Mass Market Divisions.
Pan Macmillan Australia
Pan Macmillan Australia is part of Macmillan Limited, whose principal shareholder is Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck. Pan Macmillan is firmly established as one of the country’s leading publishers, enjoying record sales with its Australian publishing as well as its highly successful international list.
Microsoft Corp.’s learning business unit designs a line of award-winning multimedia reference products. The Encarta software reference tools combine comprehensive, authoritative content with state-of-the-art technology, encouraging discovery and lifelong learning for students and adults. Users can rely on Encarta products to deliver tomorrow’s way to learn and explore. The complete line of Encarta products includes: Encarta Encyclopedia, the world’s best-selling multimedia encyclopedia; Encarta Virtual Globe, the most comprehensive geographic reference; the Bookshelf® CD-ROM reference library, a compilation of nine top reference resources; the Encarta Reference Suite, the most comprehensive PC reference resource, featuring Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe, Encarta Virtual Globe and Bookshelf; Encarta Online, the reference resource that combines the authoritative content of Encarta with the currency of the Internet; and the line’s upcoming addition, Encarta Africana, the most comprehensive multimedia encyclopedia on the history, geography and culture of Africa and persons of African descent.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Microsoft, Encarta and Bookshelf are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.
Appendix: More About the Encarta World English Dictionary
The Power of the English Language
English is the first global language since Latin.
Approximately 375 million people speak English as their first language.
Over 375 million people speak English as their second language.
Over 80 percent of information stored in the world’s computers is in English.
Nearly 85 percent of Internet home pages are in English.
By 2000, over 1 billion people will be learning English.
Facts and Figures About the Encarta World English Dictionary
Over 100,000 headwords
Over 3 million words of text
Over 300,000 references
Over 3,000 illustrated entries
This collaboration is expected to introduce many innovations in dictionary publishing:
First time that Microsoft Encarta, the world’s leading electronic consumer reference brand, will be used on a print product
One of the first dictionaries to document the global use of English in its written, spoken and electronic forms
First time that dictionaries for native speakers of American and British English will be produced from a single database
Largest international team of lexicographers and advisors to have collaborated on a one-volume dictionary
First newly written English-language dictionary in over 30 years
Facts and Figures About Encarta
Encarta has been the No. 1-selling encyclopedia for five consecutive years.
Encarta Encyclopedia (Standard and Deluxe editions) has won 85 awards since 1993.
Bookshelf has won 24 awards since 1993.
Encarta Virtual Globe has won 14 awards since 1996.