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SHOULD THE WORDS "SLAB" AND "SLABBED" BE IN THE ENCYCLOPEDIA?
Alan Luedeking submitted these thoughts on criteria for the inclusion of terms in numismatic dictionaries and encyclopedias. -EditorDick Johnson's ambivalence over including 'slab' and 'slabbed' in his new dictionary prompted me to write. The compilers of the Oxford English Dictionary faced much the same dilemma when trying to decide whether or not to include new idioms, 'slang', etc. The fascinating story of the creation of this amazing work, originally projected to take 10 years (I think) and which ended up outlasting the lifetimes of all those originally involved, is detailed in Simon Winchester's superb The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary. What stuck with me was their decision to include, rather than to exclude, and I could not agree more wholeheartedly.
This is definitely a case of "mo betta". "Slab" is in common use and has very definite numismatic meanings. I already see a newcomer to our hobby looking it up and being disappointed not to find it there. If Dick Johnson's work truly aims to be the definitive reference in its class- the last word on numismatic terminology, it MUST contain any word with even the most oblique or passing significance to numismatics.
I for one would happily pay for such a book, even if it ran to a couple of hundred bucks. I already have a few numismatic dictionaries and encyclopedias in my library (mostly for Latin American and World material) and am constantly disappointed by the dearth of content or minimality of definition when there is a word I need to look up. One notable exception is Humberto Burzio's Diccionario de la Moneda Hispanoamericana, Santiago, 1958, an erudite "must have" in any numismatic library.
If I can help with Dick's valuable effort, I'll be glad to do so, within my limited abilities. If a legitimate argument can be made for including a term, such ought always to outweigh any argument for leaving it out.
I'm in general agreement with Alan that more is better in this case. Although it is a slippery slope adding to any specialized work, I think there's a good case for the inclusion of these terms, which are so much a part of the vernacular today. -Editor
Wayne Homren, Editor
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