May 26, 2022

Reference Resources: “The Dictionary of American Regional English: Recent Developments”

From the Division of Preservation and Access, National Endowment for the Humanities:

2013 was an annus mirabilis for the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE), a major reference resource widely used by scholars and members of the general public, and supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The Reference and User Services Association (a division of the American Library Association), awarded the staff of DARE, which is based at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the Dartmouth Medal for the “creation of a reference work of outstanding quality and significance.”

2013 was a landmark year for another reason. With the publication of the sixth and final volume of the dictionary in January, DARE has achieved its goal of developing a resource that explores the rich variety of regional vocabulary in the United States.


DARE has recently made the transition from being available in print only to providing online access as well.  In early December, the long-awaited digital version of the dictionary was launched—an interactive, multimedia tool that provides access to all entries and to the materials collected to produce the dictionary.

Although full access to the digital version of DARE requires a subscription, numerous features are available gratis to visitors to the Web site.

For example, one can browse headwords through the Word Wheel; see 100 free entries; identify all the entries from a given state or region; search the bibliography; and use the “Resources” tab to view the materials found in Volume VI.  Subscribers can carry out advanced searches by full text, headwords, variants, definitions, etymologies, parts of speech, quotations, regional labels, and social labels, as well as use filters and Boolean options to refine search criteria.  And finally, visitors to DARE’s Web site can discover related audio recordings, maps, and data from respondents to the DARE questionnaires.  All future updates to the DARE will be made through this online reference resource.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.