INDEX BY: Edition / Title
Dictionaries from Peter Collin Publishing (www.petercollin.com)
Dictionary of Computing (3rd Edition, 1999)
392pp ISBN 1 901659 04 6 9.95

Dictionary of Computing (Windows CDROM version 1st Edition, 1999)
ISBN 0 948549 70 X 29.99 (inc. VAT)

Dictionary of Information Technology (2nd Edition, 1996)
400pp ISBN 0 948549 88 2 9.95

Dictionary of Multimedia (2nd Edition, 1997)
248pp ISBN 1 901659 01 1 8.95

Vocabulary for Computing (2nd Edition 1999)
58pp A4 ISBN 1 901659 28 3 5.95

Dictionaries from Peter Collin Publishing

Peter Collin is a specialist publisher of English and bilingual dictionaries both in paper and in CDROM format and besides the items listed above offer a Computing and IT English-French dictionary.

The layout is as would be expected - the (approximately) A5 pages are divided into two columns of definitions. These definitions are frequently supported by comments (additional information) or a contextual usage from a professional publication; unfortunately the latter are only attributed to a publication and no author or date is given. This weakens what would be a powerful resource as computing and IT terms slip in meaning over time. The IT and Computing dictionaries contain the standard traditional definition of database with no reference to the less accurate usage currently ; viz.

Database - noun integrated collection of files of data stored in a structured form in a large memory, which can be accessed by one or more users at different terminals

This information could include hypertext references to information held within a computer database, or spreadsheet formulae. Computing

a database is a file of individual records of information which are stored in some kind of sequential order Which PC?

The CDROM version allows a powerful search both of keyword and of free text - however, some searches resulted in hits including colons; just selecting these terms would not automatically locate the text in the dictionary. I also discovered that looking up Windows 3.11 refers you on to Windows for Workgroups; this is not then defined. On checking in the paper version the same error exists there too!

These are useful low cost books and provide an alternative and complement to the BCS Glossary, the supplement at the back of each book contains some diagrams. I cannot recommend the CD at this price though - the benefits of fast online searching are not worth the premium for a single user.

The final title, whilst targeted at learners of English, may well have some potential in mainstream classrooms. The workbook, based on the Dictionary of Computing, consists of various language exercises and it could well be used to give ideas for integrating IT into English or PSHE lessons.

Neil Stanley
Reviews Editor