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Dictionary of American Regional English


The Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE)—represents the full panoply of American regional vocabulary and has long been consulted by a wide range of scholars and lovers of language and regional nuance. The genesis of this unique dictionary comes from a 1,600 question survey that 80 fieldworkers took across the country. Researchers in Wisconsin then spent over 40 years combining that work with an exhaustive survey of printed citations from the 18th century through to 2011.

The digital version needed to transform the dictionary into an interactive, multimedia tool that would greatly benefit both scholarly inquiry and general intellectual curiosity. In addition to providing access to the text of the dictionary, the challenge for the PubFactory team was to also give access to the original survey questions, selected audio recordings, and interactive maps showing the regional distribution of the words in an easy to use and intuitive interface.


We first designed an interface that provided a sophisticated and intuitive searching capability to the 60,000 entries in the dictionary. We incorporated the ability to search both the original survey questions and answers and to see the distribution of the words and phrases on the distinctive DARE maps that had been devised for the print verion. And finally we added extensive tools to allow users to save and share content.

The Dictionary of American Regional English won the Dartmouth Medal in 2013 which is awarded to the outstanding reference work of that year.

Key Features

  • State-of-the-art search of DARE’s 60,000 entries
  • Browsing by region and alphabetically
  • Audio of 5,000 recordings gathered by fieldworkers
  • Interactive maps illustrating regional distribution of words
  • Access to DARE’s 1,600-question survey administered between 1965 and 1970
  • Bibliography of more than 12,000 sources cited, dating back to the 17th century
  • The ability to save searches/entries and share content via e-mail or social media


Product creation

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Success Story

We at Harvard University Press could not be more proud to be using new digital tools to bring DARE to an even wider audience.

— William P. Sisler, Director of Harvard University Press