Dr Sarah Ogilvie

Dr Sarah Ogilvie
Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology, and Phonetics and of Campion Hall

Dr Sarah Ogilvie is Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology, and Phonetics (and of Campion Hall) at the University of Oxford. She is the Director of Oxford’s MSc in Digital Scholarship. Before Oxford, she taught at Stanford and Cambridge Universities, and worked at Amazon’s innovation lab in Silicon Valley.

Dr Ogilvie is a linguist, lexicographer, and computer scientist who works at the intersection of technology and the social sciences. Her research focuses on lexicography, endangered languages, language documentation, field methods, historical development of language, corpus linguistics, and digital humanities. She directs the Dictionary Lab, a lab for digital research on dictionaries and language.

She completed her doctorate in linguistics at the University of Oxford, and is originally from Australia where she studied for a BSc in computer science and pure mathematics at University of Queensland and MA in linguistics at the Australian National University.

Dr Ogilvie is a former editor of the Oxford English Dictionary and has written books on its history and making, including The Dictionary People: the unsung heroes who created the Oxford English Dictionary (Chatto & Windus (UK), Knopf (USA), 2023) and Words of the World: A Global History of the Oxford English Dictionary (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Her work in lexicography includes an edited book Cambridge Companion to English Dictionaries (Cambridge University Press, 2020) and a co-edited book  The Whole World in a Book: Dictionaries in the Nineteenth Century (Oxford University Press, 2020). She was also etymologist of the sixth edition of the Shorter Oxford Dictionary.

A specialist in digital tools and methods, she is co-author of Gen Z, Explained: the art of living in a digital age (University of Chicago Press, 2022), in which she applied computational linguistics to analyze the language and culture of young people aged 16-25 years old.

Another area of her research focuses on the documentation and revitalization of endangered languages, especially in indigenous Australia and North America. Her books on this topic include the co-edited volumes Keeping Languages Alive: Documentation, Pedagogy, and Revitalization (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and the Concise Encyclopedia of the Languages of the World (Elsevier, 2008). She is currently collaborating with colleagues on efforts to document and describe Enggano, a threatened language of Indonesia. This project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and will run from 2022-2024. It will result in an open-source lexical database that unifies all the available legacy materials of Enggano, as well as a learner’s dictionary, and mobile phone app.  

Dr Ogilvie serves on the Advisory Boards of the Chicago Manual of Style (18th edition), the Bodleian Library, and Stanford University Libraries. She has a keen interest in the visual arts and served for eight years on the Board of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the de Young Museum and the Legion of Honour. She is a word nerd, and her musings on language and words can be found in her column The Joy of Lex in Prospect Magazine.

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