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The Oxford University Press (OUP) is making its academic tomes available online - for a fee.

From today the core collection of the OUP's reference works - which includes more than 1.5 million entries - is available at Oxford Reference Online.

The site has taken two years to develop and so far cost £1 million ($1.5 million).

The cost of accessing the works of reference - which include dictionary definitions, facts, figures, people, places, sayings, and dates - starts from £175/US$250 (ex VAT) a year.

In ten years it's expected that the general knowledge reference source will total more than 130 million words - equivalent to over 300 books.

Of course, if you're not interested in Aaron's Rod, Thomas Killigrew or Ulrich Zwingli then this might not be for you.

Frankly, at £175 a throw it ain't for me either.

Yesterday the Times said it would start charging for content. ®

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