This article is the written version of the Enrique Alcaraz Annual Memorial Lecture, given by the author at the University of Alicante on March 26, 2014. After a brief overview of the past and present of lexicography, it presents some of the challenges and paradoxes facing the discipline in the current transition to the digital media. Through examples from lexicographical practice it provides a vision of dictionaries as information tools and presents the core elements of a general theory covering all types of lexicographical work. Upon this basis, the article discusses principles, methods and techniques which can be applied to improve the quality of present and future online dictionaries. Finally, it presents the main concept of an online business dictionary under construction where some of these principles, methods and techniques are used in order to adapt the articles visualised on the screen to the foreseen Spanish and English users’ needs in five different situations.
E-Lexicography; E-dictionaries; Function theory; Information overload; Lexicographical challenges