The OED is the single most useful tool for analysis of the evolution of use and meanings of words. Berg's guide reveals many of the mysteries of format and presentation, Willinsky's book provides details on the editorial evolution of the OED, and Katharine Murray's biographical memoir and history of the early years of the OED is a real pleasure once one has begun to use the Dictionary.

Dialect dictionaries are often valuable sources of information for non-standard and non-literary variants of English, sometimes incorporated into literature.

 TITLE        The Oxford English dictionary.
 EDITION      2nd ed. / prepared by J.A. Simpson and E.S.C. Weiner.
 PUBLISHER    Oxford : Clarendon Press ; New York : Oxford University Press,
 Leyburn-Reference      PE1625 .O87 1989 

 AUTHOR       Berg, Donna Lee.
 TITLE        A guide to the Oxford English dictionary / Donna Lee Berg.
 PUBLISHER    Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1993.
 Leyburn-Reference      PE1617.O49 B47 1993

 AUTHOR       Murray, Katharine Maud Elisabeth.
 TITLE        Caught in the web of words : James A. H. Murray and the Oxford
                English dictionary / K. M. Elisabeth Murray ; with a pref. by
                R. W. Burchfield.
 PUBLISHER    New Haven : Yale University Press, 1977.
 Leyburn Library        PE64.M8 M78             

 AUTHOR       Willinsky, John, 1950-
 TITLE        Empire of words : the reign of the OED / John Willinsky.
 PUBLISHER    Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1994.
              English language --Etymology.
 Leyburn Library        PE1617.O94 W55 1994

 AUTHOR       Craigie, William A. (William Alexander), Sir, 1867-1957.
 TITLE        A dictionary of American English on historical principles,
                compiled at the University of Chicago under the editorship of
                Sir William Craigie ... and James R. Hulbert ..
 PUBLISHER    Chicago, Ill., The University of Chicago press [1938-
 Leyburn-Reference      PE2835 .C7 v. 1   

 TITLE        Middle English dictionary.
 PUBLISHER    Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press.
 Leyburn-Reference      PE679 .M54 pt. A 

 AUTHOR       Wright, Joseph, 1855-1930.
 TITLE        The English dialect dictionary, being the complete vocabulary of
                all dialect words still in use, or known to have been in use
                during the last two hundred years; founded on the publications
                of the English dialect society and on a large amount of
                material never before printed. Ed. by Joseph Wright ..
 PUBLISHER    London [etc.] H. Frowde; New York, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1898-1905.
 Leyburn-Reference      PE1766 .W8 v. 1 

 TITLE        The Concise Scots dictionary / editor-in-chief, Mairi Robinson.
 PUBLISHER    Aberdeen : Aberdeen University Press, 1985.
 Leyburn-Reference      PE2106 .C66 1985  

 AUTHOR       Craigie, William A. (William Alexander), Sir, 1867-1957.
 TITLE        A dictionary of the older Scottish tongue : from the twelfth
                century to the end of the seventeenth / by Sir William A.
 PUBLISHER    Chicago : The University of Chicago Press, 1973-
 Leyburn-Reference      PE2116 .C7 1973 

 AUTHOR       Lederer, Richard M., 1916-
 TITLE        Colonial American English, a glossary : words and phrases found
                in colonial writing, now archaic, obscure, obsolete, or whose
                meanings have changed / Richard M. Lederer, Jr.
 PUBLISHER    Essex, Conn. : Verbatim Book, c1985.
 Leyburn-Reference      PE2838 .L43 1985