This contribution examines the digital revolution in lexicography from the perspective
of the dictionary user. We begin with an observation that in the information age the
status of the dictionary is changing, and so are patterns of user behaviour, with general
internet search engines encroaching on the grounds traditionally reserved for lexicographic
queries. Clearly, we need to know more about user behaviour in the digital
environment, and for this we need to harness user research, to find out how the increasingly
flexible and adaptive lexical reference tools of the future need to behave to best
accommodate user needs. We summarize the existing findings and show in what ways
digital dictionaries are already able to serve users better than their paper predecessors.
The challenge to produce efficient and effective dictionaries is best seen in the context
of dictionary users’ reference skills, which now tend to overlap with digital literacy.
We conclude with a possible vision of the future.