The Compact Oxford English Dictionary is a single volume that includes everything that's in the magnificent, 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary, micrographically reproduced so that it can be read with a magnifying glass. The first few pages are readable with the naked eye, but the text of the definitions is tiny. There are nine micrographic original pages (3 across by 3 down) per page of the compact dictionary. I had been warned that I might need to use 2 magnifying glasses, one above the other to enable me to read the text, but the very nice hemispherical glass that came with the dictionary is perfectly adequate. The full 20-volume dictionary is about 4 times the price of this single volume - and worth every penny if you need it, can afford it and have sufficient space on your book shelves. If, however (like me), your means are more modest and you've wanted your own copy of the OED ever since you got lost in one in your school/college/university library, then this tome should gladden your heart. The quality is excellent. I highly recommend it.