The aim of the ELRC (also known as the Dictionary Room) is to promote the investigation of the English language in Newfoundland and Labrador; research covers a broad spectrum, from lexicon, place names and family names to regional dialect variation across the province. Research at the Centre has resulted in a number of publications; these include The Dictionary of Newfoundland English, Place Names of the Northern Peninsula, and Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland. In March 2010, along with the QE II Library, researchers with the ELRC published Howley's Reminiscences, which constitutes Memorial University's first original e-publication. The ELRC is also the home of the online Dialect Atlas of Newfoundland and Labrador English.
Besides providing workspace for researchers and students, the Centre houses a reference library, along with extensive collections of primary research materials. The central and largest research collection in the ELRC is the lexical files compiled for the Dictionary of Newfoundland English. This was begun in the late 1950s and remains an active project to this day. The DNE collection consists of over 100,000 slips and cards, each containing an example of a local word in its actual usage, or a commentary on a word by the dictionary's editors and contributors. Assistants in the ELRC are now digitizing these files with the intention of both preserving them and making them available to other researchers in an efficiently searchable database.
A second large collection stored in the ELRC involves local toponymy. Documenting place-names throughout the province, the toponymy collection includes detailed information on the history of the names. Associated with the toponymic materials are manuscript research files and maps.
Other collections include the Newfoundland and Labrador proverb and proverbial speech collection, originally begun in the 1960s; and the family names collection, much of which appeared in Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland (1976; corr. edition 1998).
Unfortunately, due to reduced funding, the ELRC has had to cut back on all its services and, as of early 2018, is no longer operating as a reference library or research centre. We are working out arrangements with other research institutions within Memorial University of Newfoundland to re-open public access to our materials.